NURSING 7113 - Recognition & Response to Clinical Deterioration

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2022

This course will equip the Acute Care Nurse with physical assessment skills that enable early recognition of the adult patient suffering unexpected clinical deterioration, leading to timely and appropriate management. It will provide both theoretical and clinical components that enable application to practice. Synchronised online collaborative learning will support learning and teaching goals. Topics will include, but are not limited to, pathophysiology and emergency management using a systematic approach to body systems, supported by Australian Resuscitation Guidelines where appropriate.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code NURSING 7113
    Course Recognition & Response to Clinical Deterioration
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Nursing School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Flexible delivery mode with online classroom lectures plus one on-campus workshop during the Semester
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Assumed Knowledge Basic anatomy and physiology of the human body
    Restrictions Available to M.NurSc and G.DipNurSc students only
    Course Description This course will equip the Acute Care Nurse with physical assessment skills that enable early recognition of the adult patient suffering unexpected clinical deterioration, leading to timely and appropriate management. It will provide both theoretical and clinical components that enable application to practice. Synchronised online collaborative learning will support learning and teaching goals. Topics will include, but are not limited to, pathophysiology and emergency management using a systematic approach to body systems, supported by Australian Resuscitation Guidelines where appropriate.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Ms Krystle Halls

    Course Coordinator: Krystle Halls
    Phone: +61 8 8313 0930


    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Appraise the rationale and effectiveness of nursing assessment and interventions applied to seriously ill patients in the acute care setting.
    2 Demonstrates advanced and focused physical assessment in clinical practice in an acute care scenario with recognition of clinical deterioration in a timely manner
    3 Retrieves, critically evaluates and prioritises appropriate and timely interventions using best available evidence
    4 Expresses critical thinking skills through critical evaluation and nursing reflection on practice and the effectiveness of interventions.
    5 Demonstrates leadership through safe practice in accordance with legislation, professional codes and specialty competencies and guidelines in relation to current skills, knowledge and attitudes
    6 Demonstrates Integration of clinical skills and rigorous academic knowledge to practice in an acute care scenario
    7 Demonstrates advanced patient care within the multidisciplinary team using a culturally sensitive approach in an acute care scenario
    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.


    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.


    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.

    Available from:
    Cambridge University Press
    477 Williamstown Road
    Private Bag 31
    Port Melbourne
    Victoria, 3207
    tel: +61 (03) 8671 1400 fax:: +61 (03) 9676 9966

    Zoom Online Classroom technology
    To connect to the online classroom 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).

    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
    Zoom Online Classroom
    The online classroom (OC) technology will be used for lectures and tutorial discussions throughout the semester. The online classroom will run for 2 hours on a specific weeks and days identified in the MyUni course pages during this semester. Please take the time to review the resourses available on the Canvas course.

    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 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 through the Flexible Delivery Mode with Zoom Online Classroom Lectures.
    Students will participate in Zoom online classroom; collaborative learning and will be provided with course materials.  There is also a one day workshop associated with this course.


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

    It is expected that you will need to invest about 10 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 thatyou 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:

    Principles of Clinical Deterioration
    Primary Assessment using an A-E approach
    Communication Strategies
    Rapid Response Teams
    Specific Course Requirements
    On-line learning using ‘Zoom On-line Classroom’ (OC) and ‘MyUni Canvas’ are used in the delivery of this course. There is also a one day workshop associated with this course which will be timetabled in the course planner.
  • 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 Practice Formative NGP 5
    Clinical Assessment Sheet (CAS)  Summative 35% 1, 2, 4, 6
    Written Assignment Summative 50% 3, 5, 7
    Quizzes Summative 15% 1-4
    Assessment Detail

    Assessment 1: Reflective Practice 


    Describe and critically reflect on your role and the teamwork involved/witnessed in an
    unexpected clinical deterioration in which you have been involved with or observed. Please
    maintain patient confidentiality.

    As a guide use the questions:

    What happened, what did I do, what did others do, what was good or bad about the experience?

    So what?
    So, what is the importance of this? What have I learned about this?

    Now what?
    What could I do differently?

    Assessment 2: Clinical Assessment Sheet


    Identify a patient who experienced an episode of acute clinical deterioration. You may refer to
    de-identified patient charts in your answer.

    1. Provide a brief clinical history of the patient including presentation and diagnosis, as
    well as a description of the identified clinical deterioration (not included in word count).
    2. Identify the key clinical characteristics you used to assess that this patient was
    deteriorating. You will need to discuss the relevant respiratory and cardiac
    pathophysiology, linking them to the deterioration.
    3. Perform and describe a comprehensive and systematic assessment focusing on the
    principles of primary survey (A-E). Analyse and interpret your findings in the context
    of the patient’s clinical condition.
    4. Prioritise and provide rationale for the interventions required.

    (A minimum of 10 current references are needed)

    Patient’s anonymity must be maintained. The use of a pseudonym is required. The pseudonym
    must also be clearly identified in text. (for example: “Fred (pseudonym) was a 51 year male
    admitted with an acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive airways disease”). Do not include
    any other information that may potentially identify the patient or institution, including places,
    dates, times or events.

    Assessment 3: Written Assignment


    Considering the clinical deteriorations which you have observed and responded to in your
    clinical team, identify an area (e.g., communication, teamwork, situational awareness- happy to
    discuss any your ideas and these are just general examples to get you thinking) for
    improvement to discuss in your essay.

    Your essay must include:

    1. Introduction of the area which you have identified as needing improvement.

    2. A review of the current literature. Consider what is known on the chosen area, is this a
    common area requiring improvement in other teams or workplaces? Ensure to provide
    an overview of the current literature.
    3. Identify a minimum of two strategies which could be implemented in your team to
    address the area for improvement. Ensure to include a discussion of how these
    strategies could be appropriately implemented- discuss what steps may need to be

    4. Conclusion including a summary of your discussions and key points for the reader to
    take away.

    A minimum of 10 current (within 10 years) references are to be included

    Assessment 4: Quizzes


    There will be three quizzes spread out through the semester. The questions will relate directly
    to the readings and text chapters. These will be multiple choice and short answer questions
    (maximum 10 questions in each quiz).

    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
    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.

    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 Student handbook and style guide. Marks will be lost for failing to do so. 

    Marking guides will be provided on the MyUni Course pages.

    The University of Adelaide Academic Honesty and Assessment Obligations for Coursework Students Policy & Coursework Students: Academic Dishonesty Procedures policy is available at  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 on plagiarism found at

    The following processes should be observed:

    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 that 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.

    Best aspects of this course:
    The online classroom was advantageous because it involved wide discussion and not just question/answer. The
    workshop was brilliant!
    Provides different types of learning process: online class, case study, discussion group.
    It corresponds well with the information given out in the other course 'Acute Care.'

    Areas for improvement
    This course is based on clinical deterioration, the topics of cardiac assessment as well as respiratory and neurological topics are involved, I believe that renal issues is another important topic that should be involved- this will be addressed by inclusion of clinician delivery of content.  

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

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