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NSC1500 Biophysical Sciences in Nursing

Semester 1, 2012 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Sciences
School or Department : Biological & Physical Sciences
Version produced : 30 December 2013

Contents on this page


Examiner: Bernadette McCabe
Moderator: Alfio Parisi


The purpose of this course is to assist students to understand the physics, chemistry, and biochemistry relevant to the functioning of the healthy human body. It also provides an understanding of basic microbiology and immunology from a clinical perspective, outlining the nature of the infectious process and its control.


This course contains the basic chemistry, biochemistry and physics necessary for understanding the functioning of the healthy human body and for nursing practice. It provides an introduction to the significance of microbes to human health and the fundamentals of infection control practice in the health care setting. The nature of infectious agents, mechanisms of pathogenicity and modes of microbial control are also investigated.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a knowledge of the principles of optics and acoustics as related to the eyes and ears;
  2. utilise an understanding of the scientific basis of therapeutic and diagnostic devices used in health care settings;
  3. demonstrate an understanding of basic chemical concepts with particular reference to chemical processes found within the healthy human body;
  4. describe the structure and functions of cells and their processes at the molecular level;
  5. demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental nature of viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites and explain the relevance of microbes to human disease;
  6. demonstrate an understanding of the fundamentals of controlling infections in a hospital setting and the relationship between infectious disease and patient immunological status.


Description Weighting(%)
1. PHYSICS: The metric system and measurement; Physics of human vision and hearing; Mechanics and heat as related to human function and therapeutic equipment; Electricity and its therapeutic application including safety; Gas laws including pressure, volume and temperature relationships. 21.00
2. CHEMISTRY: Nomenclature; Atomic theory, radiation and its therapeutic applications; Bonding; Chemical quantities, equations, reactions and equilibria; Solutions, Acids, bases and buffers. 23.00
3. BIOCHEMISTRY: Properties of biological molecules - Proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and lipids; Enzymes, major metabolic pathways and biosynthetic processes; the cell membrane - Diffusion, osmosis, filtration and dialysis. 25.00
4. MICROBIOLOGY AND IMMUNOLOGY: Introduction to the bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites; Concepts in controlling microbes; An overview of the human immune system; Concepts in infectious diseases and pathogenesis; Nosocomial infections; Epidemiology; Infection control. 31.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • McCabe, B 2012, Instructional guide - Course NSC1500 Biophysical sciences in nursing, USQ Publication, Toowoomba.
  • McCabe, B, and Parisi A (Compilers) 2012, Biophysical Sciences: Physics, chemistry, biochemistry and microbiology/immunology for nurses, 2nd edn, Pearson, Sydney, Australia.
    (ISBN: 9781442562035.)
  • McCabe, B, Douglas, L and Parisi, A 2012, Ready, Set, Go Pre-study package supporting NSC1500 Biophysical Sciences in Nursing.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Bettelheim, FA, Brown, WH & March, J 2007, Introduction to general, organic and biochemistry, 8th edn, Harcourt Brace College, Fort Worth.
  • Cree, L & Rischmiller, S 2001, Science in nursing, 4th edn, Harcourt Australia, Sydney.
  • Marieb, EN and Hoehn, K 2010, Human anatomy and physiology, 8th edn, Benjamin Cummings, Menlo Park, Ca.
  • Strube, P 2003, Body works: physics and chemistry for nurses, 2nd edn, Pearson Education Australia, Frenchs Forest, Sydney, NSW.
  • Timberlake, K 2006, Chemistry: An introduction to general, organic and biological chemistry, 9th edn, Pearson/Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Examinations 3.00
Lectures 36.00
Private Study 120.00
Tutorials or Workshops 12.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
QUIZ 1 - PHYSICS (Open Book) 24 7 19 Mar 2012
QUIZ 2 - CHEMISTRY (Open Book) 24 7 23 Apr 2012
PTA Open Bk Phy/Chem CMA TEST 50 30 30 Apr 2012 (see note 1)
PTB OpenBk Phy/Chem S/ANS TEST 15 5 30 Apr 2012 (see note 2)
QUIZ 3 - BIOCHEM (Open Book) 24 7 14 May 2012
QUIZ 4 - MICROB/IMMUN (Open B) 24 9 11 Jun 2012
PT A OF RESTRICTED EXAM (CMA) 50 30 End S1 (see note 3)
PT B OF RESTRICTED S/ANS EXAM 15 5 End S1 (see note 4)

  1. Examiner to advise details of open book test (Part A). Part A - 1.5hr Short Answer Test - Phy & Chem.
  2. Examiner to advise details of open book test (Part B). Part B - 1.5hr Short Answer Test - Phy & Chem.
  3. Examination dates will be available during the Semester. Please refer to the examination timetable when published. Part A 1.5 hr exam - Biochem.& Micro.
  4. Examination dates will be available during the Semester. Please refer to the examination timetable when published. Part B 1.5hr exam - Biochem.& Micro.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as tutorials and workshops) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. To maximize their chances of satisfying the objectives of the tutorial component of the course, students should attend and actively participate in the tutorial sessions in the course.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course).

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    There are no assignments in this course.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    Students are allowed access to specific materials during a Restricted Examination. The only materials that a candidate may use in a restricted examination for this course are: calculators which cannot hold textual information (students must indicate on their examination paper the make and model of any calculator(s) they use during examination). Students whose first language is not English, may, take an appropriate unmarked non-electronic translation dictionary (but not technical dictionary) into the examination. Dictionaries with any handwritten notes will not be permitted. Translation dictionaries will be subject to perusal and may be removed from the candidate's possession until appropriate disciplinary action is completed if found to contain material that could give the candidate an unfair advantage.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held in the second week of the semester following this course offering and the examiner will advise students involved in writing of the date time and location of any such examination.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Students who do not perform satisfactorily in the quizzes or in an examination, may, at the discretion of the Examiner, be granted a supplementary examination. Students will be granted a deferred examination only if they complete and perform satisfactorily in all other assessment items.

  2. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.