NURSING 7106 - Acute Care Nursing II

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2024

This course will further examine nursing and medical science in relation to acute care nursing in the adult sector. Common pathologies and current treatment modalities will be explored. This course will build and develop knowledge of advanced physiology, pathophysiology, therapeutics and nursing science within the context of acute care nursing. This course will be supported by synchronised online collaborative learning.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code NURSING 7106
    Course Acute Care Nursing II
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Nursing School
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Assumed Knowledge Basic anatomy and physiology
    Restrictions Graduate Diploma in Nursing Science or Master of Nursing Science
    Assessment Online quiz, case study, poster
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Mr Paul McLiesh

    Course Coordinator: Paul McLiesh
    Phone: +61 8 8313 6286

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Retrieves, critically evaluates and applies evidence in the advanced management of patients with complex health care needs who are ill in the acute care setting
    2 Demonstrates/ advocates cultural competence in clinical practice in an acute care scenario
    3 Retrieves, critically evaluates and applies evidence based recommendations to advanced clinical practice in an acute care scenario.
    4 Expresses critical thinking skills through reflection of nursing practice in relation to quality in health care in an acute care scenario
    5 Appraises the rationale and effectiveness of assessment and advanced interventions applied to seriously ill patients in the acute care setting.
    6 Reflects on current skills, knowledge and attitudes and plans ongoing personal development and demonstrates application of contribution to the professional development of others through leadership
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.

    1, 3 -5

    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.

    3, 4-6

    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    Gilbert, J & Coyne E 2018, Acute Care Nursing, 1st edn, Cambridge Univeristy Press, Melbourne, Australia.

    Craft, J A & Gordon, C J 2018, Understanding Pathophysiology, 3rd edn, Mosby Elsevier, Chatswood, NSW, Australia.


    Zoom Online Classroom
    To connect to the VC you will require:
    ·  a computer – either a PC-based or a Macintosh-based machine
    ·  Internet access – there seems to be little difference between broadband and dial-up connections other than the speed of the initial connection
    ·  minimum of a 56K modem
    ·  a multimedia headset – it must have both earphones and microphone
    (These are available in computer variety stores for about $25).
     The link to the Zoom classroom will be provided on course in Canvas for you to access weekly. It is important that you complete sound checks each week prior to commnecing the class.

    Recommended Resources
    The readings for this course are available electronically via MyUni.

    Please note: it is your responsibility to organise printing should you prefer a hard copy of the readings.
    Online Learning
    Online Classroom
    The online classroom (OC) technology will be used for lectures and tutorial discussions on a weekly basis. There will be pre-recorded virtual classroom sessions for you to access by close of business the Friday prior to our online classroom session, please ensure you familiarize yourself with the content on this recording before attendance at our synchronous OC each Thursday from 09:00-11:00 during this semester.

    During our synchronous OC we will discuss case scenarios and clinical events relevant to the topic, which is why it is imperative you have familiarized yourself with the pre-recorded lecture. Some information on the OC should have been provided to you, you need to familiarize yourself with this technology to become reasonably comfortable with using it prior to the start of the semester. 

    All students enrolled in a postgraduate coursework nursing program have access to the School of Nursing – Postgraduate Coursework Student Centre on MyUni. If you would like the opportunity to network with other students, you can use the Communication features in the site. This site will also feature information about the latest news and events at the School of Nursing.      


    UNIFIED is your one-stop shop for email, calendar, MyUni and Access Adelaide. It even allows you to search the Library.UNIFIED is available to all active students; with a single login you can access your student systems and personal information through a central website. Login with your Student ID ("a1234567") and Password. For more information, including easy to follow instructions visit 

    Library Resources
    Help for Nursing StudentsThe University of Adelaide Library has a website to help nursing students use the library and its resource ( Remote student library service. The University of Adelaide Library provides a document delivery and loans service to non-metropolitan students who do not visit a University of Adelaide campus to attend classes (
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will be delivered through the Flexible Delivery Mode with Online Classroom Lectures.
    Students will participate in synchronous online collaborative learning for 2 hours each week and will be provided with course materials. Assessments will combines knowledge and practice.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    This specialist course builds upon your existing knowledge of acute disease and the appropriate management strategies and nursing skills employed to treat these conditions. This course offers a wide variety of topics that impact the activities of acute care nurses in their practice context. Obviously everything cannot be covered in such a short time frame so issues that are common and of current relevance will be explored.

