Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

School of Nursing and Midwifery


Rebecca Vanderheide



  • First semester 2016 (Day)
  • Second semester 2016 (Day)


This unit is the first of three units that examines nursing practice from a socio-political framework. In providing an understanding of fundamental concepts of nursing as a discipline, this unit introduces students to the disparate locations of nursing practice globally and allows for in-depth exploration of health care settings in the Australian health care milieu. Students will study health care through a social model of health and will situate nursing care within this model. A history of nursing and the various opportunities and barriers that have influenced the development of nursing as a profession will be explored and debated. The Australian legal system as its relationship to the health care environment will be examined and students will be required to explore the complex legal relationships that nurses have with patients, families and other health care professionals. In addition, professional and ethical codes will be introduced, explored and posited as a basis for professional nursing practice.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Distinguish the evolution of contemporary nursing practice from both an international and Australian perspective.
  2. Examine the multi-faceted health care system in Australia and how nurses practice in these settings.
  3. Debate the socio-political influences on the development of nursing as a profession.
  4. Identify and appraise ethical dilemmas that arise in health care and strategies for resolving these.
  5. Evaluate the pertinent legal concepts and mechanisms that underpin the practice of nursing.
  6. Utilize and incorporate legal and professional standards in the various practice environments.
  7. Discuss common law and statute law relevant to professional practice.
  8. Analyse the legal implications of actions taken in nursing practice.
  9. Discuss and apply ethical theories relevant to nursing practice.
  10. Explore ethical and legal aspects of end of life decision making.


Essay (3,500 - 4,000 words) (40%)
Simulation learning (10%)
Exam (3 hours) (40%)
Online activity (Discussion) (10%)

Workload requirements

7 hours a week: lectures 4 hours, tutorials 1 hour, online learning activities 2 hours over a 14 week semester.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study