Assignment samples

PDF version


This section provides sample assignments for each of your assessment items. I hope that you will find them useful. If you have queries or dont understand them please discuss your troubles with either Jill or Ralph.

Sample article review/critique assignments

There are 3 article/review/critique examples. They are close to the expectations I have for your article/review /critique.

However there is one big difference! None of the samples mention the graph, which is part of criterion 6, analysis of graph. This is a new inclusion this year. So dont forget to include it in your assignment! We will discuss this in Tutorial 2, however, more importantly, this will also be discussed in MAT1008 classes.

Sample 1graphics2


Jackson, FM 2002, Considerations for community-based research with African American women, American Journal of Public Health, April, vol. 92, no. 4, pp.561-5,  viewed 12 February 2007,


This review critically reviews the article Considerations for community-based research with African American women in the journal American Journal of Public Health. The review will first summarise the article. Secondly, it will briefly analyse the effectiveness of the articles structure, investigating how the information is set out and whether the reader can access it efficiently. Thirdly, the review will critique the article, evaluating its authority, currency, accuracy, objectivity and coverage. The review will also analyse the graph before finally judging the articles accessibility and credibility. Overall the article was well written, clear and relevant.

Article summary

The purpose of the article is to explore the need and advantages of conducting community based research with women of colour in the United States. The authoritative knowledge that these women can provide about their lives and their health could form the basis of collaboration between researchers and participants and lead to successful strategies to improve the health of African American women. The article provides the goals for improving African American womens health before investigating the issues related to cultural sensitivity, reciprocity, accountability and authoritative voices in order to argue that the research on these women and their health must be attuned to the multiple identities the women possess that are associated with race, gender and class.

Article structure

The article was introduced with an abstract, which provided the stance or thesis developed by the article as well as a brief overview of main points. The rationales for the article and for the research it describes were also included. The paragraphs in the body were short and therefore the information in each paragraph was easy to access, however there were only 3 body headings, which meant that there was a lot of quite detailed information contained under each heading. As the article described a research study that was conducted by the author, the article contained the conventional information normally provided in such a study. For example there are sections related to the background and significance of the research, a review of the literature and the methodology as well as the data collection and analysis techniques used. The findings and conclusions were developed towards the end of the article however the conclusion was very short, lacking a comprehensive summary of the main points covered by the article. However the short conclusion did develop future policy and research directions. References were cited in-text and set out clearly in the literature cited section. The articles structure was logically developed overall, with the use of short paragraphs helping the reader access the main points more easily. The article was HMLT rather than a scanned PDF document and included many links, which helped to make the information accessible. There were links to author, journal, subjects, citations and references which allow the reader to evaluate the articles worth more effectively, however linked headings and subheadings may have allowed the reader to move through the paper more quickly.

Article critique


The journal, the American Journal of Public Health, is a publication of the American Public Health Association, which is an objective unbiased public organisation. It was found on the scholarly Academic Search Premier through EBSCOhost, which is a highly credible research database.

The authors credibility was established in a number of ways. These included her PhD; the fact that the article was a peer reviewed article; the fact that the author is an academic working at the School of Public Health, Emory University in Atlanta; the fact that the research described in the article was supported by an ASPH/CDC/ATSDR Cooperative agreement and a grant from the Ford Foundation; and the links to the authors other articles in the Reference section.


The source of the information in the article was a current research project. It was also backed up and supported by a comprehensive, recent reference list with these sources cited in-text to support both the literature review and the research itself. The strict editorial and refereeing processes also contributed to the articles accuracy as did the links to other expert sources (the journal for example).


The journal was published in April 2002, while the article was accepted for publication in December 2001. The research it describes was current and the article cites up-to-date references in the body of the text (ranging from 1990-2001). Therefore the article is current.


This was an academic journal on an academic database, which has high credibility in an academic context. It was written to inform researchers and students rather than to entertain or advertise. It would be relevant to both these groups but particularly any academic interested in nursing innovations and in health generally. It could be a difficult article to read and understand and therefore would be less relevant to first year nursing students.


The information was objectively developed, well supported with a current research base and with all evidence acknowledged and referenced. There was no evidence of bias, a fact that was reinforced by the recognition that the article documents research, which followed the rigorous research processes, and the necessary ethical considerations demanded of such community-funded research. The article acknowledged the complexity of the issues discussed in a number of ways. For example, the literature review provided explanations of the key terms discussed (for example gender and identity) and supported their research decisions with references to the appropriate and relevant literature. The participants were clearly defined a sample of 545 African American women living in Atlanta - with the findings relevant to other African American women and would also be able to inform research conducted in other countries, for example indigenous women in Australia.


The article, with its source an academic journal on an academic data base is stable as a resource.

Analysis of graph

(MAT1008 will help you to write this section)


This review has both summarised and critically reviewed Jacksons article Considerations for community-based research with African American women. The content, structure, strengths and limitations of the article were analysed and critiqued. The article has contributed to the literature in terms of its valuable critique of current research study on African American women and their health issues and the implications provided for both health interventions and future research collaborative possibilities.


Sample 2 graphics8


Bell, RL & Lederman, NG 2003, ‘Understandings of the nature of science and decision making on science and technology based issues’, Science Education, vol.87, no.3, p.352-77, viewed 15 March 2005, EBSCOhost database Academic Search Premier, item: AN9578033


This review critically reviews the article ‘Understandings of the nature of science and decision making on science and technology based issues’ by Randy L. Bell and Norman G. Lederman which appeared in the journal Science Education.  The review will firstly summarise the article. Secondly, it will briefly analyse the effectiveness of the article’s structure, investigating how the information is set out and whether the reader can access it efficiently.  Thirdly, the review will critique the article, evaluating its authority, accuracy, currency, relevance, objectivity and stability. The review will also analyse the graph before finally judging the article’s accessibility and credibility. Overall the article was well written, clear and relevant.

Article Summary

The purpose of the article was to investigate whether knowledge of the nature of science impacted on decision-making regarding science and technology based issues.  The article also determined the factors and reasoning used to reach decisions.  The study involved 21 adult volunteers, selected from university professors and research scientists from across the United States.  The participants completed two open-ended questionnaires and subsequent interviews.  The first questionnaire and follow up interview were designed to assess participant’s decision making.  Participants were then grouped according to their views on the nature of science as gauged by the second questionnaire and follow up interview.  The group’s overall decision making were then profiled using the responses to the Decision Making Questionnaires and follow up interviews.  After comparison of both group profiles, it was found that there was little difference in the groups overall decisions, factors influencing decisions or processes used to reach decisions.  Participants in both groups based their decisions mainly on ethics, personal values or social/political concerns.  All considered scientific evidence but more as a part of a multifaceted issue.  The nature of science did not significantly impact on either group’s decision making.  These results contrast with basic assumptions of current science education reform efforts and call for a re-examination of the goals of nature of science instruction.  Future research directions include the relationship between general epistemologies and decision-making, and the relationship between decision making and moral development.

