NURSING 7108 - Foundations of Cardiac Care

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2014

This course provides foundation knowledge and skills which are fundamental for the development of advanced cardiac nursing practice. The course consists of two sections. The first section describes the physiology, pathophysiology, assessment, and management of respiratory failure. At the completion of this course students are expected to be competent to care for patients requiring non-invasive ventilation. The second section focuses on cardiac anatomy and physiology, electrophysiology, and the mechanisms, diagnosis, and management of cardiac arrhythmias, and pacing.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code NURSING 7108
    Course Foundations of Cardiac Care
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Nursing School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Assumed Knowledge Basic anatomy & physiology of the cardiac, respiratory, & the autonomic nervous system
    Restrictions Available to M.NursSc students only
    Course Description This course provides foundation knowledge and skills which are fundamental for the development of advanced cardiac nursing practice. The course consists of two sections. The first section describes the physiology, pathophysiology, assessment, and management of respiratory failure. At the completion of this course students are expected to be competent to care for patients requiring non-invasive ventilation. The second section focuses on cardiac anatomy and physiology, electrophysiology, and the mechanisms, diagnosis, and management of cardiac arrhythmias, and pacing.
    Course Staff

    No information currently available.

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Recognise the signs of respiratory distress, explain the possible causes, and plans, prioritises, institutes, and evaluates an effective treatment plan
    2 Analyse and interpret diagnostic tests and monitoring used to assess the adequacy of oxygenation and ventilation within an acute/critical cardiac unit
    3 Discuss the aetiology, pathophysiology, assessment, and management of common respiratory disorders resulting in acute respiratory failure
    4 Demonstrate the operation, setup, application, monitoring, and troubleshooting for non-invasive ventilation.
    5 Describe the mechanisms, and clinical significance of common arrhythmias
    6 Recognise arrhythmias, their potential causes, responds accordingly, initiates appropriate treatments based on evidence, and evaluates the impact of these interventions.
    7 Explain the principles, indications, modes of operation, complications, safety considerations, and management of patients with temporary and permanent cardiac pacing.
    8 Identify and critically appraise the evidence that informs practice.
    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)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-7
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1-8
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1-4, 6, 7
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 4-7
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 8
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 8
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Prescribed texts 
    Sidebotham D, McKee A, Gillham M, Levy JH 2007, Cardiothoracic Critical Care, Butterworth Heinemann Elsevier, Philadelphia. 
    Huszar, RJ 2011, Basic dysrhythmias and Acute Coronary Syndromes: Interpretation and management, rev. 4th edn, Mosby, St Louis. 
    Opie, LH & Gersh, BJ 2013, Drugs for the heart, 8th edn, Elsevier Saunders, Philadelphia.

    The prescribed texts are integral to the course and may be purchased from all or some of the following outlets:
    The University of Adelaide, Adelaide SA 5005
    Phone: +61 8 8125 5160

    Ramsay – Medical books and more
    Located at Unibooks Adelaide Store, Gate 10 (off Victoria Drive) Union Building, Adelaide SA 5000
    Phone: +61 8 8125 5195 or 1300 796 106
    Fax: +61 8 8231 2069

    Encompass Bookshop
    Shop 20, Renaissance Arcade, 128 Rundle Mal, lAdelaide SA 5000
    Phone:   08 8224 0886
    Fax:        08 8223 3570
    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
    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 Students
    The 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 on campus and will incorporate the following:

    1. Three hours contact per week
    2. A blend of lectures, tutorials and workshops incorporating a problem-based learning approach
    3. Lecture notes online

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

    The delivery mode of this course is mainly face-to-face workshops on campus (Three hours contact per week). Although attendance is not compulsory in this course, students are strongly encouraged to attend the classes. Many of the workshops presented in this course will involve problem-based learning using real-life case studies and therefore have a close link to your clinical rotation within the specialty areas of cardiac nursing practice. Practical workshops will form the basis of some of the sessions.

