Unit of competency details

HLTEN401B - Work in the nursing profession (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by HLTENN001 - Practise nursing within the Australian health care systemThis version was released in HLT Health Training Package release 3.0 and meets the requirements of the 2012 Standards for Training Packages. Merged with HLTEN401B and HLTEN516B. Significant changes to the elements and performance criteria. New evidence requirements for assessment, including volume and frequency requirements. Significant change to knowledge evidence. 07/Dec/2015

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 25/Mar/2011

Accredited courses that have this unit in the completion mapping

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 060301 General Nursing  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 060301 General Nursing  04/Nov/2011 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor


This unit of competency describes the skills and knowledge required to practise as a nursing professional with clients across the lifespan in a range of health care environments, such as acute care, community care, mental health, aged care, medical / surgical

Application of the Unit


The knowledge and skills described in this competency unit are to be applied within jurisdictional nursing and midwifery regulatory authority legislative requirements

Enrolled/Division 2 nursing work is to be carried out in consultation/collaboration with registered nurses and under direct or indirect supervisory arrangements in line with jurisdictional regulatory requirements

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not Applicable


Not Applicable

Employability Skills Information

Employability Skills 

This unit contains Employability Skills

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements define the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

The Performance Criteria specify the level of performance required to demonstrate achievement of the Element.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Apply the principles of primary health care delivery 

1.1 Work with an understanding of the historical development of health care

1.2 Work with an understanding of the levels of health care provided in the Australian health care system

1.3 Apply the principles of primary health care and the philosophical framework supporting primary health care system

1.4 Identify the potential risks for the implementation of primary health care

1.5 Work with an understanding of the role of the Enrolled/Division 2 nurse and the collaborative role of other health care professionals in the delivery of primary health care

1.6 Establish appropriate relationships with other members of the health care team within each health care environment

1.7 Interact effectively with allied health team members

2. Apply the principle of wellness

2.1 Reflect in own work practice appropriate application of wellness and illness models of care within the Australian health care system

2.2 Apply the wellness model of care appropriately in relation to people with disabilities.

2.3 Identify health care issues that may require nursing care

3. Work in the context of professional nursing practice

3.1 Work with an understanding of the historical and current perspectives of the nursing profession and nurse education

3.2 Work with an awareness of the critical aspects and historical development of each nursing environment

3.3 Incorporate theoretical concepts and information related to nursing into nursing practice

3.4 Work with an understanding of the role of relevant professional nursing bodies 

3.5 Work within the principles and parameters  of nursing practice

3.6 Assist in organisation's audit and accreditation processes

4. Handle issues arising in health care

4.1 Respond to death as an aspect of the life span

4.2 Support clients, their family and carers through the grief and bereavement process as appropriate

4.3 Identify resources to assist client, family and carers in relation to grief

4.4 Work with an awareness of a range of classifications of disability and their major causes

4.5 Implement nursing care for clients with disabilities

4.6 Design a learning program for an individual with a disability

5. Contribute to professional work team

5.1 Contribute effectively as a member of a multidisciplinary team implementing care plans in each health care area

5.2 Use a journal or similar tool to examine and document reflective nursing practice

5.3 Contribute to achieving effective team work and supportive group dynamics when working with health care colleagues

6. Participate in professional skills development

6.1 Identify, access and undertake available options for professional skill development

6.2 Participate in and respond appropriately to performance review processes

6.3 Reflect on own nursing practice to identify areas for skill development to enhance performance

6.4 Identify and participate in professional organisations

6.5 Identify sources of employment opportunities

6.6 Outline the interview process and materials required for an employment application

7. Apply the Scope of Nursing Practice Decision Making Framework

7.1 Apply jurisdictional requirements relating to Scope of Practice Framework

7.2 Reflect Scope of Practice within the Enrolled/Division 2 nurse role

7.3 Adapt to different requirements of the role of the Enrolled/Division 2 nurse within each health care environment

Required Skills and Knowledge


This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.

Essential knowledge :

The candidate must be able to demonstrate essential knowledge required to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

This includes knowledge of:

  • Health and illness issues facing people from countries other than Australia
  • Health issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the impact for health care delivery
  • Historical and current perspectives of the nursing profession
  • How health and illness factors for clients impact on nursing practice
  • Issues that impact on health and/or illness, such as environmental issues, issues affecting the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other cultural and community issues
  • Occupational health and safety policy and procedures
  • infection control
  • manual handling
  • risk management
  • Philosophical framework of primary health care
  • Principles of wellness
  • Processes required for employment opportunities
  • Professional development strategies
  • Range of health care environments
  • Reflection on historical context of the Australian health care system
  • Roles of regulatory authorities, industrial and professional bodies
  • Scope of Nursing Practice Decision-Making Framework
  • Specific skills and knowledge needed to achieve the performance criteria
  • client cultural needs - and how to support them in a professional and non judgemental manner
  • current issues of all cultures who use the health care system
  • ethical guidelines including confidentiality, duty of care and public liability
  • organisation policies, procedures, guidelines and protocols
  • practice within the context of cross cultural health care system

Essential skills :

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

This includes the ability to:

