BNurs Mental Health Nursing / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Shaping Nurses Recognition and Response to Serious Illness

Course unit fact file
Unit code NURS41002
Credit rating 15
Unit level Level 4
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


Drawing on a person centred approach, this Unit aims to provide child, adult and mental health field student nurses with the opportunity to enhance their knowledge to recognise risk, identify early signs and respond safely to serious illness of patients in their care.


This Unit recognises the centrality of registered nurses in improving the quality and safety of patient care. Students will be provided the opportunity to enhance their knowledge to recognise risk, identify early signs and respond safely to serious illness of patients in their care. Following completion of this unit the newly qualified nurse will integrate the knowledge, skill and competence into their practice enabling them to improve the quality and safety of patient care outcomes relevant to their field of nursing.

Teaching and learning methods

This Unit focuses on developing student nurses’ understanding about the centrality of their role in ensuring high quality, safe patient care. Intended learning outcomes (ILO’s) for this unit will enable students to develop a broad critical understanding of their role in care delivery and how the wider context of care has impact. Students will analyse and critically evaluate the factors that influence care delivery where care went well and where things go wrong. The concept of constructive alignment is used to ensure ILO ‘s are configured to link with relevant theoretical concepts, evidence bases, policy and legislation, all incorporated in the indicative content.
The assessment strategy is designed to include all ILO’s. The poster presentation will require students to synthesise and distil their work in an aesthetically compelling format to communicate their knowledge and understanding. This will link an episode of care in their field of practice with the ILO’s and foster critical reflexivity and the application of concepts and theory covered in the indicative content.
 The oral presentation of their work to peers and lecturers in smaller groups aims to develop students’ confidence and comportment in a supportive small group environment of peers and lecturers. This is an important foundation for their role as a qualified nurse where good oral communication skills are required to advocate for patient care.
Examples of indicative pedagogical methods;
Blended learning
Work based learning
Poster design
Presentation skills
Small group face to face sessions

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate critical application of concepts, approaches and contextual factors that impact the registered nurse’s ability to recognise risk, early signs and responses to patient deterioration in health
  • Demonstrate comprehensive understanding of the common investigations and diagnostics utilised in their field of practice to aid recognition/ diagnosis of serious illness and patient deterioration
  • Examine critically how culture and infrastructure influences individual nurses and teams’ ability to think and strategize patient care delivery
  • Critically evaluate the impact of current local, national and international reports, policy, legislation and guidelines in recognising and responding to serious illness
  • Evaluate critically professional accountability, ethical and legal issues relevant to safe clinical nursing practice with attention to consent, confidentiality and safeguarding

Intellectual skills

  • Demonstrate critical awareness of the issues and problems informed by internship /practice at the cutting edge of nursing practice
  • Demonstrate the ability to think originally and creatively to solve problems in the context of incomplete patient data/ information
  • Demonstrate a critical knowledge and competency of information systems and their applicability to delivering safe effective care

Practical skills

Demonstrate the transition from competent to proficient in the following as part of a preceptory internship:

  • Proficient in in history taking and assessment of the patient to include interpersonal communication with the child/ adult, their family and the multidisciplinary team
  • Demonstrate high level analytical capabilities in safe and effective clinical judgement, critical thinking and utilise evidence-based practice in the formation of nursing decisions related to managing a patient’s condition
  • Comprehensive practical understanding and proficiency in nursing skills required for patient assessment
  • Comprehensive understanding of the common investigations and diagnostics utilised in their field of practice to aid recognition/ diagnosis of serious illness and patient deterioration
  • Show initiative, situational awareness and conceptualise differing approaches in unpredictable situations based on previous experiences
  • Demonstrate an increasing level of professional maturity

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Think and act critically
  • Employ the therapeutic use of self to protect and promote the wellbeing of all patients always
  • Demonstrate effective written and oral communication conveying with clarity the urgency and nature of a required response
  • Be person-centred, compassionate and empathetic when communicating with distressed patients, families and colleagues

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Oral assessment/presentation 100%

Feedback methods

Students will normally have the opportunity to receive feedback on formative work submitted prior to the summative assessment. Other feedback opportunities will also be available in class and online discussion boards. Online feedback is provided in Grademark. Provisional feedback based on internal marking will be made available prior to the Exam Board on the basis that these marks are yet to be ratified at the Exam Board and therefore may be subject to change. A standard feedback mechanism in Grademark is utilised across all postgraduate programmes within the School which provides detailed and constructive feedback on each component and aspect of assessment and identifies areas of strength and those aspects which could be enhanced.

Student feedback is obtained through open discussion forums on blackboard, in class discussions, via formal University unit evaluation forms and also qualitative, in house evaluations at the end of the unit. 

Recommended reading

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment practical exam 10
Practical classes & workshops 14
Project supervision 2
Seminars 12
Tutorials 2
Work based learning 40
Independent study hours
Independent study 70

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Samantha Rogers Unit coordinator

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