NRS548 High Dependency Nursing (8)

This subject will develop the knowledge and skill base relating to the assessment and management of adult patients in the high dependency nursing environment. A holistic approach to the assessment and management of a wide variety of conditions will be facilitated. Students will further develop their clinical decision making and reflective practice skills and engage in evidence-based practice to identify the need for change and take a leadership role in implementing change. Students undertaking this subject will be working in a clinical practice area where they will negotiate mentoring from a suitably qualified health professional to practice advanced nursing competencies. There will be a two day residential school in this subject.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.

No offerings have been identified for this subject in 2018.

Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health

Enrolment Restrictions

 Master of Clinical Nursing (Nurse Practitioner). Not available to international students.

Assumed Knowledge

Professional nursing experience in assessment and advanced nursing practice. Knowledge of pharmacology and pathophysiology.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to develop advanced skills in physical and mental health assessment and clinical decision making, to formulate priorities and anticipate potential problems in immediate and medium term patient management in a culturally competent manner
  • to be able to plan nursing care utilising an evidence-based practice approach where clinical guidelines are accessed and applied to achieve the best patient outcomes
  • be able to examine and apply a sound understanding of pathophysiology underpinning complex respiratory and cardiac problems, fluid and electrolyte imbalance, the infected patient and the patient in pain
  • be able to administer, monitor and evaluate medications for patients in the high dependency nursing environment by applying critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • be able to critically appraise and apply pharmacology knowledge of drugs in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of patients in the high dependency environment
  • be able to demonstrate knowledge and skill in the application of technology in the high dependency environment
  • be able to utilise advanced communication skills to communicate with the patient, their family/carer in a culturally competent manner
  • be able to reflect on and apply the legal, ethical and moral aspects of care in nursing practice including palliation if necessary
  • be able to explain how psychological, social and cultural factors as well as the features of the rural and remote environment, impact on individuals requiring high dependency nursing care
  • be able to engage in a multidisciplinary team approach to provide person-centred evidence-based nursing care


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Systematic evidence based nursing assessment and management: Frameworks for physical and mental health nursing assessment and management; psychological and social factors impacting on patients in the high dependency environment including palliation if appropriate; assessment and management of patients, including those with an intellectual disability or mental health problem with complex respiratory and cardiac problems, fluid and electrolyte imbalance, infection and those requiring pain management utilising problem based case studies, involvement of the carer and family in decision making; competent management of the patient with complex needs; providing culturally competent care in the assessment and management of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and people from different cultural groups; advanced communication skills in the coordination of care; legal and ethical issues, policies and protocols in the high dependency setting.
  • Pathophysiology and pharmacology: Review the pathophysiology associated with, and the application of pharmacology knowledge to patients experiencing: complex respiratory and cardiac problems; fluid and electrolyte imbalance; infection/sepsis; pain.
  • Advanced Clinical Competencies: Taught, practiced under supervision, feedback provided and assessed in the simulated clinical laboratory at a two day residential school and developed and consolidated during mentored professional experience.
  • Evidence based practice in high dependency nursing: Clinical decision making based on best available evidence to anticipate and meet individual needs and manage outcomes in complex clinical situations; searching for research evidence relating to presentations in high dependency, utilising data bases eg. CINAHL, MEDLINE, accessing Cochrane Collaboration Database of Systematic Reviews, Joanna Briggs Institute, and The Centre for Evidence-based Nursing, Aotearoa (CEBNA); evaluation of health care using an audit tool to observe current practice, set standards of care utilising Clinical Practice Guidelines, compare practice with standards of care and implement change.

Workplace Learning

This subject contains a 5 days Compulsory Workplace Learning component.

Students will be mentored in their clinical practice for 40 hours (5 days) by an experienced advanced practice nurse and/or physician. They will be required to develop a collaborative competency based learning contract. A two day residential school will support their learning process.

Residential School

This subject contains a 2 day Compulsory Residential School.

Case based learning and student presentations will occur at the residential school. High fidelity simulated learning will be used to teach advanced high dependency nursing skills, including differential diagnosis and clinical reasoning.

Special Resources

Students will be required to attend a two day Residential School for this subject.


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.