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NUR3020 Transition to Professional Practice

Semester 3, 2013 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Sciences
School or Department : Nursing and Midwifery
Version produced : 21 July 2014

Contents on this page


Examiner: Helen Nutter
Moderator: Melissa Taylor


Pre-requisite: NUR1099 and NUR2199 and NUR2499 and NUR1140 and NUR1200 and NUR2000 and NUR2200 and NUR2100 and NUR2400 and NUR2800 and NSC2500 and Students must be enrolled in the BNUR Program

Other requisites

Recommended prior study NUR2499 and NUR3599 and NSC2500.

A student must receive a passing grade in this course; it is not available for a conceded pass.


Transition to professional practice is best embraced as a challenging opportunity. This course is intended to assist the student to make a successful transition from student to registered nurse within ethico-legal parameters. Contemporary professional practice mandates that students comprehend their 'Scope of Practice' in order to practice within its parameters. To achieve this, students will have the opportunity to critically analyse the 'Scope of Practice' and related concepts including role boundaries, role conflict, role expansion, continuous competency assessment and 'Codes of Conduct' during this course. In addition this course aims to clarify the challenging and complex process of 'transition to practice' by reinforcing the relationship between professional knowledge and clinical experience. The reflective skills extended in this course will enable students to critique and clarify professional knowledge and how such knowledge is situated in relation to clinical experience. Importantly the course will highlight the learning opportunities available in a constantly changing workplace, and model a process of lifelong learning for professional development.


This course will draw upon knowledge from both first and second year courses and introduce professional development concepts aimed at student transition into the practice environment. As such students are required to consider, value and interpret practice through exploration of how knowledge is used to inform professional practice issues, problems and incidents. Critical skills will be developed by students through the process of critical reflection. As such, concepts covered during the semester will be analysed through a critical reflective framework which will be applied to practice and professional development situations. The course content will expand the ethico-legal aspects of nursing practice introduced in previous courses. Concepts include ethical decision making, 'Code of Conduct' and the legal parameters for nurses in clinical practice. In addition, perspectives of transition to professional practice will be discussed and analysed. Concepts include, work expectations, critical review of the role of evidence for practice, Scope of Practice, role conflict, and role boundaries, reflection on practice, "caring for self", the role of the nurse in health care, developing a professional portfolio and strategies to support lifelong learning.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. critically apply relevant legal and ethical principles to future health care practice situations; (ANMC Competency 1.1; 2.1)
  2. explore client issues and incidents that can pose as ethical and or legal dilemmas;(ANMC Competency 1.1; 2.1)
  3. interpret, analyse and apply the Scope of Practice to practice situations; (ANMC Competency 2.5)
  4. engage in critical discussion which explores the relationship between work expectations, role conflict and role boundaries; (ANMC Competency 2.1; 2.5)
  5. critically analyse feedback from colleagues, evidenced based research and theoretical knowledge to support and advance professional development and personal accountability; (ANMC Competency 3.1; 3.3; 3.5)
  6. critically discuss strategies to facilitate the transition to professional practice for beginning Registered Nurses; (ANMC Competency 4.2)
  7. examine the elements, purpose and value of developing a professional profile;
  8. construct a personal framework and plan for reflective practice and lifelong learning. (ANMC Competency 4.2)


Description Weighting(%)
1. Law Module - the tradition of law in Australia; the development of common law, equity and statute; the court system in the Australian Federation; legal parameters of nursing clinical practice and research, informed consent, negligence, vicarious liability, code of conduct. 40.00
2. Ethics Module - fundamentals of ethics; ethical decision making; models of ethical decision making; ethical principles; code of ethics for nurses; ethical clinical practice, advocacy, problem solving ethical dilemmas. 30.00
3. Preparing For Role Transition Module - Reflection; reflective practice and becoming a critical reflective practitioner; transition from student to registered nurse, "caring for self", establishing a professional profile, dealing with work culture and the complexities of work life, incorporating evidence for practice decision making, , the theory practice gap, scope of practice, including role conflict, role boundaries and the principles of delegation, and lifelong learning. 30.00

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. (

  • Chang, E & Daly, J 2012, Transitions in nursing: Preparing for professional practice, 3rd edn, Elsevier, Sydney, N.S.W.
  • Instructional Guide 2012, Course NUR3020 - Transition to professional practice, USQ Publications, Toowoomba.
    (Available study desk online.)
  • Johnstone, M 2009, Bioethics a nursing perspective, Churchill Livingstone, Sydney.
    (Highly recommended.)
  • Staunton, P & Chiarella, M 2008, Nursing and the law, 6th edn, Churchill Livingstone, Sydney.
    (Highly recommended.)
  • Highly recommended texts which should be accessed from the library (optional to buy these).

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.
  • Andre, K & Hartfield 2007, Professional portfolios, Churchill Livingstone, Sydney.
  • Atkins, K, Britton, B & De Lacey, S 2011, Ethics and law for Australian nurses, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne.
  • Australian Health Practitioner Registration Authority 2011, (AHPRA),
  • Berglund, C 2012, Ethics for health care, Oxford, Sydney.
  • Chiarella, M 2003, The legal and professional status of nursing, Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh.
  • Edge, RS & Groves, JR 2005, Ethics of health care, a guide for clinical practice, 3rd edn, Thomson Delmar Learning, New York.
  • Fedoruk, M & Hofmeyer, A 2012, Becoming a nurse: Transition to practice, Oxford, Melbourne.
  • Forrester, K & Griffiths, D 2009, Essentials of law for health professionals, 3rd edn, Elsevier, Sydney.
  • Haynes, LC, Butcher, HK & Boese, TA 2004, Nursing in contemporary society: issues, trends and transition to practice, Pearson/Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
  • Kerridge, I, McPhee, J, & Lowe, M 2009, Ethics and law for the health professions, Federation Press, Annandale, NSW.
  • Meleis, A 2007, Theoretical nursing: development and progress, 4th edn, Lippincott, Philadelphia.
  • Melnyk, B & Fineout-Overholt, E 2005, Evidenced- based practice in nursing and healthcare: A guide to best practice, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Philadelphia.
  • Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia 2010, Codes and Guidelines, viewed 09 July 2012,
  • Sullivan, E 2004, Becoming influential a guide for nurses, Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
  • The above AHPRA Nursing and Midwifery Board Australia (NMBA) link site provides direct access to the following documents: 1. Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct , 2. Competency Standards, 3. Professional Practice Guidelines, 4. Decision Making Framework, 5. Professional Boundaries.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Online Exercises 30.00
Private Study 122.00
Workshops 8.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 50 50 16 Dec 2013
ASSIGNMENT 2 - CASE STUDY 50 50 21 Jan 2014

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities 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.

  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. (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:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded. No assignments will be accepted after model answers have been posted.

  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. Note that a conceded pass is not available in this course due to accreditation requirements of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.

  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:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    There will be no Deferred or Supplementary examinations in this course.

  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. In accordance with University Policy, the examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. If requested, students will be required to provide a copy of assignments submitted for assessment purposes. Such copies should be despatched to USQ within 24 hours of receipt of a request being made.

  3. All assessment items must be submitted by electronic submission using EASE . Refer to your Course Study Guide and course website on Study Desk for submission details. Times and dates refer to Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).

  4. Where a student has failed to achieve a passing grade by 5% or less of the aggregated weighted marks or equivalent in the grading scale, the examiner in agreement with the moderator will consider recommending to the Board of Examiners the undertaking of supplementary assessment by the student, if the student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment for the course. A conceded pass is not available in this course.

  5. International students must attend all activities scheduled for them and ensure that their attendance is registered with the staff member in charge of the activity.