Nursing (NURS) 435

Professional Practice in Community Mental Health Promotion (Revision 4)

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Delivery Mode: Paced study online with real-time synchronous elements

Credits: 6

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Prerequisite: This course is only open to Post-LPN BN program students.  NURS 436 and Professor approval is required.

Faculty: Faculty of Health Disciplines

Centre: Centre for Nursing and Health Studies

NURS 435 is not available for Challenge.

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**Note: Please consult the Centre for Nursing and Health Studies website for the most recent information relating to clinical course registration and start dates. Online course materials cannot be accessed before your course contract start date.


Nursing 435: Professional Practice in Community Mental Health Promotion This 16-week paced online clinical course provides opportunities to integrate theory and develop further skills related to community health promotion with a focus on individuals, families and groups experiencing mental health alterations. Consideration will be given to mental health promotion with vulnerable aggregates and recognition of psychiatric mental health disorders that emerge across the lifespan. Opportunities to apply nursing assessment skills, such as mental status examination, and nursing intervention strategies such as therapeutic communication will be facilitated. A current snapshot of the field of psychiatric nursing, including both current practice and future research possibilities will be presented. A major focus of the course is a community health and mental health promotion project. Nursing 435 is a six-credit course.

In terms of skill development, NURS 435 provides you with practice opportunities using a variety of online tools and experiential activities. Some of these practice opportunities will use Adobe Connect. Adobe Connect is a real-time program that allows course participants (students and instructors) to see and hear one another using a computer equipped with a speaker/microphone and camera. Unit 1 includes a learning activity that guides you through set-up and use of Adobe Connect. This activity also provides you with an opportunity to use Adobe Connect to meet your instructor and classmates “face to face” in real-time.

There are several times during this course when you will be required to participate in mandatory real-time experiential learning activities on Adobe Connect in order to pass NURS 435. The exact dates and times for these mandatory real-time experiential learning activities will be set at the beginning of the course with the course instructor. Participation in these mandatory real-time experiential learning activities is a graded element of the course. A pass in the mandatory real-time experiential learning activities is required to pass NURS 435.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of NURS 435, students will achieve or exceed the following learning outcomes:

  • Critically examine the unmet mental health needs, across the lifespan, of clients, families, and groups within the community;
  • Recognize acute symptoms of mental illness that require urgent intervention;
  • Explore mental health conditions related to mood, thought, and behaviour;
  • Construct assessment, screening and referral documentation relevant to a variety of disciplines and health care contexts;
  • Understand selected therapeutic approaches currently implemented by nurses and other members of mental health care teams;
  • Reflect upon the stigma and barriers that exist within the field of mental health;
  • Analyze the implications of addiction for individuals, families and the community;
  • Actively incorporate mental health promotion into practice in the workplace as well as with vulnerable aggregates;
  • Pose research questions that remain unanswered both in your personal learning and in the profession of psychiatric mental health nursing; and
  • Comply with the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) Entry-to-Practice Competencies (May, 2013).

Course Structure

Section 1: Overview of Mental Health Alterations

  • Unit 1: Introductions: Getting to Know One Another
  • Unit 2: Mental Health Disorders and Societal Issues

Section 2: Assessment, Screening, and Relational Practice

  • Unit 3: Assessment Skills and Screening Tools
  • Unit 4: Affective Change: Understanding the Lived Experience of Mental Illness
  • Unit 5: Relational Practice, Interviewing Skills, History Taking and Functional Assessment

Section 3: Interventions

  • Unit 6: Psychopharmacology, Electro Convulsive Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Neuroplasticity and Legal Considerations

Section 4: Community Health and Mental Health Promotion Project

  • Unit 7: Assessing and Analyzing Impact of the Determinants of Health on Mental Health Treatment, Supports, and Recovery

Section 5: Reflections on Mental Health Practice and Me

  • Unit 8: Attitudes toward Mental Illness, Stigma, Vulnerable Populations
  • Unit 9: Continued Self-Assessment and Self-Directed Learning Related to Knowledge Gaps in Community Mental Health Practice


NURS 435 is graded on a Pass/Fail basis. To receive credit for NURS 435, all practice and assignment requirements must be successfully completed and submitted. Effective January 1, 2010, all papers submitted must follow the guidelines of the APA Publication Manual (6th ed.) (2010).

The required assignments are as follows:

Quiz Community Health and Mental Health Promotion Project Real-Time Seminars Skills Demonstations Forum participation
(Minumum 80% to Pass) Pass/Fail Pass/Fail Pass/Fail Pass/Fail

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Austin, W. & Boyd, M.A. (2014). Psychiatric and mental health nursing for Canadian practice. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Health.

Other Materials

A number of additional resources (print, audio, and video) are accessed online through your AU student access.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 4, November 11, 2015.

View previous syllabus

Updated August 25 2016 by Student & Academic Services