Nursing (NURS) 609

Trends and Issues (Revision 7)


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Delivery Mode: Paced/home-study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Prerequisite: For MHS Students: MHST 601
For MN-Gen Students: NURS 608

Co-requisite: MHS and MN-Gen Students: MHST603/NURS 603

Centre: Centre for Nursing and Health Studies


Healthcare is a dynamic and changing environment that demands we are well appraised of the issues and trends that influence our beliefs and practice. In this course, you are challenged to advocate for, and defend, a position related to a selected healthcare issue using debate as a learning medium. Debating is a transformative journey that helps you learn more about your own beliefs and principles while teaching you to stand up and be heard. Further, you investigate historical and contemporary healthcare trends and share your learnings with your class colleagues in a conference format.

Multi-media learning resources, online learning activities, and individual and collaborative group assignments are some of the strategies you will use to achieve the course and unit learning outcomes. The nature of the instructional approach is participant-centered, based on Purkey’s invitational educational theory where an educational environment that is respectful, optimistic, and intentional is co-created by students and the instructor (Gregory & Edwards, 2016).

The course is structured so that you become an investigative reporter! Each unit is organized into 3 parts, the “headline,” “uncovering the story” and the “unit in review.” The headline is meant to be a “hook” or advanced organizer that will catch your attention and introduce you to the unit topic. Uncovering the story includes the unit learning outcomes, learning resources and learning activities. The unit in review is a reflection activity that guides you in reviewing key points from the unit and in consolidating take away learnings.

Course Learning Outcomes

By the conclusion of NURS/MHST 609 Trends and Issues you will be able to:

  • differentiate between trends and issues;
  • identify and explain logical errors in arguments;
  • design a reasoned and structured argument and participate in an online debate defending or opposing a current healthcare issue;
  • demonstrate oral presentation skills and written strategies to justify your opinion on issues;
  • appraise and critique the value of arguments proposed to defend or oppose current healthcare issues;
  • evaluate issues (social, economic, political and educational) that influence healthcare trends;
  • moderate an online class discussion regarding a selected healthcare trend;
  • critique and analyze peer reviewed literature related to healthcare trends and issues; and
  • reflect on personal learning from the course focusing identifying strengths and limitations that have become apparent, and construct a plan for moving forward.

Learning Resources

There is no print textbook for this course. Instead you are presented with a variety of online, multi-media learning resources including peer reviewed articles from the AU library, e-textbooks, videos, podcasts, TED talks, movies etc. Many of these are open educational resources (OER). The course topic is well suited to utilizing online resources that allow access to emerging research reports and real-time interviews and newscasts that discuss trends as they are developing. You are invited to share learning resources you discover related to course content with others in the class. Locating additional online resources will assist you in achieving the learning outcomes and your own learning goals, as well as help us develop as a learning community.

Course Structure

NURS/MHST 609 Trends and Issues is an asynchronous online course with a specific start and end date extending over 13 weeks. The course “week” runs from a Wednesday to the following Tuesday evening. On the Wednesday, the course instructor will make an online posting that relates to the topic of the week. The purpose of the weekly input by the instructor is to keep everyone focused on the same topic and to stimulate discussion. While there is no predetermined time when you must log on, are asked to log on at least once a week. However, logging on several times a week is desirable so that discussion continues back and forth among participants. Logging on early in the week is most helpful. During the weeks of your debate and your concurrent trends presentation you will need to log on often.

The course instructor will have expectations for online activities. Dates and days will be assigned and communicated to you by email, or as a posting in the Coffee or News Forum. Each instructor may organize the assignment schedules (dates for your debate and trends presentation) individually. However, there are some specific dates by which certain other course activities need to be achieved by everyone. These dates are specified in the study guide and assessment overview.

Course Overview

The course consists of the following seven units:

Unit 1 Introductions: Course Orientation and Starting the Investigation of Trends and Issues
Unit 2 Foundations of Debating: Structuring an Argument, Logic, and Fallacies
Unit 3 Debate Issues and Preparation for Debates
Unit 4 The Debates
Unit 5 Exploring Healthcare Trends: Past, Present and Future
Unit 6 Trends in Healthcare Online Conference
Unit 7 Review, Reflection and Wrap-up

Assessment Structure, Grading, and Style Requirements

You will have opportunities to complete the following four assignments.

Assignment 1 – DEBATE: Advocate for individuals, families, practices or policies using the principles of structuring an argument and debating. (2 parts)

Assignment 2 – CONCURRENT SESSION PRESENTATION AND MODERATION OF DICUSSION AT A CLASS ONLINE CONFERENCE – TRENDS IN HEALTHCARE:  Choose a healthcare trend related to your practice or profession, write a short discussion paper on the trend and moderate discussion of your trend during a concurrent session at a class online conference entitled Trends in Healthcare.

Assignment 3 – REFLECTION PAPER: Write a short reflection paper related to what you learned about yourself during the course and include a plan for utilizing identified strengths and overcoming identified limitations.

Assignment 4 – PARTICIPATION: This includes participation in learning activities throughout the course.

Students must achieve an overall program GPA of 2.7 (B- or 70 percent), to graduate. The minimum passing grade requirement for each course is C- (60 percent).

All assignment citations are to follow the most current APA (American Psychological Association) style.

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 7, July 11, 2017.

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