NSB606 Palliative Care Nursing

To view more information for this unit, select Unit Outline from the list below. Please note the teaching period for which the Unit Outline is relevant.

Unit Outline: Semester 1 2024, Kelvin Grove, Internal

Unit code:NSB606
Credit points:12
Pre-requisite:Successful completion of 144cp including NSB131
Coordinator:Jane Phillips | jane.phillips@qut.edu.au
Disclaimer - Offer of some units is subject to viability, and information in these Unit Outlines is subject to change prior to commencement of the teaching period.


Palliative care is an increasingly important part of our healthcare system. The health and support needs of those who are dying are diverse and often change over time. To respond effectively to these needs, nurses must have knowledge and skills to provide a palliative approach to care. In this unit, students will extend their knowledge of the needs of those diagnosed with various life-limiting illnesses. The unit will enable students to develop further understanding of the core components of palliative care for these people. It will extend the understandings developed in other theoretical studies and experiences in clinical practice.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit you will be able to:

  1. Discuss the influence of social and cultural contexts on community perceptions about death, dying, and bereavement in contemporary society
  2. Reflect critically on how a person's values and beliefs about death and dying affect personal and professional responses and interactions with people with life-limiting illnesses and their families
  3. Demonstrate the ability to critically apply relevant palliative care principles to the assessment and evidence-based clinical decision making for people with life-limiting illnesses.
  4. Discuss strategies for facilitating collaborative decision-making about care goals with people with life-limiting illnesses and their families
  5. Demonstrate the ability to apply principles of communication to selected client situations involving people with life-limiting illnesses and their families


Concepts addressed in this unit include, but are not limited to: social and cultural attitudes to dying and death; reflection and self-evaluation of one's professional and personal experiences and their impact on the self and others; models and standards for delivering palliative care services; principles for communication in the context of an individual's responses to loss and grief, existential challenges, uncertainty, and changing goals of care; human and clinical responses to life-limiting illness; illness trajectories; principles for assessment and management of clinical and supportive care needs of people with life-limiting conditions; and optimising function for people with life-limiting conditions.

Learning Approaches

In this unit, you will participate in interactive web-based learning activities as well as seminars. Four specific modules, each based around a theme integral to developing the desired graduate capabilities and supported by a case study, provide the structure for the web-based learning activities. These modules include:

  • Principles of palliative care
  • Communicating with people who have a life-limiting illness
  • Assessing and managing symptoms in palliative care
  • Optimising function in palliative care.

The four modules are accompanied by supplementary text-based learning materials and teaching resources. The assessment is also a key learning activity and is an integral part of the overall approach to teaching and learning. You will have access to academic staff who will be available in person (during consultation times) and/or by email.

Feedback on Learning and Assessment

Feedback and guidance on your progress will be provided in class on an individual basis as required.



There are two summative assessments to be completed in this unit.

Unit Grading Scheme

7- point scale

Assessment Tasks

Assessment: Journal

You will be required to submit a journal that includes responses to selected learning activities incorporated throughout the web-based learning resource. The learning activities have been designed to require you to think critically about particular palliative care issues, and review concepts and principles related to caring for people with life-limiting conditions. The learning activities also emphasise the importance of reflection on the factors influencing responses of yourself and others to the experiences and concepts being studied. Students will be required to incorporate relevant literature and other materials as appropriate in preparing their responses to the learning activities to demonstrate their understanding of the evidence in the field.

This is an assignment for the purposes of an extension.

Weight: 40
Individual/Group: Individual
Due (indicative): Mid semester
Related Unit learning outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Assessment: Case Study

You will develop a care plan for a selected case study. Your assignment should demonstrate your ability to understand the experience of the person with a diagnosis of a life-limiting condition, and demonstrate an evidence-based approach to assessment and clinical decision making for this person's care. You will need to think critically and creatively about the selected health needs of the person, and review concepts and principles related to palliative care. The emphasis is on a clear understanding of the individual's palliative needs and the context of care. Your work should demonstrate an evidence-based approach: using relevant literature, systematic reviews, clinical care guidelines, and other materials, as appropriate. You will need to use the CINAHL, Medline and Meditext databases, Cochrane library (as a minimum) to retrieve information.

This is an assignment for the purposes of an extension.

Weight: 60
Individual/Group: Individual
Due (indicative): End semester
Related Unit learning outcomes: 3, 4, 5

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to engage in learning and assessment at QUT with honesty, transparency and fairness. Maintaining academic integrity means upholding these principles and demonstrating valuable professional capabilities based on ethical foundations.

Failure to maintain academic integrity can take many forms. It includes cheating in examinations, plagiarism, self-plagiarism, collusion, and submitting an assessment item completed by another person (e.g. contract cheating). It can also include providing your assessment to another entity, such as to a person or website.

You are encouraged to make use of QUT’s learning support services, resources and tools to assure the academic integrity of your assessment. This includes the use of text matching software that may be available to assist with self-assessing your academic integrity as part of the assessment submission process.

Further details of QUT’s approach to academic integrity are outlined in the Academic integrity policy and the Student Code of Conduct. Breaching QUT’s Academic integrity policy is regarded as student misconduct and can lead to the imposition of penalties ranging from a grade reduction to exclusion from QUT.


Resource Materials

Recommended text(s)

Chang, E., & Johnson, A. (2018). Living with Chronic Illness and Disability: Principles for nursing practice, (3rd Ed). Elsevier

Risk Assessment Statement

If you are distressed by issues explored in the content of this unit you should approach academic staff or consult the university counselling service. You will be made aware of evacuation procedures and assembly areas in the first lectures. In the event of a fire alarm sounding, or on a lecturer's instruction, you should leave the room and assemble in the designated area which will be indicated to you. You should be conscious of your health and safety at all times while on campus. More information on health and safety can be obtained from http://www.hse.qut.edu.au/.