    Participation in the tutorials is vital in making this course a constructive and enjoyable learning experience. In the event that you are unable to attend the tutorial please inform the course coordinator prior to the session so that this can be recorded. It is expected that you will need to invest about 24 hours per week of study to successfully complete this course. It is recommended that you plan your time commitment to the course at the beginning of the semester. This includes all study activities, tutorials, readings and assessment. Thus some weeks it will be more and others less. It is recommended that you plan your time commitment to the course at the beginning of the semester.
    Learning Activities Summary
    The course content will include but not be limited to the following: 

    Nutrition in the Acute Care Setting
    •       Anatomy and physiology of nutrient utilisation in the body
    •       Role of Nutrition in the prevention of chronic diseases
    •       Nutritional support to the acutely ill patient
    •       Potential food and drug interactions
    •       Malnutrition in the Acute Care setting 

    Pancreatic Endocrine Emergencies
    •       The stress response
    •       Diabetes
    •       Diabetic Ketoacidosis
    •       Hyperosmolar Nonketotic Coma
    •       Thyroid dysfunction
    •       Antidiuretic hormone dysfunction 

    Diabetes and Diabetic Emergencies
    •       Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)
    •       Hyperosmolar Nonketotic coma (HONK)
    •       Hypoglycaemia
    •       Diabetes Type 1 and Type 2 

    •       Sepsis – sevTere sepsis
    •       SIRS
    •       Distributive
    •       Obstructive
    •       Hypovolaemic
    •       Cardiogenic
    •       MODS 

    Renal Alterations
    •       Acute Renal Failure
    •       Chronic Renal Failure
    •       ATN 

    Gastrointestinal Alterations
    •       Liver Failure
    •       Oesophageal Varicies
    •       Portal Hypertension
    •       Malnutrition
    •       Enteric feeding versus Total Parenteral Nutrition
    •       Pancreatitis 

    The Haematology - Oncology Patient
    •       Coagulopathies
    •       MBTF
    •       The patient with cancer 

    End of LIdfe Care in the Acute Setting
    Integumentary Considerations

    Specific Course Requirements
    On-line learning using ‘On-line Classroom’ (OC) and ‘MyUni’ are used in the delivery of this course. It is highly recommended that you attend a minimum of 80% of these classroom sessions.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Assessment Type Weighting Learning Outcome(s) being addressed
    Online Quiz Formative Non-Graded Pass (NGP)
    Case Study Outline Summative 10% 1
    Poster Summative 30% 4
    Case Study Summative 30% 1, 3-5
    Online Quizzes Summative 30% 1-4
    Assessment Detail
    Assessment 1 : Formative Assessment: Online quizes
    Due date: Week 3 -  Non Graded Pass (NGP) 0%
    Formative online quiz to be completed by Week 3.

    Assessment 2: Case Study Outline and Search Strategy
    Due Date: Week 4
    This assessment is scheduled early in the semester to assist in the planning and development of your case study, so that you can receive feedback on your work before handing in your final assignment. Select a patient you have cared for, relating actual events in which you were involved and critiquing the clinical events based upon the literature. Once you have selected the patient:

    1.       Identify the relevant part of the patient’s hospital journey, whilst being careful not to identify the patient or your institution in any way.  Provide a brief paragraph which situates the patient, providing background, identifying the significance to acute care nursing and any limitations or boundaries of your intended work (this is designed to assist in the development of the introduction for your final case study assignment).

    2.       Provide a rough plan (in dot point form) of your case study identifying headings that demonstrate the logical sequence and structure for your proposed paper.

