Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

NURSING 742 - Biological Science for Practice

30 Points

Semester 1, Semester 2
Online course


Focuses on common pathologies acknowledging the New Zealand Health Strategy, giving particular attention to areas where health promotion, preventative care, chronic disease management and cost impact for New Zealand.

Course information

Health care practice has become more complex due to changes in population demographics and increases in common chronic disease. Health professionals are increasingly required to practice in ways that identify and support patients at high risk for common diseases. A sound understanding of the pathology underpinning common chronic disease processes and evidence-based interventions is crucial to manage patients effectively.

This course explores the associations between risk factors and underlying pathologies of common chronic diseases and commonly used pharmaceutical and lifestyle interventions in managing patients with these diseases.

Note: The delivery of this course is through the University’s online Learning Management System (Canvas). Most communication with your lecturer and class colleagues will be electronic through Canvas. This course always opens about two weeks before the start of the semester to allow you to familiarise yourself with the learning environment, develop on-line skills and gain confidence in communicating with the lecturer and your class colleagues.

Aim of the course

  • To increase nurses' understanding of scientific concepts, pathophysiological processes and theirimportance in caring for clients across the health continuum.
  • To increase nurses' knowledge and use of applied science, including evidence-based interventions inmanaging clients with common chronic diseases.


Specific objectives 

  • To extend nurses' knowledge of scientific concepts and common pathophysiological processes.
  • To apply this knowledge to clients' signs and symptoms and clinical management.
  • To relate the use and interpretation of diagnostic tests to the underlying pathophysiology and to bestpractice. 
  • To explore the pathophysiology and evidence-based clinical management of the following commonchronic diseases:
    • Cardiovascular disease (including fluid, electrolyte and acid-base balance)
    • Endocrine (diabetes) pathology
    • Infection and immunity
    • Common respiratory pathologies





Due Dates

Written assignment 1

2,500 words*


Introduction due end week 2Review of 1 study due end week 4Assignment due after week 6

On-line discussion forums

2 contributions


Weeks 1-5 and weeks 6-11


3,750 words*


Due end of week 12

Course Coordinator

Course Administrator