Article Structure

The article under review was accessed via EBSCOhost in a clear and well set out form.  It was retrieved as a PDF document.  The article was introduced with an abstract that briefly outlined the purpose of the article, its main points, findings, conclusions, implications and future research directions.  The article is broken into headings and subheadings with relatively short paragraphs making the information readily accessible.  The Introduction provided background information and the rationale behind the article.  This allowed clear understanding of the context and importance of the study.  The body was logically organised into scientific headings Method, Results, Discussion and Implications, Appendices and References.  This allowed the reader to read the entire article or just the part of interest.  The article had both qualitative and quantitative aspects with excerpts from interviews and surveys combined with statistical data from the study.  The article was summarised but this occurred in the Discussion and Implications section in a long and jumbled form making a clear and concise understanding of the main points difficult.  There were extensive references cited in-text and set out clearly in the References section.  The article was a PDF document which meant it could easily be printed and read.  It did not have links throughout the text but did have links in the citation.  The sentences were structured so that an average person could read most of the article however in some sections the level of literature was advanced.  The overall accessibility of the information was quite good.

Article Critique


The authors’ credibility was established in a number of ways. Both authors are associated with education institutions with Randy L. Bell being an academic at the Curry School of Education at University of Virginia and Norman G. Lederman is an academic in the Department of Mathematics and Science Education at Illinois Institute of Technology.  The authors are also recognised in their field with an early version of the article being presented to the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching in 2000.  The authors have also written a number of other articles, some of which are included in the References section.  The article was from the journal Science Education, which is a reliable and peer reviewed journal.  The article was found through EBSCOhost on the Academic Search Premier database.  This is a highly credible research database.  It can be seen that the article has authority.


The information included in the article was from a study conducted in 1998.  The information is verified and supported with in-text referencing and an extensive list of references.  The editorial and reviewing processes that the article was subject to both contribute to the accuracy and reliability of the article.  The information in the article is therefore accurate and reliable.


The study the article is written about was conducted in 1998.  The article was written in 2001, revised in early 2002 and accepted for publication 19 April 2002.  It was published in May 2003.  The references included in the list of references range from 1963 to 2001.  The article is therefore current and supported by a range of studies over an extensive time frame.


The article is from an academic journal and is therefore intended for the scientific community.  It was written to inform and detail specific research conducted by the authors, not to entertain.  The subject is covered well but because it was conducted in the United States on a limited amount of high level academics, it is not generalisable.  The article is very detailed with the topics being explored in great depth.  The material is presented in a logical and organised way.  The article is accordingly relevant to the academic community.


The information presented in the article is from a research study.  The results are presented in an objective way with all evidence and supporting documentation acknowledged.  The authors clearly outline some of the limitations of the research and make reference to alternative points of view, enhancing the objectivity of the article.  The article is based on fact with all stringent research processes and decisions clearly explained.  As a result, the information presented in the article is objective.


The article is from an academic journal that is available in both print and electronic forms.  It can also be found on an established and highly credible academic database: EBSCOhost’s Academic Search Premier.  For these reasons, the article is stable as a resource.

Analysis of graph

(MAT1008 will help you to write this section)


This review has summarised and critically reviewed Bell and Lederman’s article ‘Understandings of the nature of science and decision making on science and technology based issues’.  The structure, accessibility, content, strengths and limitations of the article were analysed and critiqued along with the graph which was included. The authors and journal are credible, accurate and current.  The article’s information is accessible, well structured, relevant and presented in an objective way.  The article is also stable as a resource.  The article has therefore contributed valuable information and understanding about how knowledge of the nature of science influences decision-making on science and technology based issues.


Sample 3 graphics14


Cregan, K 2005, ‘Ethical and social issues of embryonic stem cell technology’, Internal Medicine Journal, vol.35, no.2, viewed 15 March 2007, Ethical and social issues of embryonic stem cell technology


This review critiques the article ‘Ethical and social issues of embryonic stem cell technology’ by Kate Cregan in the Internal Medicine Journal. The article will be summarized and its purpose defined. The review will then examine the structure of the article in terms of how the information is displayed and the ease with which the reader can access the information. The article will be critiqued based upon its authority, accuracy, currency, relevance, objectivity and stability. The review will also analyse the graph before finally judging the article’s accessibility and credibility. Overall the article was well written, clear and relevant.

Article summary

The purpose of this article is to consider the negative implications of embryonic stem cell technology on an ethical and social level. According to the article, the issues relating to this controversial topic transcend the religious arguments commonly brought to the fore in such debates. The use of stem cell technology will lead to the transformation of society’s view of life, causing it to be commercialized and simultaneously devalued. The article does acknowledge the possible benefits of the technology. However it questions whether such benefits for a privileged few are worth the commercialization of women living in poverty - those most likely to become a source of embryos for such technology. The use of stem cell technology will have harmful consequences affecting not only these women, but also society as a whole as the concept of life is reduced to a scientific process.

Article structure

The article was introduced with an abstract that provided an effective overview of the article by establishing the background to the issue as well as the theme and main points of the piece. The article itself is qualitative in nature and is two pages long. It is accessible online as a PDF document. As such, links are not included in the article, but contact details for the author are provided. In addition, the citation of the article, available through EBSCOhost MegaFILE Premier does contain links to articles related to key words and subject terms. These links provided useful background to the topic. Despite the shortness of the article, information is not easily accessible. There is a logical ordering of points, but the piece lacks headings and both the paragraphs and the sentences are long, so accessing the information, reading and understanding the article is not easy. Furthermore, the conclusion is not a summary of the points made but a question defining the overall theme of the article. There is no in-text referencing, but three references are provided in a reference section. Additionally, there is a section acknowledging the piece upon which the article was based. The original piece, co-authored by Kate Cregan and Paul James, ‘Stem-cell alchemy: techno-science and the new philosopher’s stone’ in the Arena Journal includes several in-text references and twenty-one references in total. Overall therefore, while the abstract is effective and the links provided via the citation are useful, the structure of the article makes it difficult to read and understand.

Article critique


 The official journal of the Adult Medicine Division of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Internal Medicine Journal in which the article was featured is an extremely reputable source. This journal aims to inform and educate, its target audience being the medical community. In addition the fact that the article was found via EBSCOhost’s Academic Search Premier, which is known to be a reliable database, adds to its credibility, as does that fact that it is peer reviewed. Furthermore, the author is a research fellow for the Australian Research Council, as well as an academic at Melbourne’s RMIT University and has written numerous other books and articles. The various positions and the contact details of the author are displayed on the article. All of this information indicates that the article is highly credible.


