Nursing (NURS) 519

Advanced Pathophysiology for Clinical Decision Making


Delivery Mode: Paced/home-study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Precluded Course: NURS 519 cannot be taken for credit if credit has been obtained for NURS 516 or NURS 517

Faculty: Faculty of Health Disciplines

Centre: Centre for Nursing and Health Studies


Nursing 519: Advanced Pathophysiology for Clinical Decision Making is a course in a program of study leading to the Master of Nursing degree or the Post Master's Diploma: Advanced Nursing Practice. NURS 519 is a prerequisite course for NURS 518, NURS 522, NURS 524, NURS 526 and NURS 528. NURS 519 can be taken as an elective course by other Master of Nursing or Master of Health Studies students and by non-program students.

NURS 519 provides students with an understanding of pathophysiology that will support clinical decision making about diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic presentations commonly managed by nurse practitioners. The course is comprised of three sections. In Part I: An Overview of Pathophysiological Variations, students review cellular biology and the cellular environment and the processes of inflammatory/infectious responses. Students then examine the cellular biology of cancer and cancerous metastases. In Part II: Pathophysiological Variations of Body Systems, students study the pathophysiology of alterations of each body system and apply what they have learned to clinical scenarios depicting client presentations that students are likely to encounter in their clinical placements and in their practices as entry-level nurse practitioners.

NURS 519 is designed as an introduction to the use of pathophysiology to support clinical decision making. The content of NURS 519 is supported by other courses in the Advanced Nursing Practice program that teach management of common acute and chronic diseases of adult men and women, children, and older adults.

Course Goals

After completing this course, students should be able to:

  1. explain pathophysiological processes leading to clinical manifestations of common acute and chronic diseases;
  2. apply their understanding of pathophysiological processes to support clinical decisions about the diagnosis of common acute and chronic diseases;
  3. recognize variations of pathophysiological processes in pediatric and geriatric clients; and
  4. explain factors influencing the incidence and manifestation of diseases in populations.

Course Materials

NURS 519 comprises online and print-based course materials.

Online Materials

  • Introduction: Provides essential information about the course materials, the design of the course, and the procedures you should follow to complete the course successfully.
  • Schedule: Outlines the timing of course activities.
  • Units: There are 13 units in this course.
  • Assessment: Outlines the assignments/evaluation procedures of the course.
  • Reference: Listing of required readings and web sites included in the units.

Print Materials

The textbooks listed below are used in this course.

McCance, K. & Huether, S. (2014). Pathophysiology: The biologic basis for disease in adults and children (7th ed.). St.Louis: Elsevier Mosby.

Harold J. Bruyere (2009) 100 Case Studies in Pathophysiology. Login Bros. ISBN 978-0-7817-6145-1

Course Structure

In this course, you will access health-related websites worldwide. You will also participate in email and computer conferencing with other students. Students are expected to connect to an Internet Service Provider at their own expense.

Technical Requirements

Computer System

In order to successfully complete this course, you must own or have ready access to certain computer hardware and software programs. For complete and up-to-date information on the minimum computer requirements required to complete the graduate nursing courses, visit the Centre for Nursing and Health Studies technical site.

Course Outline

NURS 519 consists of 13 units, divided into two sections:

Part I: An Overview of Pathophysiological Variations

  • Unit 1: Cells and Tissues
  • Unit 2: Mechanisms of Self Defense: Immunity and Infection
  • Unit 3: Cellular Proliferations: Cancer

Part II: Pathophysiological Variations of Body Systems

  • Unit 4: The Neurologic System
  • Unit 5: The Endocrine System
  • Unit 6: The Reproductive System
  • Unit 7: The Hematologic System
  • Unit 8: The Cardiovascular and Lymphatic Systems
  • Unit 9: The Pulmonary System
  • Unit 10: Renal and Urologic System
  • Unit 11: The Integumentary System
  • Unit 12: The Digestive System
  • Unit 13: The Musculoskeletal System

Assessment Structure

The assessment structure for NURS 519 is based on the following course activities, with the percentage weighting of each activity as indicated. Your final grade for the course will be a composite mark based on your performance on these course activities.

Short Case Conference 10%
Learning Objective Conference 20%
Exam 1 20%
Exam 2 25%
Exam 3 25%
Total 100%

In order to pass NURS 519, you must achieve a minimum mark of 65% on the short case conference, a minimum mark of 65% on the Learning Objective Conference and a combined mark of 70% on the exams.

Short Case Conference Participation
Value: 10%

Beginning in Unit 3 two students will be assigned cases from Bruyere (2009). Each student will be expected to prepare a brief presentation which addresses assigned learning points.

Learning Objective Conference
Value: 20%

For each unit students are expected to post a minimum of 2 individual posts. Feedback regarding conference participation will be ongoing. Quality of input (not quantity) is the goal. Feedback will focus on the student's ability to provide organized and original contributions that reflect analysis and synthesis of the material presented

Exams Due Dates: Week 5 (Exam 1), Week 9 (Exam 2) and Week 13 (Exam 3)
Value: Exam 1 is worth 20%, exams 2 and 3 and worth 25% each

These are online exams consisting of multiple choice questions based on content from units 1 through 4 (Exam 1), 5 through 8 (Exam 2) and 9-13 (Exam 3).

The exams must be written during the specified time period. Students who do not write the exam during the specified time period will not be allowed to write the exam at a later date and will be awarded a mark of zero on the exam.

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 5, March 2017.