    There are several required texts for this course. Most of the Reading will be supplied to you online through MyUni. However you are strongly advised to search and read widely of each topic in this course.
    It is expected that you will need to invest about 12 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, attendance at workshops, 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 the following:

    1.    Respiratory anatomy and physiology

    2.    Acute respiratory failure

    3.    Non-invasive assessment of respiratory function
            •    Pulmonary function tests, pulse oximetry

    4.    Arterial blood gas analysis

    5.    Assisted ventilation

    6.    Common respiratory disorders

    7.    Cardiac anatomy & physiology

    8.    Regulation of cardiac output & blood pressure

    9.    Cardiac action potential

    10.    Electrophysiology

    11.    Arrhythmia interpretation and management
            •    Sinus arrhythmias, atrial arrhythmias, junctional & ventricular arrhythmias, atrioventricular blocks

    12.    Pacemakers – permanent and temporary

    13.    Anti-arrhythmic therapies

    14.    12 lead ECG interpretation
            •    Axis deviation & BBB, ischaemia & infarction, differentiation of supraventricular tachycardia and ventricular tachycardia, miscellaneous ECG changes

    15.    Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardias & pre-excitation
    Specific Course Requirements
    Although it is not a mandatory requirement, students are encouraged to seek the opportunity to rotate through the various cardiac sub-specialty environments within their organisation ie Interventional, medical and surgical.
  • 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
    Reflective activity Formative 0% 1-3
    Essay outline & search strategy Summative 10% 1-8
    Essay Summative 40% 1-8
    Exam Summative 50% 1-7
    Skills workbook Summative Pass/fail 1-7
    Assessment Detail
    Students must pass all components of assessment in order to successfully complete the course, with the exception of the formative assessments for the essay and student presentation.

    Reflective activity (250 words) (0%): The assessment is scheduled early in the semester to assist students with the planning and development of the presentation, to ensure that appropriate resources are used, and that referencing complies with the Disciplines Handbook and Style Guide.

    Essay outline & search strategy (500 words) (10%): The aim of this assessment is to introduce the topic and provide a justification for the topic; outline the key points and issues to be critiqued; describe the search strategy used to source information; and include a reference list of at least 5 preliminary references.

    Essay (1500 words) (40%): Assessment will be based on: the content of the essay; the students understanding and critique of the topic; the structure and presentation; support of the topic from contemporary literature.

    Written examination 2.0 hours (2000 word equivalent) (65%). This assessment includes multiple choice and short answer questions and is designed to ensure summative knowledge of the course material.

    Skill workbook (Pass/Fail). Students are required to achieve ‘competence’ in a list of clinical skills integral to the course content and management of the cardiac nursing. Students will be assessed by preceptors and Clinical Titleholders within their institution for clinical competence.
    Assessment Submission
    Assessments, unless otherwise stated in your Study guide, are to be submitted electronically via Assignments in MyUni on the due date identified in this Study guide. Instructions for assignment submission are available for all students under Tutorials at Formatting and presentation of assignments must comply with School policy as indicated in the School Academic Manual.

    An assessment submitted via MyUni must be submitted as a .doc, .docx or .rtf file (or unless otherwise specified, i.e. PowerPoint). It is also important to submit your file under your surname and id number, such as surnamestudentid (i.e. knight1234567). MyUni stamps all the other details against your filename once you submit your assessment.

    Your assessment must include an Assignment Coversheet. Your assignment should be submitted as one file, with the coversheet being the first page. A word version and rich text format of the Assignment Coversheet is available to download at The Plagiarism Statement must be signed and dated for your assessment to be marked (signature is not required for electronic submission). More information on avoiding Plagiarism is available at

    If you have difficulty submitting your assignment, you can call the MyUni helpdesk Monday to Friday (8am to 6pm) on 08 8313 3335.

    Extension of time for assessment items
    It is expected that all assessments will be submitted on or by the specified due date.