The source of much of the information in the article was the original piece upon which the article was based. While the article itself has only three references and no in-text referencing, the original, co-authored by Kate Cregan and Paul James contains several in-text references and a total of twenty-one references, implying great accuracy.  The article’s accuracy is also confirmed by the careful scrutiny that it was subjected to by Internal Medicine Journal – it was accepted for publishing nine days after being received. The fact that the article is peer reviewed also verifies its precision.


The journal issue containing the article was published in February 2005, while the article was accepted for publishing in October 2004. Its references date from 2001. The original piece upon which the article is based was published in 2002, with references dating from 1998.  The recent publication of the article and the recent references indicate that the article is very current, as does the content of the article which deals with the latest developments in stem cell technology.


The article was published in a medical journal intended to inform the medical community. As it was written to provide information for an educated sector and published in a reputable journal, it is relevant to the intended audience. The topic covered is also a significant one in today’s society. The article covers several aspects of the issue, and although the information originates in Australia, it relates to the global community.


The information in the article was derived from Doctor Cregan’s extensive experience in the area of stem cell technology, associated with the Australian Research Council. The article shows research decisions, and contains both facts and opinions. However, where opinions are presented, both sides of the argument are illustrated. The fact that the article considers the negative implications of embryonic stem cell technology on an ethical and social level does not lead to bias because the positive possibilities of the technology are also acknowledged. Limitations of stem cell technology and conversely, the restrictions of not utilizing such technology are discussed. The majority of the claims and arguments made are supported, if not in the article, then in the original piece, by references to prior research or literature, and frequent mention is made of alternative points of view. However, in several instances, strongly worded assertions are made, and are not supported by documented evidence. The article serves its purpose as an objective presentation of the negative social and ethical aspects of stem cell technology to the medical community. However it could have been written more objectively if emotive and strongly worded statements had not been used or had been better supported.


Having been published in a medical journal, and being accessible through a credible and reliable academic database, the article is a stable resource.

Analysis of graph

(MAT1008 will help you to write this section)


This review summarised and critically reviewed Cregan’s article, ‘Ethical and social issues of embryonic stem cell technology’. The content, structure, strengths and limitations of the article were analysed and critiqued. The article has contributed to a better understanding amongst the medical community of the disadvantages, both social and ethical of stem cell technology. Although it lacks an accessible structure and is therefore difficult to read, it is well researched and highly credible.


NUR1140 written assignment question

I have included this NUR1140 assignment question as it comprises one of your two topic areas for the article you select for the CMS1008 article review critique. It also forms one of the two alternative topics you can chose to base the CMS1008 assignment 2, the proposal/ draft.

Due:    Week 10, Friday May 11, 2007.


This assessment item carries a weighting of 50%.  A mark of 25% is needed to gain 50% which is the minimum mark required for a pass in this assignment.  

Responsible, professional practice requires nurses to understand and apply the professional standards and codes that influence clinical decision making and the outcomes of health care.  This ability is one of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMC) competencies required for all registered nurses.  

This assignment has been designed to help you explore some of the elements of responsible, professional practice.


You are the registered nurse on the floor of an eight bed general ward.  The other members of your team are an enrolled nurse, an unlicensed health care worker (Assistant in Nursing) and a nursing student from the regional university.  A 20 year old patient has been admitted into your ward for treatment of chronic constipation.

Applying the context of the scenario, explore and discuss each of the following elements:



Scope of Practice and delegation of duties

Law and ethics

Infection control

Professionalism and Code of Conduct

Each element is to be discussed within a word limit of 200 words and referenced correctly using only references that could be used as valid evidence for safe, responsible nursing practice.

Write an introduction of 50-75 words.

Your conclusion of 100-150 words should be presented as a summary of the learning outcomes you have achieved while reading, researching and preparing the information used to complete this assignment.

Your assignment will be marked using the following criteria:


Succinct, clear introduction which defines the aim(s) of the assignment

A conclusion that presents a clear summary of the learning outcomes you have achieved while completing the assignment

Clear written expression

Accurate grammatical presentation

Accurate spelling

Non-sexist language

Within word limit (+/- 10%)

12 marks

Use of valid references with appropriate referencing:

Evidence in the assignment of appropriate use of relevant literature

All sources of information are correctly acknowledged

Harvard style referencing/citations used correctly throughout the assignment

Comprehensive and accurate reference list included at the end of the assignment.

8 marks

3.    Content:

Context and purpose of the assignment explained

Elements discussed within the given context

Clear identification and explanation of each element validated by appropriate reference(s)

Evidence of development of an understanding of the relationship of each of the elements to responsible nursing practice

30 marks

NUR1140 Assignment Marking Sheet

Criteria 1






Poor presentation/legibility

Inadequate Introduction

Learning outcomes not clear in conclusion

Spelling/grammar/expression poor

Well below required word count

Needs improvement in some areas

Reasonable expression/spelling/grammar

Within +/- 10% of required word count

Sound/good excellent presentation in all areas

Meets required word count


Criteria 2






Very little use of literature

Literature lack relevance to context & elements

Literature used inappropriately

In text referencing and/or reference list absent or inaccurate

Reasonable attempt to use relevant/appropriate literature

Fair attempt to use both in text referencing and include a reference list

Evidence of wide reading of relevant literature

Appropriate use of relevant literature to support discussions

Good-excellent use of Harvard referencing (in text and reference list


Criteria 3






Elements poorly explained

Little relationship to context of practice

Lack of development of the element topics

Some elements discussed well

Fair relationship to context of practice evident

Some to fair development of most of the element topics

Good-excellent discussions of each element

Relationship to context of practice clearly evident in each discussion

Good-excellent development of element topics







Proposal draft (assignment 2) samples graphics16

Sample 1

This sample has been developed from the NUR1140 question above.

1. Thesis statement:

Responsible, professional practice requires nurses to understand and apply the professional standards and codes that influence clinical decision making and the outcomes of health care.  

(An alternate thesis could be…………The elements of responsible, professional practice can be witnessed in a nursing team’s treatment of a patient with chronic constipation).

2. Main points:

Introduction (50-75 words)

Privacy (200 words)

Privacy is one of the elements of responsible professional practice that need to be demonstrated in relation to a nursing team’s treatment of a 20 year old patient with chronic constipation.

Confidentiality (200 words)

Another of the elements that can be witnessed in the treatment of the patient is confidentiality.

Scope of Practice and delegation of duties (200 words)

Scope of practice and delegation of duties also need to be demonstrated by the nursing team in the treatment of the patient.

