Coffs HarbourSession 1Session 1
Gold CoastSession 1Session 1
LismoreSession 1Session 1

Unit description

Introduces students to the principles that underpin the nursing profession and the forces that shape the individual and collective identity of nursing. Critically examines the historical evolution of nursing, contemporary practice issues, standards for practice, legislation and policy frameworks in the context of what it means to nurse and be a nurse.

Unit content

  • Analysing health care systems
  • Historical context of health and approaches to health care
  • Health of Australians and international comparisons
  • Structure and functions of the Australian health care system
    • Key features of the Australian health care system
    • Comparisons of health systems around the world
    • Governments, governance, policy and health care in Australia 
    • Funding health care in Australia
  • Health care workforce in Australia
  • Contemporary issues and trends in the Australian health care system and health workforce
  • An historical overview of nursing
  • Historical and contemporary images of nursing
  • The scope of nursing practice
  • The concept of professionalism
  • Statutory and professional regulation of nursing practice
  • Conducting a library search to locate nursing literature
  • Reviewing literature and developing an annotated bibliography
  • Sources of policy and clinical guidelines
  • Developing an annotated bibliography
  • Accountability, responsibility and duty of care
  • Introduction to common law 
  • Nursing and the law 
  • Confidentiality, consent and disclosure
  • Technologies and their use within nursing, specifically to patient safety, confidentiality and social media polices as directed by the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Accreditation Council [ANMAC], Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency [APHRA] and the Australian College of Nursing [ACN]

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

Learning outcomes and graduate attributes

Prescribed texts

Session 1

  • Daly, J, Speedy, S & Jackson, D, 2017, Contexts of Nursing, 5th edn, Elsevier, Chatswood, Australia. ISBN: 978-0-7295-4246-3.
  • Staunton, M & Chiarella, M, 2017, Law for Nurses and Midwives, 8th edn, Elsevier, Chatswood, Australia. ISBN: 978-0-7295-4245-6.
Prescribed texts may change in future study periods.

Teaching and assessment

Coffs Harbour

Teaching method
Lecture online 2 hours (12 weeks)
Tutorial on-site 2 hours (12 weeks)
Annotated bibliography40%
Exam: closed book50%

Gold Coast

Teaching method
Tutorial on-site 2 hours (12 weeks)
Lecture online 2 hours (12 weeks)
Annotated bibliography40%
Exam: closed book50%


Teaching method
Lecture online 2 hours (12 weeks)
Tutorial on-site 2 hours (12 weeks)
Annotated bibliography40%
Exam: closed book50%

Intensive offerings may or may not be scheduled in every session. Please refer to the timetable for further details.

Southern Cross University employs different teaching methods within units to provide students with the flexibility to choose the mode of learning that best suits them. SCU academics strive to use the latest approaches and, as a result, the learning modes and materials may change. The most current information regarding a unit will be provided to enrolled students at the beginning of the study session.

Fee information


Commonwealth Supported courses
For information regarding Student Contribution Amounts please visit the Student Contribution Amounts.
Commencing 2020 Commonwealth Supported only. Student contribution band: 1

Fee paying courses
For POSTGRADUATE or UNDERGRADUATE full fee paying courses please check Domestic Postgraduate Fees OR Domestic Undergraduate Fees


Please check the international course and fee list to determine the relevant fees.