NUR5870 - End of life care in nursing contexts - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 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

Chief examiner(s)


Not offered in 2019


To provide effective end of life care in acute, aged or community contexts registered nurses need to be able to manage patients, support and engage families, and work with other health professionals. This unit aims to equip registered nurses, who are working with people at end of life, with essential clinically relevant knowledge and skills that can be applied in any setting.

This unit comprises three modules.

The first module examines contemporary models for providing end of life care. This includes: issues associated with managing trajectories of deterioration, common end of life interventions and pathways, and tools to assist care and end of life decision-making.

The second module addresses the core skill of managing complex conversations with patients and families about end of life matters. It includes study of advance care planning, managing complex conversations about life choices, and engaging in shared decision-making with patients and proxy decision-makers. The module also covers methods of supporting and educating patients and/or proxy decision-makers about deterioration and likely decision-making options.

The third module explores inter-professional collaborations needed in end of life care. Strategies for building capacities in teams to manage and support end of life care are critically examined.


Upon successfully completing this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Appraise common issues associated with end of life care in a variety of health care contexts.
  2. Skilfully communicate end of life issues with patients, families, nurses and other health professionals
  3. Work with the concerns of families or proxy decision-makers when patients are deteriorating and/or when patients are not responding well to interventional care
  4. Recognise when patients are approaching the end of life and engage appropriate models of care
  5. Establish and operationalise advance care planning methods and tools
  6. Design strategies for building capacity in nursing and inter-professional teams to manage and support end of life care


  • Critical review of literature (2,000 words) (30%)
  • Essay (2,500-3,000 words) (40%) (hurdle)
  • A feature story (1500 words) (30%)

Workload requirements

This unit is offered in the flexible mode and uses blended learning methods. Fortnightly classes on campus (4 hours) are offered throughout the semester, these are supported online by weekly guided learning and student led interactive activities on Moodle (2 hours per week) and 6 hours of self-directed activities per week.

See also Unit timetable information