Law and ethics (200 words)

Law and ethics are important considerations in relation to the elements of responsible professional practice demonstrated in a nursing ward.

Infection control (200 words)

Infection control is one further element that needs to be demonstrated by the nursing team if they are to display responsible professional practice

Professionalism and Code of Conduct (200 words)

Professionalism and code of conduct are the final elements of responsible professional practice that need to be demonstrated in the treatment of a patient with chronic constipation.

Conclusion (100-150 words)

3. Introduction:

Responsible, professional practice requires nurses to understand and apply the professional standards and codes that influence clinical decision making and the outcomes of health care.  This assignment applies the elements of responsible, professional practice to a nursing team’s treatment of a 20 year old patient with chronic constipation. The elements discussed include privacy, confidentiality, scope of practice and delegation of duties, law and ethics, infection control, and professionalism and code of conduct.

4. Body paragraph

Privacy is one of the elements of responsible professional practice that need to be demonstrated in relation to a nursing team’s treatment of a 20 year old patient with chronic constipation. The team members include an enrolled nurse, an unlicensed health care worker and a nursing student from the regional university. Kerridge et al. (1998, p.128 cited in Chiarella 2005, p.405) define privacy as ‘one’s ownership of one’s body or information about one’s self’. Clients would not feel confident in telling their most intimate and private details if they could not expect that these would be treated confidentially (Chiarella 2005). Thus a member of the team, for example the nursing student, nursing the 20 year old patient would need to seek the patient’s permission before revealing any information the patient had disclosed to the registered nurse. According to Braunack-Mayer and Mulligan (2003), sharing information between members of the treating team, or between different treating practitioners, while a common and necessary practice in the delivery of healthcare, but should not be conducted without the knowledge of the patient. This would apply in the case of a young female patient who, according to Rowe (2005), is still an adolescent, suffering a potentially embarrassing bowel problem. (203 words)

5. Reference List

Braunack-Mayer, AJ & Mulligan, EC 2003, ‘Sharing patient information between professionals: confidentiality and ethics, Medical journal of Australia, vol. 178, no.6, pp. 277-279, viewed 12 February 2007,

Chiarella, M 2005, in J Crisp and C Taylor (eds), Potter & Perry’s fundamentals of nursing, (2nd edn) Elsevier, Sydney

Rowe, J 2005, ‘Conception to adolescence’ in J Crisp and C Taylor (eds), Potter & Perry’s fundamentals of nursing, (2nd edn) Elsevier, Sydney


Sample 2 graphics18

This sample is developed for the NUR1120 question.


Professional portfolio (PP) assignmentgraphics22

This assignment is a new initiative in the nursing program. As a consequence I am going to be asking you to evaluate your progress in developing your portfolio throughout the semester. I have included lots of samples as well a developing a navigation map for your portfolio development during the semester (see table below). Let me know whether these are helpful or how I could improve them for your understanding?

Navigating portfolio entries during the semester

Portfolio development plan graphics23

Table 1 Portfolio development plan


Professional Portfolio (PP) actions



  • Skim read portfolio guidelines/portfolio marking criteria rubric

  • Print a copy of the rubric for easy reference throughout the semester

  • Open a new word document  and create provisional headings Criteria 1-8 for PPgraphics24

This column is for you to tick off  after you have completed each task and pasted it into your portfolio PP graphics25


  • Complete CMS1008 learning profile online

Score and describe learning profile strengths and weaknesses

Copy and paste learning profile strengths and weaknesses into PP under Criteria 2 graphics26

Start to develop learning profile action plan and paste into PP under Criteria 2 graphics27

  • Complete MAT1008 ass 2 and paste CV into PP under Criteria 2 graphics28

  • Complete NSC1500 questionnaire & paste answers into PP under Criteria 2 graphics29



  • Complete NUR1120 and paste answers into PP under Criteria 2 graphics30



  • Complete MAT1008 & start to develop PP Table of Contents



graphics31graphics32Easter break    graphics33graphics34



  • Following completion of CMS1008assig 1/ MAT1008assign 3 write an assignment reflection & paste into PP  graphics35Criteria 2

  • Write week 8 student feedback evaluation & 3 write an assignment reflection & paste into PP  graphics36Criteria 8



  • Following completion of CMS1008 assignment 2 3 write an assignment reflection & paste into PP  graphics37Criteria 3



  • Following completion of NUR1140 assign 1 write an assignment reflection & paste into PP  Criteria 3 & 5 and paste NUR1140 assignment into Appendices graphics38



  • Following completion of NUR1120 assign 1 write an assignment reflection & paste into PP  Criteria 3 and paste assignment into appendices graphics39

  • Complete NUR1140 forms and paste into PP appendices graphics40


Sample pages: portfolio assignment

Criteria 1

Criteria 1


10 marks

Personal pages


Photograph/self portrait

Table of contents


Rationale/purpose/ summary statement

Curriculum vitae


Sample name/photograph/table of contents

This is part of the introductory page designed for a Carrick award in 2006. The page also included links to other pages (which were the award criteria) (and could substitute for a Table of Contents) and below that some quotations also linked to the other pages. It is a web example and whereas there are plenty of portfolio introductions on the web it is much more difficult to find examples of samples in word or hard copy. Also note that this reflects far too many years being an academic and when it was put together in 2006 I had the special help of graphic designer. Yours will be in word and are designed to help you right at the beginning of your nursing journey.

   Dr Jill Lawrence  | Faculty of Arts | University of Southern Queensland



My name is Jill Lawrence. I teach and research at the University of Southern Queensland, a regional and transnational university.

My driving force is making connections: with the diversity of students I teach, with my colleagues and with wider communities. So, in the spirit of Humanities and the Arts, I draw on the wisdom of others to make connections with you. The quotations below resonate with me, capturing the essence of my teaching.

Connections (in my teaching approaches)

“Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibres, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.” Herman Melville

Passion (in enhancing curricula and resources)

“I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.” Frank Lloyd Wright

Learning (fostered through assessment and feedback)

“If we value independence then we may wish to set up conditions of learning which make for uniqueness, for self-direction, and for self-initiated learning.” Carl Rogers

Diversity (celebrating and respecting student differences)

“We all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air.” John F. Kennedy

Engagement (in scholarly activities and research)

“Education becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” Paulo Freire

Criteria 2

Criteria 2


Learning journal

Learning profile (200-300 words)
Learning profile analysis (weeks 1-2)
Learning profile action plan (weeks 3-4)
Learning profile reflections (during the semester)

Goals/expectations/ reflections (400-500 words) in relation to:

  • University

  • Nursing program

  • CMS1008

  • MAT1008

  • NSC1500

  • NUR1120

  • NUR1140

Development of  skills/literacies (500-600 words)

  • Communication

  • Communication technology

  • Research

  • Database

  • Numeracy

  • Critical thinking

  • Interpersonal

  • Learning

  •  Study skills

  • Team work

  • Class participation

  • Time management & stress management

  • Others?

