Undergraduate Courses: Inherent Requirements

These Inherent requirements apply to the following courses:

  • H326 Bachelor of Nursing
  • H329 Bachelor of Nursing (Clinical Leadership)
  • D355 Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Midwifery
  • D381 Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Public Health and Health Promotion
  • D387 Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Psychological Science

The School of Nursing and Midwifery strongly supports the rights of all people who wish to pursue a nursing or midwifery course to achieve their potential and career objectives. The School is committed to making reasonable adjustments to teaching and learning, assessment, clinical practice and other activities to address the impact of students' disabilities so that they are able to participate in their course. To support potential and current students’ decision making, the School has developed a series of inherent requirement statements set out in this document. These statements specify essential duties and capabilities required of students when enrolled in an undergraduate nursing and midwifery course. Students must be able to perform these inherent requirements in order to be admitted into and progress through their course.

Health care is one of the most important priorities for populations worldwide, and nurses and midwives play a pivotal role in delivering safe, effective health care. The School of Nursing and Midwifery’s undergraduate courses prepare students for practice within a range of health care settings and equip students with evidence‐based knowledge and skills to adequately care for patients with a variety of complex illnesses. The Bachelor of Nursing and combined courses offered by the School are accredited by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council and fulfil the registration requirements for Registered Nurse of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (and Registered Midwife, if the Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Midwifery is completed). It is a requirement of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) that all students enrolled in the nursing courses hold Student Registration with the Board. See link to NMBA.

To protect the public from the risk of harm, education providers must report concerns about registered students when they have a ‘reasonable belief’ that a student has an impairment that, when undertaking clinical training, may place the public at substantial risk of harm. This is a legal requirement under the National Law. Please refer to Guidelines:  Mandatory notifications about registered students.

Essential knowledge, skills and capabilities are required to successfully complete the undergraduate nursing courses, and to practice safely as a registered nurse or midwife. Nursing and midwifery students are required to participate in a range of teaching and learning activities: seminars, skill and clinical simulation sessions, working in groups, on‐line activities, and clinical placements.

Compulsory clinical placements account for approximately 50 per cent of the course. Students are required to undertake blocks of clinical placement throughout their course. Placement blocks occur as continuous days of placement for a duration of between 2 – 5 weeks. Student performance on each clinical placement is assessed and must be passed. Clinical placements require students to provide direct patient care, as members of a multidisciplinary team. Therefore, a wide range of functional abilities are essential for the delivery of quality and safe patient care during these clinical placements.

1. Physical and motor function

Nursing and Midwifery practice requires the use of physical, visual, and auditory functions to provide safe and quality patient care. Students must possess adequate gross and fine motor coordination, dexterity, and tactile function to fully participate in the learning and assessment activities of the courses. Some examples where these functions are required include: using a range of information technologies, participating in practical skill‐based simulations and undertaking placements in a range of clinical settings.

Students are required to complete accurate assessments for safe patient care, including conducting a detailed physical assessment of a patient, and to implement safe care. Some specific examples include:

  • Students need to have adequate hearing and vision that enables identification of subtle patient changes (eg. change in skin tones, assessing slow pupillary reaction to direct light, interpreting x‐ rays, hearing subtle wheezing, hearing slight changes in the frequency of sounds when using a stethoscope, hearing patient bells/buzzers/voice).
  • Palpating to detect abnormalities (eg. feeling subtle temperature alterations of the skin, vibration, differences in texture).
  • Students must be able to manipulate and effectively use a range of equipment accurately with both left and right hands simultaneously. For example, measuring blood pressure requires the use of a stethoscope and a sphygmomanometer. Students must be able to see and accurately read fine increments on the gauge of the sphygmomanometer and hear discrete changes in sounds through the stethoscope for accurate measurement.
  • Students hearing and/or visual capabilities must adequately allow for response to equipment alarms and patient calls or subtle physical cues for assistance.

Students must also be able to perform a number of key clinical interventions, including but not limited to:

  • manual handling (moving and transferring dependent patients; pushing/pulling beds and theatre trollies),
  • donning full protective personal equipment if required, including but not limited to wearing of face masks,
  • performing basic life support including chest compressions,
  • assisting with personal care regardless of gender or sexual identity (eg. toileting, showering, grooming, mouth care),
  • accurately documenting findings on a range of charts including electronic devices,
  • preparing and administering injections, venepuncture and insertion of an intravenous cannula, procedural hand‐washing, complex wound dressings, and insertion of a urinary catheter.

2. Communication and interpersonal skills

Nursing and midwifery practice requires advanced oral and written communication skills. Nurses and midwives need to communicate effectively, sensitively and be non‐judgemental with patients/clients, relatives and carers irrespective of age, ethnicity, culture, disability, sexual orientation, socio‐economic status, or religious beliefs. Students need to be able to complete physical examinations and provide care to all patients regardless of gender identity or sexuality. An ability to gather, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information by verbal, written, pictorial and non‐verbal means of communication is essential for quality and safe patient care. Students must be able to comprehend spoken English at conversational speeds and follow verbal directions in high‐pressure situations, at times in busy and noisy environments. Nurses and midwives must also be capable of delivering concise, comprehensible written and verbal advice to patients, relatives, carers and members of the health care team.

Students must have the ability to interact and work effectively within seminar groups, simulation classes or in a professional health care team on clinical placement. Students must maintain professional relationships with all colleagues and patients/clients and manage workloads under stressful circumstances. Students must have an awareness of other peoples’ emotions and be able to perceive another’s distress, as this may impact on quality and safe patient care.

Students should be able to recognise situations where their own emotional or physical state precludes delivery of effective patient care.

3. Learning skills

The course is demanding and requires cognitive skills to solve complex problems. Students must be able to work collaboratively during the course (e.g. undertaking group work assignments, working within a team in seminars/simulations and during clinical placement). Nursing and midwifery practice requires the ability to conduct comprehensive and focused assessments, plan, implement and evaluate nursing care. This requires an ability to analyse, synthesise and evaluate complex oral, written, and visual information.

4. Professional attitudes and behaviours

Nursing and Midwifery professionals are bound by Codes of Ethics and Professional Conduct Codes School of Nursing and Midwifery courses include a strong emphasis on professional attitudes and behaviour and ethical practice. Course progression is contingent on meeting requirements of appropriate professional attitudes and behaviour consistent with the Codes.

5. Behavioural stability

Behavioural stability is required to function and adapt effectively and sensitively. Students will be exposed to changing and unpredictable environments, emergency situations, and human suffering and will be required to have sustained behavioural stability to manage these events objectively and professionally. Students will be required to be receptive and respond appropriately to constructive feedback and will have to manage their own emotions and behaviour effectively when dealing with individuals in clinical settings.

The guiding values of the School:

The School’s commitment to personal and professional integrity is reflected in its research and teaching.

The guiding values are respect, honesty, trustworthiness, accountability, collegiality and professionalism.

The School expects students to consistently uphold these values when representing Deakin University.

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