Principles of renal nursing | Australian College of Nursing

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Principles of renal nursing

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This unit of study addresses the pathophysiology and systemic implications for the patient experiencing renal disease/injury. There is exploration of the cause and effect of symptomatology as well as consideration of management strategies to minimise symptom progression. There is a strong focus on the patient’s journey from stages 1 to 5 of chronic kidney disease, including transition to renal replacement therapy or conservative management. Emphasis is placed on the importance of comprehensive assessment, models of care and pre-dialysis preparation. Quality of life and ethical considerations are explored with particular focus on conservative management and palliative care. Also explored are the implications for the paediatric and adolescent patient, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, patients living in rural/remote locations and the older person.

Principles of renal nursing

Unit of study code



Graduate Certificate in Acute Care Nursing

Graduate Certificate in Community and Primary Health Nursing

PG Single Unit of Study






Tier 1

Prescribed text:

Thomas, N 2014, Renal nursing, 4th edn, Wiley Blackwell, UK.

Co-ordinated by: Cherry Millar MACN



Intended learning outcomes for this subject/program

After completing this subject, the learner will be able to:-

Assessment Tasks

Type of assessment

Not the completed assessment item. E.g. Assessment 1. Online discussion 


(% of total marks)

When assessed – academic week

(e.g. Week 8)

Theme 1:  Anatomy, applied clinical physiology and pathology of the renal system

a) Analyse the diverse and systemic physiological changes that occur in renal disease and be able to relate this knowledge to the interpretation of clinical findings and clinical/nursing management 

Assessment 1 Online activities x 3



Theme 2: Acute kidney injury

b) Perform a comprehensive and systematic clinical assessment on a patient with renal impairment, which includes justification of findings and evaluation of current management strategies 

Assessment 2 Guided case study - Short answer questions (1500 words)



Theme 3:  Chronic kidney disease


c) Critically evaluate the potential influence of early referral, pre-dialysis preparation and patient education in a patient’s overall health outcome 

Assessment 3 Essay (3500-4000 words)




Theme 4: Assessment of the patient with renal impairment

d) Identify the different treatment options available for patients with all categories of renal impairment 




Theme 5: Pre-end stage CKD management (Stages 4 and 5)

e) Acknowledge the high-risk population groups and recognise the impact of screening and early intervention in the progression of renal impairment 




Theme 6: Conservative management and palliative care

f) Recognize the importance of a patient’s right to decline or withdraw from dialysis, the importance of advanced care planning and integration of palliative care




Theme 7: Specific populations

g) Examine the influences of culture, geographical location, psycho-social status and age on an individual’s perceptions, considerations and needs.




Units commencing or have commenced in 2017

Tier 1$2,035
Tier 2$2,345
Tier 3$2,725
Tier 4$3,275

Units commencing in 2018

Tier 1$2,100
Tier 2$2,420
Tier 3$2,800
Tier 4$3,375

*Fees are subject to change without notice.