    However, students may apply for an extension of time to submit an assessment, if they are experiencing difficulty. Applications for extension must be made via the online form on the School of Nursing website The grounds for granting an extension include health problems, compassionate reasons and other extenuating circumstances. Extensions will usually only be granted for a maximum of one week, but can be longer at the discretion of the Chairperson of the Postgraduate Learning and Teaching Sub-Committee or Head of Learning and Teaching if substantiated with evidence such as a medical certificate.

    Upon completion of the online form, you will receive a receipt to your student email of your approved extension. If your extension is granted, then it is your responsibility to keep in contact with the course coordinator and to submit the assessment with evidence of your approved extension.

    You must complete this online form for each course and assessment that you request an extension for.

    Failure to submit an assessment item on time without an approved extension will incur a penalty as detailed under Late Submission of Work.

    Late submission of work
    All assessments should be submitted by the specified due date.

    Late submission without an approved extension will be penalised at the rate of 10% of available marks for each day after the due date. Work submitted more than ten days after the due date may be returned unmarked. This action will be taken to prevent students who do get their work in on time being disadvantaged.

    Word limit
    You are advised to comply with word limits. You are, of course, not expected to achieve exactly the required length and a 10% leeway on either side is acceptable. However, a penalty of 5% of available marks will apply for word limit in excess of the 10% leeway.

    Your written work must comply with the formatting and referencing indicated in the School Academic Manual. Marks will be lost for failing to do so.

    Return of assignments
    Marked assignments and feedback will be returned via MyUni. For further information relating to assessment refer to the Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy.

    Requesting a re-mark
    Any student who, after discussion of the result with the course coordinator, is still dissatisfied with the final grade awarded for a course, and who has specific grounds for objecting to the grade, may lodge a written request for a review of the result or an independent second assessment with the Head of School within 10 University business days from the date of notification of the result. Such a written request must contain details of the grounds on which the objection is based. Requests must include a summary of the reasons the student believes his or her assessment work deserves a higher grade. These reasons must be directly related to the academic quality of the work. Re-marks, for example, will not be granted where the grounds are that the student has paid tuition fees or incurred liability under HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP, or needs one or two additional marks to get a higher overall grade for the course. The Head of Learning and Teaching may seek the advice of the Postgraduate Learning and Teaching Sub-Committee, and will make a determination on review or second assessment, and inform the student of his or her decision in writing.

    The grade awarded to a piece of work following review or second assessment as provided for in this policy or as a consequence of appeal to the Student Appeals Committee will usually stand as the final grade for the work, regardless of whether it is higher or lower than the grade originally awarded.

    Further guidelines and policies regarding examinations may be found on the examinations website

    Resubmitting failed assignments
    In accordance with University Policy, the guidelines and conditions regarding resubmission are stated below. It should be noted that these guidelines concern work that has been assessed as ‘FAIL’.
    Course coordinators, in consultation with Head of Learning & Teaching and/or the Pre-Registration or Postgraduate Learning and Teaching Sub-Committee Chairperson, are responsible for determining the circumstances in which students may resubmit assessment tasks. In determining these circumstances, the following are considered.
    a) Students may only resubmit their work when:
    i ) It will allow them to demonstrate that they have understood feedback on their work; and/or
    ii) They might otherwise be at risk of failing the course; and/or
    iii) When they have received a Fail grade with an underlying mark of 45-49%; or
    iv) The final assessment task in the course is weighted at 20% or more of the total course assessment.
    b) In granting a resubmission, the deadline will be negotiated.
    c) The resubmitted work will be awarded no more than the minimum pass mark (i.e. 50%).
    d) If the resubmitted work does not achieve a pass, it cannot be submitted a third time, and a fail will be recorded.
    e) Students who accept an offer of resubmission must take into account the possible implications, such as eligibility for graduation should the reassessment not be able to be completed in time for their preferred ceremony.
    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.

    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.

  • 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.