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NURS503 Nursing Clients with Complex Health States

Nursing people with complex health needs, co-morbidity or disability. Knowledge and skills in applying appropriate models of care, including restorative, service integration across the continuum of care, and patient self-management.

Building on previous papers, and through the integration of research evidence and theory, students will have the opportunity to develop their knowledge to provide skilful nursing care within a range of settings for people who have complex health needs.

The aim of this paper is to apply clinical skills and critical thinking to inform clinical reasoning, decision making and problem solving to safely provide nursing care to people with complex health needs.

Paper title Nursing Clients with Complex Health States
Paper code NURS503
Subject Nursing
EFTS 0.125
Points 15 points
Teaching period 1st Non standard period (16 January 2023 - 7 July 2023) (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,451.50
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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NURS 441 and NURS 442 and NURS 446
Limited to

An undergraduate degree in any discipline with at least three years' full-time study and a B average in the final two years of the degree.

Teaching staff

Paper Co-ordinator: Jo Borren

Teaching Arrangements

Lectures and simulation labs taught face-to-face on the Christchurch campus 6-7 hours per week over six weeks, preparing students for the clinical placement undertaken at the end of the first semester.


Reccomended: Brown, D., Edwards, J., Buckley, T. and Aitken, R. (2019). Lewis's medical-surgical nursing: Assessment and management of clinical problems. (5th ed.). Chatswood, Australia: Elsevier.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Research, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will be able to:

  • Initiate and provide a comprehensive nursing assessment and appropriate care for the person with complex health conditions, incorporating sound clinical reasoning
  • Apply critical reasoning to identify and initiate an appropriate response to patients with rapidly changing health status
  • Communicate and engage effectively with patient, family/whānau and other health team members to formulate appropriate person-centred nursing care and discharge plans for patients with complex, long-term illnesses, addressing acute events and co-morbidities
  • Devise person-centred care plans for people with a disability
  • Demonstrate critical application of knowledge to identify and implement fitting strategies to support people with complex, long-term conditions to self-manage, achieve and maintain optimum health through their illness trajectory
  • Integrate concepts of family nursing into their practice
  • Assess and respond to health education needs of individuals/families/support people and communities
  • Under the supervision of an appropriately registered health professional, competently prepare, administer and evaluate the effectiveness of medications and intravenous therapies within legislation and according to authorised prescription, policy and guidelines
  • Using knowledge of pathophysiology, pharmacotherapeutics and complex, co-morbid states, evaluate the implications of polypharmacy
  • Critically evaluate and synthesise research and other literature in conjunction with analysis of individual patient and family/whānau needs to inform person- and family-centred nursing care
  • Critically apply the principles of infection control in a range of settings and demonstrate the capacity to determine safe and effective infection control procedures
  • Utilise knowledge of therapeutic relationships and professional boundaries to deliver care to people with complex and long-term health conditions and their family/whānau
  • Demonstrate application of the principles of cultural safety in line with policies of the Nursing Council of New Zealand and the University's commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi
  • Practise within legal and ethical requirements of clinical agencies and in accordance with the Nursing Council of New Zealand competencies and professional standards

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1st Non standard period (16 January 2023 - 7 July 2023)

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system