    3.       Outline the key points to be discussed using headings identified above and the issues to be critiqued (this is designed to assist in the development of the content of the paper ensuring the patient selection and significant issues are covered appropriately, and from a variety of perspectives).

    4.       Describe the search strategy undertaken to identify preliminary references including key works and databases used (this is to ensure contemporary and reliable resources are used).

    5.       Provide a reference list containing 5 preliminary references relevant to your case study that complies with the School of Nursing Student Handbook and Style Guide. A high academic writing standard is required with key points in text referenced appropriately. 

    Assessment 3: Poster
    Due Date: Week 8
    Posters are a means of presenting information to peers, patients or the general public in a simple yet effective manner.  It is a static display of information that can be placed in a variety of settings and read in one’s own time.  Students are encouraged to design a poster on a subject matter that directly relates to current acute care nursing practice and the context in which they work. 

    This is a 2,000 word equivalent assignment; this does NOT mean that you must write 2,000 words. What this means is that the poster must contain enough information, using text and images, to convey the same amount of information that would be contained in a 2,000-word assignment. The poster must be aimed at professional education. When designing the teaching poster, students are encouraged to discuss their ideas with their senior staff members, course coordinator or title-holder. 

    Assessment 3: Case Study
    Due Date: Week 11
    Each student is required to complete a 3,000 word nursing case study of a high academic standard. Case studies allow clinical episodes and practices to be articulated and explored. The case study should be about a patient you have cared for, relating actual events in which you were involved and critiquing the clinical events based upon the literature. You may write in the first person to convey actual conversations. Note: You must ensure patient anonymity is maintained. The following areas should be considered:
    Introduction to the case; and explanation of the reason for selection.
    The body of text should cover the following areas:
    •         present the patient’s story - including clinical presentation, diagnosis, any relevant history and the pathophysiology of the patient’s condition
    •         outline of the clinical progress of the patient, including interdisciplinary interventions (with an emphasis on nursing)
    •         critique the nursing management of the patient and interpret the outcomes of interventions, supported with relevant (and appropriate) literature
    •         Conclusion should summarise the patient case study.
    The School Academic Manual has further information on writing case studies and referencing your work.

    Assessment 4: Online Quizzes
    Students will be assessed on their understanding of the material presented throughout this course via online quizzes that are linked to each module of work throughout the semester.
    Assessments, unless otherwise stated in your Study guide, are to be submitted electronically via Assignments in MyUni on the due date specified. Instructions for assignment submission are available for all students under Tutorials at

    An assessment submitted via MyUni must be submitted as a .doc, .docx or .rtf file. If submitting a PowerPoint presentation for marking, the .ppt or .pptx must be submitted as .pdf file. It is also important to submit your file under your name, such as surname.firstname. MyUni stamps all the other details against your filename once you submit your assessment.

    An Assignment Coversheet must be submitted with each assessment. The coversheet should be the first page of your assessment. A word version of the Assignment Coversheet is available to download at The Plagiarism Statement must be signed and dated for your assessment to be marked (please note the details stated on the Assignment Coversheet). More information on avoiding Plagiarism is available at
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.


    Case Study Plan and Search Strategy

    Structure and writing style:  25% 
    Structure (15%)
    •       introduces/outlines/situates the topic of the case study
    •       provides a clear justification for the patient choice and its significance
    •       the case study plan is structured in a logical sequence so that the content flows
    Writing style (10%)
    •       the case study plan is written with clear sentence structure, clarity of argument and precision of expression and the spelling and grammar are correct.

    Content  / Critique: 40%
    •       the key points for the topic/issue have been identified
    •       the proposed content has clear links to contemporary nursing practice
    •       the student’s case study plan demonstrates an understanding of the significant issues surrounding the topic/question
    •       the key points identified demonstrates the student has considered the topic from alternative perspectives.

    Search Strategy: 20%
    •       relevant databases and sources of evidence clearly identified in search strategy
    •       key words / phrases clearly identified that are appropriate and relative to the search strategy and question•       evidence of conduct of search with appropriate application of Boolean logic (‘and’, ‘or’, ‘not’) and search limiters.

