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Nursing Art and Science: Acuity & Complexity

Course Code: NURS 4511
Faculty: Health Sciences
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

In this next in the series of Nursing Art and Science courses, 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 next in the series of Nursing Art and Science courses, students continue to build and refine core competencies required to care for clients with a range of health challenges.  Those health challenges reflect the spectrum of acuity, chronicity, complexity, unpredictability, and palliative. Further, the select health challenges to be explored will be guided by global, national, regional and local statistical health reports.

Current health reports reveal the most prevalent health challenges include asthma, arthritis, cancer, cerebral vascular accidents, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF), diabetes, and hypertension.  These commonly occurring as well as emerging health challenges will serve as the basis for exploring the complexities and co-morbidities of the conditions presented by clients. Through critical, systematic, creative and anticipatory thinking in clinical decision-making, students will formulate appropriate plans of care while meeting the professional standards of practice.

The concepts relative to health challenges to be explored include:

  • Homeostasis
  • Stress/Adaptation
  • Acuity/Chronicity
  • Co-morbidities
  • Anticipated/Unanticipated
  • Predictability/Unpredictability
  • Variability/Stability
  • Complexity/Palliative
  • Hardiness, healing, resilience, transition, and 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.

course prerequisites

NURS 3411 NURS 3412 AND NURS 3413 AND

NURS 3415 AND NURS 3417

Students in the BSN program are required to maintain a passing grade of 65% (C+) in all courses in order to progress in the program.


NURS 4512 AND NURS 4513 AND NURS 4515

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.