NURSING 7108 - Foundations of Cardiac Care

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2016

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
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Assumed Knowledge Basic anatomy and physiology of the cardiac, respiratory, and 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

    Course Coordinator: Mr Adrian De Luca

    Phone: +61 8 8313 6284
    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1 - 7
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1 - 8
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    1 - 3, 6, 7
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    4, 7
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Prescribed texts 
    Aitken, L., Marshall, A. & Chaboyer, W 2015, ACCCN's Critical Care Nursing, 3rd edn, Elsevier Australia, Chatswood.
    Herzog, E 2012, The cardiac care unit survival guide, Wolters Kluwer / Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.
    Opie, LH & Gersch, BJ 2012, Drugs for the heart, 8th edn, Saunders Elsevier, Philadelphia.
    Wesley, K 2011, Basic dysrhythmias and Acute Coronary Syndromes: Interpretation and management, rev. 4th edn, Mosby, St Louis.

    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
    Sidebotham D, McKee A, Gillham M & Levy JH 2007, Cardiothoracic Critical Care, Butterworth Heinemann Elsevier, Philadelphia.

    Woods, SL, Sivarajan Froelicher, ES, Motzer, SU & Bridges, EJ 2010, Cardiac Nursing, 6th edn, Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore.

    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 (

  • 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 tutorials and workshops incorporating Problem-Based Learning and Small Group Discovery.
    3. Lecture notes and readings are available online via myuni.

    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 tutorials and 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 tutorials and workshops presented in this course will involve problem-based learning using real-life case studies and will have a close link to your specialty practice of cardiac nursing. 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.    ABG analysis

    4.    Non-invasive assessment of respiratory function

    5.    Oxygen therapy

    6.    Assisted ventilation

    7.    Common respiratory disorders and management

    8.    CXR interpretation

    9.    Cardiac anatomy & physiology

    10.  Regulation of cardiac output & blood pressure

    11.  Cardiac action potential

    12.  Electrophysiology

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

    14.  Pacemakers – permanent and temporary

    15.  Anti-arrhythmic therapies

    16.  12 lead ECG interpretation
            •    Axis deviation & BBB, ischaemia & infarction, differentiation of supraventricular tachycardia and ventricular tachycardia,   miscellaneous ECG changes

    17.  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.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Small Group Discovery (SGDE) is a significant component of the face-to-face sessions conducted in this course. Further details will be provided on commencement.
  • 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 NGP 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 Related Requirements
    Clinical Skills Reflective Diaries: Pass/ Fail

    The assessment of skills will occur throughout the semester. Students will be assessed by the critical care registered nurses and/or clinical  titleholders, with whom they work. Please refer to the information provided in the Clinical skills and Reflective Practice Diaries
    regarding skills assessment criteria. It is essential that students, who do not have exposure to a particular skill directrly relevant to Semester 1 content, discuss with their clinical area / course coordinator within enough time to arrange for clinical experience / demonstration to occur. The diaries will be graded Pass or Fail.
    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 (150 words) (NGP): 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) (50%). 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. Students will be assessed by preceptors and Clinical Titleholders within their institution for clinical competence.
    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

    Turnitin is used to submit all assignments in this course. Turnitin is a plagiarism software tool that enables the student to identify any matching text before final submission.

    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.
    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.

    Students are reminded that plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty constitute a serious offence and can result in disciplinary procedures. Students are advised to read the policy Academic Honesty and Assessment Obligations for Coursework
    Students Policy & Coursework Students: Academic Dishonesty Procedures policy, available at

    The following definitions should be noted.
    Referencing: providing a full bibliographic reference to the source of the citation (in a style as determined by the School).
    Quotation: placing an excerpt from an original source into a paper using either quotation marks or indentation, with the source cited, using an approved referencing system in order to give credit to the original author.
    Paraphrasing: repeating a section of text using different words which retain the original meaning.Please note: changing just a few words does not constitute paraphrasing.

    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.