NRS113 Introduction to Primary Health Care (8)

This subject will introduce students to: concepts of health; primary health care as a philosophy, organising framework and way of working with people and communities; social determinants of health, and; the development of nursing as a practice discipline and its role in primary health care. The Australian context will be provided with an introduction to the Australian health system and national health priorities. Personal values, differences and perceptions will be explored in relation to respect, health needs assessment, Indigenous Australian cultural competence, transcultural competence, professionalism and health education and promotion for individuals and groups. Students will engage with each other in tutorials (for distance education students this will occur online) to develop their communication skills and ability to interact in a team environment.

No offerings have been identified for this subject in 2021.

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

Only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Nursing course and Bachelor of Nursing - Graduate Diploma of Clinical Practice (Paramedic).

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to explain differing concepts of health for individuals, families and communities, including Indigenous Australian communities and Linguistic Diverse communities, cultural considerations associated with perceptions of health (aligns with Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia National Competency Standards for the Registered Nurse: 1.3, 2.1, 2.3, 2.5, 3.2).
  • be able to examine the philosophy and principles of primary health care in relation to social determinants of health, and their relevance to Indigenous Australian communities and vulnerable Australian population groups (NMBA 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.6, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 7.8, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4, 10.1,10.4).
  • be able to plan client care based on the principles of primary health care (NMBA 2.6, 2.7, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3).
  • be able to describe the Australian health system and identify opportunities within it for the application of primary health care strategies (NMBA 2.2, 2.4, 2.6, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 5.1, 5.3, 9.2, 10.1, 10.4).
  • be able to document and interpret assessment findings pertaining to individuals using health screening and assessment tools (NMBA 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 7.1, 7.2, 8.1, 8.2, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4, 9.5).
  • be able to differentiate between health promotion and health education, and identify strategies used to deliver health messages to different population groups (health literacy) (NMBA 3.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4).


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • The Nature of Health. Exploration of concepts of health, community and culture. Social determinants of health (with reference to Indigenous Australian people and vulnerable communities). Healthy people, healthy communities.
  • Development of Primary Health Care. Public health; theories of health and disease; community health. Sociological, ecological and cultural perspectives. Primary health care and social determinants of health. Philosophy and principles of primary health care. Ethical frameworks and theories, introduction and application to PHC.
  • The Australian Health System. Providers, funders, participants (AIHW, 2012). Supporting mechanisms, government (all tiers) and non-government organisations, consumer advocacy and support groups. Legislation and health policy, an overview. Health priorities (, demographics, risk factors, incidence, epidemiology and surveillance (endemic, epidemic, pandemic), Indigenous Australian health, vulnerable populations.
  • Building Pictures for Ways of Working. Introduction to health screening and needs assessments, individuals and communities. Accessing, generating and using evidence for PHC nursing practice. Working in partnership, working collaboratively, working towards cultural responsiveness (nursing, interdisciplinary, intersectorially) through the application of PHC principles to address social determinants of health (inclusion, Indigenous Australians and Culturally and Linguistic Diverse communities safety/respect, empowerment, advocacy, social justice, equity).
  • Cultural competence. Why do nurses need to be culturally competent? History of cultural competence in nursing. Models of cultural competence, including Indigenous Australian.
  • Protecting and Promoting Health. Individuals and Communities. Developing health literacy - lifespan, cultural and personal capacity considerations. Health information, research and evidence for health. Health promotion principles and strategies. Education for health. Implications for nursing practice.

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of NRS113 in Session 1 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Critical reflection: perceptions of health
Report on primary health care in practice

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.