Available in 2017, 2018

Course handbook


This course extends students' knowledge and understanding of mental disorders and the related clinical and pharmacological interventions. An introduction to the spectrum of mental disorders encountered across the life-span, in a range of clinical contexts and in different cultural groups is provided. The effects of trauma and attachment difficulties upon emotional and physical development will provide a background to an emphasis on prevention and early intervention. Contemporary neurobiological understandings of depression and schizophrenia will inform students' learning about quality use of medications specific to mental illness. Evidence-based psychological and psychosocial interventions, models of care and awareness of potential human rights violations are integral to this course. The importance of recovery-oriented care, reflective practice and clinical supervision as a means of enhancing the clinician's capacity for therapeutic practice will be addressed.

Availability2017 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2017
  • Semester 2 - 2018

Port Macquarie Nth Coast Inst

  • Semester 2 - 2017
  • Semester 2 - 2018


  • Semester 1 - 2018

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. demonstrate the principles and practices of person-centred, recovery-oriented care and therapeutic presence specific to the care of a person living with mental illness

2. identify and define common terms relating to mental health problems and disorders

3. discuss the impact of health breakdown, the psychosocial dimensions of mental illness experience, and the effects on the family and significant others

4. outline the strategic directions in the current Australian National Health Priorities in regard to mental health.

5. demonstrate an understanding of issues of relevance for recovery-oriented care such as cultural competence and respect for the rights and needs of consumers, their family and carers

6. within a quality use of medication framework describe the mechanisms by which medications such as anti-depressants and anti-psychotics ameliorate depression and psychotic disorders

7. describe contemporary neurobiological understandings of mental health problems such as depression and schizophrenia

8. demonstrate mastery of mental health assessment and risk management tools

9. describe and use evidence-based approaches for identifying and diagnosing mental health problems and disorders

10. demonstrate an understanding of evidence-based clinical care for common mental health presentations

11. use the clinical reasoning cycle to explore selected clinical scenarios specific to mental health contexts

12. Identify how interprofessional communication impacts on recovery and risk mitigation

13. use reflective practice and self-evaluation to identify your personal development needs and seek appropriate support

14. use reflective practice to develop a greater awareness of self and the ways in which personal attributes affect interaction with clients and others

15. demonstrate an understanding of the legal principles relevant to mental health legislation

16. explore the ethical concept of human rights using Socratic dialogue

17. Students will be required to demonstrate competence at second year level in relation to: a)communicate with people experiencing anxiety and distress; b)responding to person who is hearing voices; c)conduct progressive muscle relaxation session; d)conduct mental status examination, including assessment of mood, thought content and behaviour; e)assessment of depression; suicide risk; psychosis; f)documentation using the standardised mental health assessment forms; g)identification of issues relating to recovery-oriented care in acute services


This course addresses concepts in mental health in primary, secondary and tertiary care including concepts such the spectrum of mental disorders encountered across the life-span, effects of trauma and attachment difficulties upon emotional and physical development, early intervention, neurobiological understandings of depression and schizophrenia, quality use of medications, human rights, recovery-oriented care and therapeutic practice.


This course is only available to students who are active in the Bachelor of Nursing program and have successfully completed NURS1101 and NURS1103 and successfully completed or are concurrently enrolled in NURS1201 and NURS1202.

Assumed knowledge

Concurrent enrolment or previous successful completion of Clinical Practice 2A (NURS 2102) and Foundations of Professional Practice 2A (NURS2101).

Assessment items

Presentation: Powerpoint presentation

Online Learning Activity: Online quiz

Formal Examination: Closed Book Examination - Accredited Program - use of Memory Aids are not permitted.

Participation: Non Graded Assessment Item - Mental Health Workshop

Contact hours

Callaghan, Ourimbah and Port Macquarie Nth Coast Inst


Face to Face On Campus 12 hour(s) per Term Full Term

Self-Directed Learning

Self-Directed 5 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 7 Weeks

Tutorials and Lectures can be delivered either face to face or online.


Face to Face On Campus 14 hour(s) per Term Full Term