Sample Learning profile template

Battery items

Learning profile analysis



Learning  approaches



Conceptions of knowledge






Sample learning profile action plan template

Action plan

Reflection 1

Reflection 2













Sample goal template






1. Complete semester 1 and pass all 5 courses

(medium term goal)

Be positive

Develop assessment schedule

Work out timetable

Arrange baby sitting etc

Form a study group

Talk to support group and identify and tensions(family/friends etc)

Skim read course contents and introduction to develop overview of nursing program


Assessment schedule


Friends/family day care?

Use class time to make social contact

Family friends plan time in timetable


 Weeks 1 -17

End of week 1

End of week 1

Before week 1

Weeks 1-5

Before week 1

Weeks 1-2

I suppose I had always set high standards for myself in my working life and I perceived those academically qualified to have higher standards than myself.  To say I took on a major task, by trying to complete a degree and work part time, was something I don't want to do again. I need to be able to realistically plan and balance my time.

Skim reading and attending the tutorials helped me to understand more where the assignments were heading and why they are organised in the way that they are. I still feel annoyed that things are so confusing though.

2. Develop timetable (short term goal)

 Find template

Organise classes

Do regular reality checks (is it working for you?)

Change if necessary

 Class information

ALSonline for strategies to achieve your goals

 Weeks 1-2

Weeks 1-17












Sample expectations template



Perceptions now


I thought that lecturers would be ‘high and mighty’.

One problem I expected would be the (negative) communication between lecturers/tutors and me, backwards and forwards.

I thought of it as a lot like school, where you went into a classroom, you opened your textbooks, and you did this exercise, blah blah.  Very much like schools.  

It wasn’t indoctrinated, but it was drummed into us at grade 12 – if you hit uni, you’re not going to be spoon-fed, and it’s going to be a whole new world.  So I thought it would be academically reasonably hard…I thought it would be harder (academically) than it is.

I expected uni to be difficult and time consuming. I expected that I would have to work very hard to gain a pass. I expected to be in a class full of very capable people.

It’s really hard, coming from me, I’m telling you! Like I feel a lot different, being in my own environment, and when you come here it’s totally different…I’m not in control, if that’s the way to put it. I mean I’m not an ego-tripping person like I have to have total control. Although that’s a new challenge for me, also…because in the 18 years I’ve been self-employed, I’ve created a lot of personal challenges. But this is another one that I’ve created. Whether it’s a monster from the deep, I’m not sure?

My expectations of university were both realistic and unrealistic. I expected that almost all students would have concrete goals and reasons for studying what they did, but in reality, a minority had definite goals and future career plans and most were undecided and floating. Many were not sure of why they were at university, possibly because it was expected and a natural transition in study, rather than for personal goal reasons. I noticed that most mature aged students had definite goals and reasons for commencing tertiary studies. It may be because they have given up work and income in order to commence study, and so have much more at stake.

With a military background, university is the total opposite. At university you need to learn all the ‘norms’, which are very different. Casual wear versus immaculate uniforms and presentation. Choosing your own timetable: that was incredible. When I turned up on the first day, I did not know where to go or even how to read the timetable. Organising your study and assignments, everything is totally up to you personally, with so much responsibility left on yourself, when it is totally the opposite in the military, whereby you must fit into the group and not be an individual.

I think there’s an unwritten rule that you’ve got to complain about your teachers. Everyone has to do that at some point or another. Things like, they don’t know what they’re talking about, just basically incompetent. There’s always complaints about a unit that’s just completely irrelevant or pointless or not effective. Another unwritten law is not to get to lectures too early. I chopped and changed when I got there but I found when I got there fifteen minutes before there were maybe 2 or 3 of us in the lecture theatre…it gets to five to and then everyone just piles in. I’m really surprised that a lot of students never ever go to the computer labs and they don’t have computers at home, they just don’t care. Like when an assignment is handed in, I’m out there every night checking my results to see if its come in yet. My friends just don’t care. I think if you want to be a student, you don’t care, you get your results when you get them: get a bad result, then the lecturer’s an idiot. I was surprised at some of my friends, who’ve been out here for a while, don’t put the effort in that I was putting in. like going out to the library or the computer labs – they get it done just on time and they just get through.

Nursing program

I expected that study at university would be a solo affair and that it would be hard to make friends and enjoy myself. I though it would be all hard slog, that I would just go to classes and come home and then study.

I expected that in the first week I would spend ages running around but having no one really to do anything about my problems. That I would go and line up in a queue for 3 and a 1/2 hours to get some information, and then realise I’ve made a mistake.

As we were put into groups according to subject choice and timetable arrangement, we saw (and still see) these people all the time. It made a huge difference, especially in the first couple of weeks in that we already had a circle of friends…having someone with the same timetable as me has been really great as we get along really well – instant best friend. It was like a giant jump-start. Because I was settled with friends so quickly it was a lot easier to organise the work side of things…with other people to help and talk to.

I had ethical problems with nursing where I had to reflect on things, which are really tough…how you felt when somebody dies in front of you. They screw you up inside and it takes so long, because you’re feeling so wound up in it, it really makes it hard to write…It’s hard because it makes you think about it again and it brings it all back again. Partly as a debriefing, and partly just a way of thinking about what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it, rather than saying what you’ve done.


I thought this looked like an English subject and as I hated English at school and didn’t feel confident about my writing, grammar and spelling, I felt sure that I was going to have trouble in this course. It seemed to make me also examine my learning skills and I didn’t like this and I couldn’t see what it had to do with nursing.

Another thing I felt uncomfortable about was that the teacher said that it was a touchy/feely subject and I feel much more comfortable with black and white or right or wrong information

My expectations weren’t matched by reality. I realise now that this is not English as such but it is giving me the skills to do better at university. I feel more confident about the way information is structured and about how to reference information. As a result of the teacher’s feedback I have made a great improvement as I found that feedback helps a great deal. For example I discussed my approach with my tutor and she thought I was on the right track so that made me feel good.


Studying maths again was a frightening prospect, especially when I first saw some of the problems. My first reaction was “What have I done?” I have been putting off doing Foundation Maths for 2 semesters. I have done well in all my other subjects, but maths, well it’s like hitting a brick wall.

However I feel more comfortable with computing as I have experienced difference software and feel I can cope with study desk etc. I feel confident that the tutors can help me overcome any problems with computing.