  • Apply professional standards of practice:
  • ANMC code of conduct
  • ANMC code of ethics
  • ANMC national Enrolled/Division 2 nurse competency standards
  • state/territory Nurse Regulatory Nurses Act
  • state/territory Nursing and Midwifery Regulatory Authority standards of practice
  • Scope of Nursing Practice Decision Making Framework
  • Apply a range of advanced communication skills required to fulfil job roles as specified by the health environment. Advanced oral communication skills include interviewing techniques, asking questions, active listening, asking for clarification from client or other persons, negotiating solutions, acknowledging and responding to a range of views
  • Apply problem solving skills, including use of tools and techniques to solve problems, analyse information and make decisions that require discretion and confidentiality
  • Communicate with all clients using culturally appropriate language
  • Use interpersonal skills, including working with others, empathising with clients, family and colleagues, using sensitivity when dealing with people and relating to persons from differing cultural, spiritual, social and religious backgrounds
  • Use literacy and numeracy competence required to communicate effectively with client, group, colleagues and to record or report client outcomes
  • Use written communication skills required to fulfil job roles as specified by health environment at a level of skill that may range from reading and understanding client reports and documentation to completion of written reports
  • Use appropriate practices to ensure efficient use of power and other resources
  • Work to achieve identified outcomes, including:
  • applying effective time management skills
  • complying with relevant guidelines and procedures and demonstrating ethical practice
  • managing contingencies
  • meeting duty of care responsibilities
  • meeting objectives and prioritising workload to achieve agreed timeframes
  • promoting the work of the organisation

Evidence Guide


The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate this competency unit :

  • The individual being assessed must provide evidence of specified essential knowledge as well as skills
  • Observation of application of skills and knowledge in the workplace or a simulated work environment is essential for assessment of this unit
  • Consistency of performance should be demonstrated over the required range of workplace situations and should occur on more than one occasion and be assessed by a registered nurse

Context of and specific resources for assessment :

  • This unit is most appropriately assessed in the clinical workplace by a registered nurse
  • Where, for reasons of safety, access to equipment and resources and space, assessment takes place away from the workplace, simulations should be used to represent workplace conditions as closely as possible

Method of assessment 

  • Observation in the work place
  • Written assignments/projects
  • Case study and scenario as a basis for discussion of issues and strategies to contribute to best practice.
  • Questioning - verbal or written
  • Role play/simulation

Access and equity considerations :

  • All workers in the health industry should be aware of access and equity issues in relation to their own area of work
  • All workers should develop their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment
  • In recognition of particular health issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, workers should be aware of cultural, historical and current issues impacting on health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Assessors and trainers must take into account relevant access and equity issues, in particular relating to factors impacting on health of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities

Range Statement


The Range Statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Professional nursing bodies include :

  • Nurse Regulatory Authority
  • Professional organisations such as:
  • Royal College of Nursing, Australia (RCNA)
  • Industrial bodies, such as:
  • Australian Nursing Federation (ANF)
  • Health Services Union of Australia (HSUA)
  • Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMC)

Primary health care delivery includes :

  • Levels of health care in Australia
  • Models of primary health care
  • Community participation
  • Equity and access to health care
  • Responsiveness to needs of local populations
  • Philosophical frameworks for primary health care
  • Roles of health team members in primary health care

Professional development strategies may include :

  • Coaching/mentoring and/or supervision
  • Formal and informal learning programs/courses
  • On the job/off the job training
  • Career planning/development
  • Workplace skills assessment/learning needs analysis
  • Personal studies

Professional development opportunities may include :

  • In-service programs
  • Workshops
  • Seminars
  • Conference attendance
  • Special group forums
  • On-line (computer based)
  • Undergraduate/postgraduate courses

Sources of employment opportunities may include :

  • Newspaper
  • Internal memo
  • Internet/intranet
  • Professional journal
  • Employment agency
  • Word of mouth
  • Self promotion

Interview process may include :

  • Preparation
  • Presentation
  • Punctuality
  • Personality
  • Articulate
  • Positive body image
  • Honesty
  • Feedback

Health care environments could include but not restricted to the following areas :

  • Aged care
  • Palliative care
  • Paediatric
  • Mental health
  • Community health
  • Disability
  • Medical
  • Surgical
  • Day surgery
  • Maternity care
  • Operating suite
  • Cardiac care

Clinical data could include :

  • Resident classification schedule
  • Nursing care plans
  • Clinical pathways
  • Treatment plans
  • Medical notes, nursing notes, ie. integrated notes
  • Manual and electronic storage systems
  • Flow charts

Self assessment strategies may include :

  • Setting goals
  • Journal writing
  • Reflective learning principles
  • Professional development activities
  • Performance appraisal
  • Evaluating own performance
  • Self disclosure

Common terms associated with human behaviour may include :

  • Perception
  • Sensation
  • Emotion
  • Motivation
  • Achievement
  • Affect
  • Mood

Factors that influence health related behaviour may include :

  • Physiological
  • Psychological
  • Economic
  • Educational
  • Geographical
  • Environmental
  • Social
  • Culture
  • Gender
  • Age

The underpinning values and philosophies of the health care unit may include :

  • A holistic and consumer-centred approach
  • Community education
  • Delivery of appropriate services
  • Commitment to meeting the needs and upholding the rights of consumers
  • Commitment to empowering the consumer
  • Encouragement of personal growth and development toward recovery and wellness

Cultural and linguistic differences may include :

  • The needs of Indigenous Australians
  • The needs of people from non-English speaking backgrounds
  • Social variable such as social attitudes, sensitivity to sexuality
  • Emotional expression
  • Communication techniques eg. questioning

Common terms associated with death and dying may include :

  • Bereavement
  • Grief
  • Grieving
  • Loss
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Bargaining
  • Denial
  • Acceptance
  • Spirituality
  • Widows
  • Widowers
  • Permanence
  • Universality
  • Irreversibility
  • Funeral rites
  • Theories
  • Afterlife
  • Reincarnation
  • Burial rituals
  • Law of Karma
  • Icons
  • Rosary
  • Meditation
  • Embalm
  • Prayer(s)
  • Last rites
  • Anointing of the sick
  • Sacrament
  • Mecca (North-west of Perth)

Unit Sector(s)

Not Applicable