Nursing Art and Science: Acuity & Complexity

Health Sciences
Course Code
NURS 4511
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
In this course, students continue to build and refine core competencies required to care for a diverse population of clients with a range of acute and complex health challenges in a variety of contexts. Students focus on the integration and application of relevant theory and concepts through the exploration and suggested resolution of client case scenarios.
Course Content

In this course, complex conditions, co-morbidities, and deteriorating health status are the foci for discussion.  Further, the select health challenges to be explored will be guided by global, national, regional and local statistical health reports. Through critical, systematic, creative and anticipatory thinking in clinical decision-making, students will formulate appropriate plans of care while meeting professional and practice standards. Concepts and essential content that will be addressed relative to these topics are listed below. In addition, the core curriculum concepts are integrated in this course.

Health trends/issues/challenges:

  • Electrolyte abnormalities

  • Arterial blood gasses
  • Acid-base imbalances
  • Fluid resuscitation
  • Infections and wound care
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Renal failure
  • Head injury / traumatic brain injury
  • Dementia as a co-morbidity and differentiated from other disorders
  • Multi-organ dysfunction and organ failure
  • Transplant and organ donation
  • Sepsis
  • Shock (various types)
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Diabetes
    • Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)
    • Metabolic syndrome
    • Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic (non-ketotic) state (HHS and HHNS)
  • Cardiac variations and failure
    • Acute MI
    • Acute coronary syndrome
    • Electrocardiogram (ECG) arrythmias (introduction)
    • Cardiomyopathy
    • Heart failure
  • Respiratory variations and failure
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
    • Intubation
    • Tracheostomy
  • Hepatic variations and failure
    • Cirrohsis
    • Pancreatitis
    • Hepatitis

The concepts relative to health challenges to be explored include:

  • Management of deteriorating health status and codes
  • Transmission, prevention and infection control
  • Select pharmacological studies
  • Cultural competence
  • Cultural safety
  • Cultural humility
  • Transition
  • Loss
  • Death and dyiing
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Hardiness and resilience
  • Coping
  • Vulnerability
Methods Of Instruction

It is the intent of faculty to facilitate student learning, and promote critical inquiry, reflection and analytical reasoning through a variety of learning processes such as: lecture, client-based studies, problem based methods, focused reflection, computer assisted/managed instruction [web based resources], audio-visual resources, group discussion, interdisciplinary collaboration, reading guides, and concept mapping.

Means of Assessment

The course evaluation is consistent with Douglas College Evaluation Policy.  A course evaluation schedule and other course evaluation information are provided on the Instructor’s Course Outline which is available to students at the beginning of each semester.  This is a graded course. 

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Build knowledge to promote effective decision making in nursing practice to provide care that is competent, safe, ethical and compassionate and promotes health and well-being. Foundational knowledge to provide the care will be derived from knowledge of self, the profession, the health challenge case, the client and person, new knowledge, and consolidation and integration of past knowledge. 
  • Demonstrate ongoing evolution in the use of their clinical decision making in the determination of individualized focused client care.  Clinical decision-making will include the application of critical inquiry and clinical reasoning.
  • Demonstrate the application of knowledge in the planning of holistic, prioritized care for the client whose health status could encompass acuity, chronicity, complexity, unpredictability and variability.
  • Engage dynamically in the process of knowledge building through the application of the curricular core concepts.
  • Continue to evolve toward effective complex and interactional clinical reasoning and clinical decision making with the incorporation of a broad knowledge and experiential base to foster student confidence.
  • Demonstrate the ability to contribute to the transformation of nursing practice.
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students: 

A list of recommended textbooks and materials is provided on the Instructor’s Course Outline which is available to students at the beginning of each semester. 


Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for NURS 4511
There are no applicable transfer credits for this course.

Course Offerings

Summer 2022

There aren't any scheduled upcoming offerings for this course.