Many of the staff have taken a personal interest in my work. I mean you wouldn’t expect that. It’s been…yeah it’s motivated me, it’s also given me the confidence to ask them questions and that’s something that has really helped me a lot.

As no-one is watching over you, it’s up to you – if you want to succeed, then you have to put in the time and effort to make things work for you.


I though science would be a struggle, intellectually: I still have this idea of university being like Oxford, Cambridge – the elite. So you’re expecting everybody to be very clever, and intelligent, and obviously working hard to get their degree but it wasn’t like that.  

Science is a complete language of its own, and in order to succeed or even understand the subject, you must have a clear understanding of the style of language and literacy. I have come a long way since the beginning of my degree, whereby I can now pick up most biology, physiology, chemistry and microbiology books in the library and I can understand most of what I am reading. When I first started the degree I would have not understood most of it, it would be like reading a foreign language. I also now understand the reason why science is communicated in its particular style, as the language and methods of science are the basic building blocks to any concepts. They are all inter-related, and so my degree in a way was learning the language and ideas of science, so that I can apply it to unfamiliar science (new technologies) and figure out for myself what the information means. This primes science students for on-going study during their careers, whereby they are required to refer to science journal articles to keep up-to-date with the rapid advances in science technology today.







Sample skills/literacies template

Skill /literacy

Reflection 1

Reflection 2


First of all I don’t know why communication is included as part of a subject. I can walk and talk and therefore communication well. Nursing is about technical and clinical things and I believe I don’t need to use communication in nursing.

On your first day here you are not sure if you know anyone; you tend to sit by yourself and try and shrink into the background. But once you start going to classes and meeting a few people and start having conversations with them, you become more comfortable with the environment…feel more connected to the university and more confident in coming here everyday…You need to interact with the environment to become part of it, you need to be able to interact with the people because they are the environment.

When I first got out here I thought how am I going to keep coming to all these lectures and they are boring…and what if I don’t succeed. After the first few assessments you get to learn how by asking questions and I went to study skills things, you basically learn what you’ve got to do – you’ve got to be able to listen, got to be able to talk to your teacher, got to be able to take notes, got to be able to study effectively, you’ve got to be able to use a computer system, these are all crucial.

The more I watch and listen to the lecturers and to other students who are working in Blue care and in aged care facilities the more I realise how important communication is. I need to be able to fine tune my communication to different contexts and purposes as well as be aware that it is a lot more difficult than I though in terms of potential problems and barriers.

This next example reflection has the added advantage of including in-text referencing which shows the portfolio reader that you have consulted the research base.

As a beginning nurse, it is an important part of my training to develop excellent communication skills by reflecting on my weaknesses and strengthening them. As found by Keatinge et al. (2002, p.19), not listening is an example of a communication in health care. I would like to learn more about body language, as this is a very strong communication tool and may indicate emotions felt by clients, and understandings by different cultures allowing me to assist with issues they may not be able to talk verbally about (Dowd, Eckermann & Jeffs 2005).


Dowd, T, Eckermann, A  & Jeffs, L 2005, ‘Culture and ethnicity’ in  J Crisp,  & C Taylor (eds.), Potter & Perry’s Fundamentals of Nursing, 2nd edn, Elsevier, Sydney.

Keatinge, D,  Bellchambers, H,  Bujack, E,  Cholowski, K,  Conway, J and Neal, P  2002, ‘Communication: principal barrier to nurse-consumer partnerships’, International Journal of Nursing Practice, vol. 8, no. 1 p. 19 viewed 27 July 2005, EBSCOhost database CINAHL, AN2002045706.

Communication technology

 …I found the library pretty daunting to start with, I avoided it for about the first two weeks then I came very early one day before any of the young students were there staring at this silly woman walking around. I asked one of the young fellows over there who was extremely unhelpful so I went upstairs and walked around and tried to work it out for myself.

 The skill of seeking help and information is vital as ultimately a student is responsible for themselves and their own study success, and if a student does not understand something, then it is essential that they seek help and information successfully and are able to effectively express themselves and their query for further assistance. If a student does not develop this skill, then they will suffer in silence and ultimately may fail their subject as a result of a small problem manifesting itself throughout the semester and subject. On many occasions I have sought information and help, in particular when working out problems. If I had not approached the lecturer, then my final semester results would have suffered. Clarifying the problem early also enabled me to better understand the subject matter, and future concepts that were taught. Don’t be afraid to ask if there were anything you’re in doubt about, rather it’d be better to be clear and sure about something than to be unclear and lose a lot of marks and a good grade because of it.





The last time I played around with a computer was when space invaders just came out so I’m finding that really hard; that’s the hardest.





Time management

The main barriers I find are having the kids at home and trying to get enough time… It’s time really. You’re racing around in the morning getting the kids organised. You’re racing off to uni. You’re going to uni and doing all your tutorials and everything, and then you’re going home and you’re having that family situation again, and finding that time to sit aside and say, “well OK this is what I’ve got to do”. I think my biggest barrier at the moment is organising time.  Because a lot of the work that you do at uni, even though you go to tutorials and that, there’s a lot more that has to be done at home, and it’s finding those extra 40 hours per week, with 4 kids and a husband who’s away, and home, and away, and home.  It’s not easy…Hubby’s very supportive, but kids I find aren’t that supportive.  They’re not willing enough to help in tidying up things, and everything…I’ve sat down and talked to them.  But, you know, you can talk ‘till you’re blue in the face, and they’re not going to listen.

Financially it’s a problem because I have to work. I don’t have a car and I work most nights, late, in hospitality, and then I have to get up early and be at eight o’clock lectures and I find that pretty tough sometimes…definitely financially it is hard…I finish at 1, 2 in the morning and the next day when you wake up, you get up, clean up the house, do a bit of washing, sit there and do your books. Before you know it its time to go back to work again. And then you get to Sunday afternoon, and the weekend’s gone and I think what have I done? I’ve got an excellent timetable and am organized at home, but there’s really not enough time.

Critical self-awareness

I have a little bit of self-doubt. I suppose the best way that I can explain it is that it doesn’t matter what knowledge I’ve got to now – it’s worth nothing.  I’ve really got to relearn – academic writing, academic life and academic study. I’m doing accounting – what I’ve learnt up to now and the way I’m being taught the theory now – there’s the conflict. What the theory is in the real world… so I’ve got to say “Okay, this is what I know, but this is what I’ve got to learn”. So I’m going through a purging of information, I suppose in a way, to come back to the result that is required in the academic atmosphere.