    •       the referencing style used throughout the paper is congruent with the School’s Student Handbook and Style Guide
    •       the reference list is accurate (i.e. no missing page numbers, volumes, correct title etc), complete (i.e. no references in the body of the paper are missing from the reference list) and consistent with the School’s Student Handbook and Style Guide
    •       the references cited are contemporary (i.e. less than 10 years old unless seminal papers).  


    Structure and Presentation:30%
    •       The poster fits onto an A1 sheet of cardboard, or equivalent electronic size.
    •       The poster is clear and legible from a distance
    •       The chosen font is easy to read and a reasonable size.
    •       The title of poster is clear
    •       Name of the student and The University of Adelaide, study plan and course name appear on the first slide
    •       The poster is presented using a logical sequence
    •       The material is presented in a concise, clear and uncluttered manner
    •       The poster has visual impact
    •       The spelling and grammar used in the poster are correct.

    Content: 60%
    •       The purpose / aims of the poster are clearly presented
    •       Diagrams and or pictures are used effectively to present material and are referenced
    •       The information is current, accurate and evidence based
    •       The information presented on the poster gives a concise overview of the chosen topic.

    •       It is recommended that the Vancouver referencing style be used: See the School’s Student Handbook and Style Guide
    •       The reference list is accurate (i.e. no missing page numbers, volumes, correct title etc), complete (i.e. no references in the body of the paper are missing from the reference list) and consistent with the School’s Student Handbook and Style Guide
    •       The references cited are contemporary (i.e. less than 10 years old unless seminal papers)
    •       Primary references are used predominantly (i.e. the original reference has been cited rather than a secondary source)
    •       There is evidence in the paper that the student has searched widely for information related to the topic/issue
    •       The student has acknowledged all sources of information and all diagrams and photos are referenced.
    •       Direct quotations are only used to make crucial points or to support the discussion/argument.   

    Case Study 

    Structure and Writing Style: 25% 
    Structure (15%)
    •       introduces the patient structure of the study
    •       clearly describes the way in which the case study will proceed (follows the suggested outline within the Study Guide)
    •       the case study is structured according to the suggested outline with headings used to indicate the sections
    •       the case study summaries the case details and recommendations are made for enhancement of care.
    Writing Style (10%)
    •       the case study is written with clear sentence structure, clarity of argument, precision of expression and the spelling and grammar are correct.

    Content and Critical Analysis: 60% 
    Content (30%)
    •       the case study has been presented logically
    •       the case study’s content has clear links to contemporary nursing practice
    •       the student’s paper demonstrates a depth of understanding of the topic and related nursing issues
    Critical Analysis (30%)
    The case study demonstrates a high degree of critical thought and insight into the patient's condition and nursing care provided by:
    •       providing a justification/rationale for the argument/discussion (or analysis) pertaining to nursing care
    •       demonstrating they have reflected on the complex issues surrounding the nursing care
    •       discussing the nursing care from differing perspectives, thereby providing a balanced argument/discussion.

    Referencing  15%
    •       the referencing style used throughout the summary paper is congruent with the School’s Student Handbook and Style Guide
    •       the reference list is accurate (i.e. no missing page numbers, volumes, correct title etc), complete (i.e. no references in the body of the paper are missing from the reference list) and consistent with the School’s Student Handbook and Style Guide
    •       the references cited are contemporary (i.e. less than 10 years old unless seminal papers)
    •       Primary references are used predominantly (i.e. the original reference has been cited rather than a secondary source)
    •       there is evidence in the summary paper that the student has searched widely for information related to the topic/issue
    •       the student has acknowledged all sources of information
    •       direct quotations are only used to make crucial points or to support the discussion/argument. 

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    Insufficient student feedback in semester 2 however positive feedback in semster1 course in relation to blended learning approach with 2-day workshop at end of semester. Students would like to see a workshop in the second semester.
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.