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    Professional skills and knowledge related to clinical competence in areas such as high dependency, critical care and emergency nursing.

    This paper is based on the application of a series of objectives. These encompass attitudes, personal and interpersonal skills, cultural safety, the application of knowledge, problem-solving skills and technical competence. The student will apply theoretical learning within their practice context. Students will also use practice experience to develop new or refine existing nursing knowledge in the high-acuity clinical setting. The concept of high-acuity nursing is recognised as applying across a range of settings and is considered in relation to each student's area of practice, as well as acknowledgment of general principles and universal application.

    Study requires the student to demonstrate integrated knowledge at an advanced level in line with the Nursing Council of New Zealand (NCNZ) nurse practitioner (NP) domains of competency. The intention is for the student to develop and apply new knowledge and understanding and to relate this to their individual area of practice. The notion of clinical practice as scholarship is an underpinning of the paper.

    About this paper

    Paper title Nursing - High Acuity
    Subject Nursing
    EFTS 0.25
    Points 30 points
    Teaching period Semester 2 (Distance learning)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $2,984.25
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    NURX 411
    Limited to
    MAdvNP, MHealSc, PGCertHealSc, PGDipHealSc

    The applicant will:

    • Have registration as a nurse from a three-year programme or course, congruent with the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance (HPCA) Act 2003.
    • Hold a current Practising Certificate.
    Teaching staff

    Convenor: Paddy Holbrook, MN, MP.

    Paper Structure
    This paper is designed to allow the individual to explore the high-acuity aspects of their own area of practice. Students come from a range of backgrounds, which necessitates the provision of generic information that students are expected to then adapt for use in their specific situations. The course materials presented on the study block days cover the theoretical components of the paper, including discussion around socio-political and cultural matters, defining scope of practice, and drawing on clinical experts to present elements related to specific disease processes and pathophysiology.
    Teaching Arrangements

    This Distance Learning paper is a combination of remote and in-person teaching.

    Three 2-day study blocks and additional online and self-directed study.

    View Timetable information.


    The required textbook for this paper is:

    Wagner, K.D & Hardin-Pierce, M.G. (2015). High-acuity nursing (6th ed). Harlow, UK: Pearson Education Ltd.

    You are also expected to have available an advanced health assessment text, such as:

    Bickley, L. (2016). Bates' guide to physical examination and history taking (12th ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health.

    Jarvis, C. (2016). Physical examination and health assessment (7th ed.). St Louis, Missouri: Saunders.

    and a pathophysiology or anatomy and physiology text, such as:

    Porth, C. (2014). Essentials of pathophysiology: Concepts of altered health states (4th ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete the paper will:

    1. Apply interpretive and technical knowledge in differential diagnosis in the high-acuity situation.
    2. Extend knowledge of anatomy, physiology and behavioural sciences on which the principles of high-acuity nursing are based.
    3. Demonstrate ability to apply assessment skills in clinically complex situations.
    4. Demonstrate ability to apply pathophysiology and pharmacology knowledge within their area of practice.
    5. Contribute effectively within the high-acuity/multi-disciplinary team.
    6. Demonstrate application of the principles of cultural safety in nursing practice in alignment with the policies of the Nursing Council of New. Zealand and the University's commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi.
    7. Develop research utilisation skills appropriate for the implementation of evidence-based practice, with an aim of providing excellence in clinical care.
    8. Develop documentation skills that accurately reflect clinical data and treatment.
    9. Utilise critical thinking skills and articulate the rationale and justification for nursing actions.
    10. Contribute to preventive and health promotion measures to improve patient outcomes in high-acuity situations.
    11. Demonstrate the ability to synthesise clinical and theoretical knowledge to provide best practice.


    Semester 2

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught through Distance Learning
    Learning management system
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