University is more process orientated. Outside of here you tend to think of a problem where you’d jump to a conclusion, but within the university – everything has a step to another level. Yes, I think the step-by-step process that every subject, every teaching university goes through, is a lot different from the outside world – it’s a mindset you need to take into consideration while you’re at university.

Participating in class


The tutorials helped me to make friends and I find my friends give me more practical help because they are the ones doing the research and finding stuff and trying to formulate ideas. I can ask my friends to read this and tell me if it was OK. It gives you a bit of confidence. And you can read theirs as well then you can say – oh, this is really good. Have I done that right? We push each other to learn from each other and I am finding that quite useful.

Balancing study

I’m again putting too much emphasis on keeping up with it, and everyone I speak to say that that’s an impossibility – lecturers and tutors and students. I thought, no, this couldn’t be an impossibility….this is what you have to do to achieve. I’m starting to learn that you just can’t do all this in one hit.  You have to let things go. But at the same token, I hope I don’t feel too positive about letting everything go, because you can catch yourself in a position that you swing from one to the other, and it’ll be a complete let down…So you’ve got to balance it all.

…That’s what I really did for the first week – was I just went round and read all the signs. What does it mean, what can I use, what can’t I use, who’s available, what’s it mean?  So what I really tried to do is after the first week I was here, I went home and made a list of the things that I thought were important to help me achieve what I wanted here. One was first of all how to research because, what I’m used to, and what the expectation is here are two entirely separate issues. So that was important to me. Going to the library and being able to find things quickly is important to me as well. So that was important. Second was that I had to look at what I wanted to achieve from the subject.  And then I had to look at my commitment level to that.  I also looked at the things such as, ‘Okay the consultation times are there – then I’ve got to use them’. To me, that’s just a free benefit – it’s there to be used.  And then I had to look at things on top of that, ‘Okay, how’s this going to impact on my home life’.  Because I’m one of those people, with what I do, I do 120%.  And that’s what I’m trying to do – is draw back, and think ‘Okay, I’ve got to find a balance’.  So that’s what I’m trying to do now is find a balance.

Criteria 3

Criteria 3


Academic journal

Reflections about assignments and development of research and academic literacy (1-2 pages)

Assignments (in appendices)


Academic journal

Reflection 1

Reflection 2

Academic writing

I can write essays as I did the tertiary preparation class. I don’t know why I need to do this again. I got a HD in the tertiary preparation course.

After doing an assignment or two I realised that I didn’t know too much about academic writing. I mean I have basic writing skills in the format of writing an assignment but its just not that effective and I didn’t realise that and that’s why I came to some of the study skills…one course was also helpful because it reinforced the information.

I am learning to play it by the rules because, if I don’t, I can’t survive and I won’t do well. Like with assignments…if I write the assignment the way I think, but don’t write it to meet the criteria, then I’ve not achieved its purpose and I’ll lose marks.

I didn’t realise that I need to fine tune academic writing skills to each specific assignment and subject. CMS1008 has helped me understand the similarities in academic writing and has helped me work out how to get maximum marks by fine tuning my writing and information to meet the needs of particular assignments. For example the introduction in NUR1140 is very small (50-75 words) whereas the introduction in the portfolio needs to be in more depth.


I was stressed out the first week. That was probably the most difficult thing… because of the learning curve… like referencing – what the hell’s referencing?  How do you use the library? So there’s a giant learning curve in the first fortnight. Knowing how to reference properly was important…the first assignment really daunted me. If I had known how to reference properly, I think I would have done a lot better in that first assignment. It’s the basis of all these assignments. And I didn’t realise how many assignments and reports there would be.

Initially I found referencing confusing. I didn’t understand that you couldn’t just copy and paste the citation on the data base and leave it like that in the List of References. I didn’t understand that I had to change each reference into the Harvard online system and put them in A-Z order by author. I lost marks by not understanding that referencing is very picky at university and you have to follow the rules and examples to the letter!  I also didn’t understand the difference between direct and indirect references. I find it hard to change the author’s words in technical writing into an indirect quotation

I feel more comfortable with referencing now. I realise that it is an important tool at university and that I have to be careful and consistent with it as little mistakes can send markers a bit feral.


I tend to write long sentences and didn’t realise what the green lines were in spell check. My sentences can sometimes be as long as 6 lines. I need help to work out how to get them to be shorter.

I did some draft paragraphs for Jill and asked her about ways to make my sentences shorter. She showed me on my draft and I now understand how to put one point in one sentences and write it directly too. This draft process is helping me to write better assignments in all my courses.


I feel frustrated about the databases as I am having trouble finding the article I need to for the CMS1008 assignment which also feeds into MAT1008, NUR1120 and NUR1140 course. While I like the way the one article can help get good marks in all these courses, I don’t feel confident in learning how to use the search engines well and especially how to find the right key word searches.

I made an appointment to see the Science librarian and she helped my by going over the search strategies and actually helping me find articles to use for the CMS1008 assignment. I took the article to the CMS1008, received 10 marks for it and now have a reference I can use in the NUR1120 assignment and in the first and second assignments for CMS1008.


The list of assignments looked so daunting but I know I need to work on them step by step.

I am starting to realise how important it is to get some feedback about an assignment before I hand it in. The plan for CMS1008 helped me to understand the way the assignment was being marked and how careful I need to be in obeying assignment directions.

Assignment structure


Understanding how to structure a paragraph with a main point was a major leap forward for me. Now I know that the main point is not an example or a reference but a main point that needs to be related back to the question. It needs to be in my own words too. I also realise that by including some in-text references and an example or two I can develop a well rounded paragraph and this is helping me to get through the assignments more quickly.

Research skills

I have learned a lot from studying at university, and I believe it has helped me think even more laterally than previously. It has also helped develop analytical skills and resourcefulness, for example when researching, how to research effectively and solve problems.








