The University of Newcastle, Australia
Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


This course will focus on the complexity of clinical practice within the field of speech pathology. It is acknowledged that complexity arises in a range of ways and in a variety of situations. Complexity in clinical practice may arise through the combination and relationship of a variety of factors, including a client having multiple diagnoses and co-occurring health conditions with a range of service providers engaged in addressing the client's needs. This may involve multiple professionals working in interprofessional and collaborative, person or family-centred practice. Complexity also arises in the combination of several environmental factors in the client, family, social setting, or society. In this course we will also consider complexity in terms of advanced practice area; caseload diversity, size, or service delivery model, or any combination of these factors.


Not currently offered.

Learning outcomes

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

1. Apply the World Health Organisation's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) conceptual framework and the social determinants of health to speech pathology practice for complex clients (including medical and social complexity, e.g. co-occurring diagnosis).

2. Apply new knowledge and skills to case scenarios to advance clinical practice and reasoning when working in complex clinical situations.

3. Explore previously investigated clinical domains with greater depth through integrating impairment, compensatory, and functional components in the best available evidence (EBP)

4. Demonstrate use of Competency Based Occupational Standards (CBOS) generic competencies of reasoning, communication, lifelong learning and professionalism when managing complexity in clinical cases or complexity in service delivery models.


This course will include the following topics:

  • investigation of complexity in clinical context, taking into consideration (a) medical diagnoses, speech pathology and other co-occurring diagnosis (e.g. behavioural disorders), as well as (b) other environmental factors (e.g. family situation, resources, educational, social or physical environmental factors)
  • awareness of the influence of culture (e.g. disability culture), cultural practices, and the importance of cultural safety when engaging with individuals, families, and communities
  • consideration of ethical issues related to clients with complexity and their families (e.g. vulnerable children, end of life/palliative care, advocacy and self-advocacy)


Students need to be active in B Speech Pathology (Honours) (12318) to enrol in this course. If you have successfully completed SPTH2004 cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

SPTH1080 Introduction to Speech Pathology

SPTH2101 Paediatric Speech

SPTH2102 Paediatric Language

SPTH2001 Fluency Across the Lifespan

SPTH2002 Language Literacy and Hearing

SPTH2003 Multimodal Communication Across the Lifespan

SPTH2080 Clinical Practice

SPTH3101 Adult Speech

SPTH3102 Adult Language

Assessment items

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Case 1 (25%)

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Case 2 (25%)

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Case 3 (25%)

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Case 4 (25%)