Nursing (NURS) 400

Adult Health and Health Alterations (Revision 5)

NURS 400 Syllabus

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Prerequisites: This course is open only to Post LPN BN program students. BIOL 235, and Professor approval required.

Prerequisite or corequisite: NURS 250 and NURS 328.

Faculty: Faculty of Health Disciplines

NURS 400 is not available for Challenge.

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Nursing 400: Adult Health and Health Alterations builds on the foundational nursing knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology. NURS 400 provides a theoretical foundation for NURS 401: Professional Practice with Adults Experiencing Health Alterations.

The course content focus is on safe, competent, ethical nursing care with adults experiencing a wide range of acute and chronic alterations in health. The course is broken up into body systems for clear organization of content. In each study guide unit, there is an emphasis on the comprehensive understanding of the adult patient's altered health experience and associated interventions. As you work through each unit, focus on relevant health assessment data, risk factors, clinical manifestations, underlying pathophysiological processes, laboratory values, diagnostic tests, nursing and medical management, pharmacologic therapies, anticipating and monitoring for potential complications or expected patient outcomes, and relevant patient education and evaluations.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to

  • apply and integrate knowledge of health alterations, health assessment findings, underlying pathology, risk factors, and clinical manifestations within the nursing process for optimal patient health outcomes;
  • evaluate assessment data, including laboratory values and diagnostic information in regards to planning of nursing care with acute and chronically ill patients and their families;
  • determine actual and potential complications related to health alterations and recognize the role of anticipatory planning in the ongoing health assessment;
  • analyze and evaluate therapeutic interventions in the provision of safe and competent nursing care in the healthcare environment (including medication calculations);
  • demonstrate professional accountability and responsibility for one's own learning and performance evaluations throughout the course; and
  • use relevant nursing knowledge and research findings in assessing, planning, and evaluating information to provide evidence-based care to acutely and chronically ill adults and their families.

Course Structure

  • Unit 1: Health Assessment, Concept Mapping, and Medication Math
  • Unit 2: Hematology, Immunology, and Oncology Health Alterations
  • Unit 3: Respiratory Health Alterations
  • Unit 4: Cardiac and Peripheral Vascular Related Health Alterations
  • Unit 5: Musculoskeletal and Integumentary Health Alterations
  • Unit 6: Neurology Related Health Alterations: Cognition, Perception, and Sensation
  • Unit 7: Genitourinary and Gastrointestinal Health Alterations
  • Unit 8: Metabolic and Endocrine Health Alterations


To receive credit for NURS 400, you must complete and submit all the required assignments and achieve an overall grade of at least C (64 percent). You must also achieve a grade of at least 64% in both the mid-term exam and final exam to complete the course. Written submissions must follow the most current edition of the Publication Manual by the American Psychological Association ll.:

The assignments and weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting Minimum Pass Required
Assignments 1: Concept Map and Case Analysis due after Unit 4 15%  
Assignments 2: Concept Map and Case Analysis due after Unit 8 15%  
Midterm Exam: Due after Unit 5 (Course content units 2, 3, 4, and 5) 35% 64%
Final Exam: Due after completion of Unit 8 (Course content units 6, 7, 8 and medication math) 35% 64%
Total 100% 64%

The midterm and final examinations for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

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

Course Materials

Required Course Textbook

Paul, P., Day, R.A. & Williams, B. (2016). Brunner & Suddarth's Canadian Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing (3rd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Health.

The required learning activities in this course use Brunner and Suddarth's Canadian Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing as a primary source of information. There are multiple online student resources located in thePoint® associated with the course textbook. Instructions for accessing these resources can be found on the inside front cover of the textbook

Other Materials

A variety of electronic resources and websites are used in the course and paper copies are not included in the course package.

Recommended Online Resources

It is recommended that you purchase one online study resource that contains NCLEX style adaptive learning (mastery) quizzes (will be explained in course introduction and Unit 1). The chosen resource should include NCLEX alternate style questions, such as “select all that apply.” Students are advised to choose between two recommended resources:

  • Lippincott's NCLEX-RN PassPoint online comprehensive preparation resource. Passpoint contains NCLEX style questions from all nursing areas. Refer to NCLEX RN Information Module in Moodle for more information and discount codes.
  • Lippincott's Paul: Canadian Medical Surgical Prep U

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.

Open in Revision 5, Oct 12, 2018.

View previous syllabus