Criteria 4

Criteria 4


Nursing competencies / standards

Discussion of at least 3 of the 45 ANMC competencies following the Nursing Competencies Template Table below

National Competency Standards for the Registered Nurse (PDF 749KB)

 Professional Practice 1. Practises in accordance with legislation affecting nursing practice and health care:

Complies with relevant legislation and common law


Sample template

Nursing competencies/standards

Professional Practice                                                                     1. Practises in accordance with legislation affecting nursing practice and health care:

Complies with relevant legislation and common law  



Statement of justification


Evidence summary


Title of evidence


Appendix no


Criteria 5

Criteria 5


Graduate attributes (1-2 pages)

NB Students need to cross-reference this criteria with the section on literacies/ skills in criteria 2 (as you can see with the samples below I have copied and pasted information from criteria 2 above but also added some more reflections as they occurred to me)

Discussion of at least 1 skill/capability from each of the following 6 clusters (1-2 pages)

Graduate qualities, attributes and generic skills (PDF* 66kb) 

Core attributes & capabilities cluster: Communication skills Decision making skills Teamwork

Research & inquiry cluster:          Analytical and critical thinking skills  Problem solving skills Research methodologies       

Self-management cluster:                   Self-management skills  Independent learning skills Life-long learning         Intellectual autonomy

Literacies & contexts cluster:       Information      Cultural        Information technology     Numeracy            Local, national and international contexts

Personal & professional responsibilities cluster: Personal ethics & responsibilities Professional ethics & responsibilities Societal responsibilities

Discipline knowledge & skills cluster: Generic discipline attributes & capabilities                                                    Discipline specific attributes & capabilities     Discipline specific cultural, environmental & social context

Graduate attribute


Core attributes & capabilities cluster:

Communication skills

The more I watch and listen to the lecturers’ example and case studies and to other students who are working in Blue Care and in aged care facilities the more I realise how important communication is. I need to be able to fine tune my communication to different contexts and purposes as well as be aware that it is a lot more difficult than I though in terms of potential problems and barriers.

The 2 professional attributes subjects have increased my skills in communicating, culturally, interpersonally and technologically. I am much more confident as a result of the courses this semester.

Team work

The military is very group-orientated, and I think that university is actually very individualistic and extremely competitive. The military is also competitive, however if you ignore the group aspect of it, you will not get ahead. It’s really all about teamwork. At university you must have strength within the individual primarily, although uni students who work in a group are probably at an advantage if they are in a group and work together as a group. The teamwork at university is not as efficient as the military, I have noticed in the last 6 months. The attitudes at university were quite surprising.

Research & inquiry cluster:        

Analytical and critical thinking skills  

I started wanting to learn and was quite good at it. I also started to change the way I thought about myself. Going to uni facilitated changes in the way I think and I now have more of an opinion and can be more of an individual. Uni gives you the resources to have more of an informed opinion. For example I am no longer prepared to accept things at face value.

Self-management cluster:   

Self-management skills  

The decision to come to university, though huge, was just the beginning. That decision has led to a plethora of other decisions, both big and small. I hade to make decisions about time and stress management, and about how to balance study, work and the demands of my family. I didn’t realise how much support and organisation was involved. Despite the problems, which I choose to think of as opportunities to learn, I’ve made friends and know where I can get help if I need to. I’ve learnt that university is where I should be and I didn’t really believe it before.

It’s got a lot tougher for me. I haven’t got the support that I thought that I had. So that made studying a lot more difficult…it was a huge disappointment. Been extremely difficult to keep going…It comes down to the nitty gritty of how much work that you need to put in and how much sacrifice you need to make in your personal life. Others around me didn’t comprehend that I was going to be so involved and have so little time for them.

I’ve got the responsibility of a child, in particular an only child, and that is quite demanding on my time. I’m her mum, her best friend, her companion, her guide, and her discipliner.  She is at school in a composite class.  I have to keep my schedule between 9 and 2 to pick her up and run her around, so I lose a lot of hours. I see it as a barrier compared to a normal student, who has only got themselves to look after. It makes me prioritise, it makes me organise my life and the use of my time.

Lifelong learning

There is a Chinese proverb which says that when a teacher is trying to give knowledge, the student should not present with a full bowl, instead with an empty bowl and let the teacher pour the knowledge in. Then the student is to sift through the bowl for what they don’t know, and continue this process. Because as a student if you think you know it all, then you won’t learn anything. Learning is an on-going process.

I think it (university) will change the sort of lifestyle I will be able to enjoy because I will enjoy greater personal satisfaction and achievement that I wouldn’t have had, had I not attended university. A new attitude of not just learning to get the degree, but a change of philosophy of thinking and lifestyle including the understandings that life is continual learning process and that it is important to keep learning scholastically, academically, vocationally, and in all areas of life, even after university. University has helped change my way of thinking in making what I learn personal, part of me, instead of learning something just to get the grade, and not caring about it once you’ve got what you want.

Literacies & contexts cluster:    

Information literacy

The Science librarian helped me by going over the search strategies and actually helping me find articles to use for the CMS1008 assignment. I took the article to the CMS1008 class, received 10 marks for it and had a reference I used in the NUR1120 assignment and in the first and second assignments for CMS1008. This was the start of understanding how important this literacy was in a university environment. I have learnt how to use the data bases and this has led to my more effective assignment writing techniques. I also realise it will be skill that I can take into my professional career and even at home with the kids. It is a lifelong learning skill.


There’s a more multi-cultural blend amongst the students and staff than I usually encounter in my normal, everyday activities and life. That’s one of the attractive sides or appealing sides to me, because of previous experiences with other cultures – visiting Japan on a student exchange – I really enjoy and appreciate that.

I’m a pretty black and white sort of a fellow and a pretty hard bloke to get along with but I’m trying to broaden my cultural horizons! It’s a big learning experience for me, and I hope that by doing this degree that it changes my perspectives and my perceptions, and that I’ll become more culturally balanced. I’m accepting the cultural changes more now than I was.

University teaches you a different way of thinking. Rather than just accepting things, you learn to question, you learn to take a broader view of things and be a bit more broad-minded.

Personal & professional responsibilities cluster:

Personal ethics

I’m glad that I’ve just started, because I sit in classes and I see the people… you can just tell that they’re straight out of school – and I wouldn’t ever want to do that. I don’t think I’d be doing as well if I’d started earlier…It’s an old cliché – I now have life experience in terms of reading and communication skills – just the general skills that you pick up from having been in the workforce…I think reading people is a very big part of having successful communication…If I had have started when I was finished school, I would have been 16. It was me versus the rest of the world. I just think that if I had have gotten any negative feedback from a lecturer or tutor, I would have just thought ‘Oh yeah, crazy old fool’, or something to those effects, that you think when you’re 16.  

Discipline knowledge & skills cluster:

Generic discipline attributes & capabilities

The first few weeks until you get into the rhythm of study are difficult – then just as you achieve the rhythm the assignments all start lining up – and your time is shot.  It's an exercise in time management and discipline. I found it hard to turn my brain off one subject onto the next. I am the type of person that if I don't understand something it will haunt me and take over my brain until I do. This was very difficult as some subjects suffered as I tried to master concepts in others. Pre-reading for me was key – if I already knew what I was struggling with I would try to focus on this in the lecture hoping to "have the lid lifted on the mystery of the concept" and then I could focus on the tutorial questions and hopefully consolidate the learning. 

I’m glad that I’ve just started, because I sit in classes and I see the people… you can just tell that they’re straight out of school – and I wouldn’t ever want to do that. I don’t think I’d be doing as well if I’d started earlier…It’s an old cliché – I now have life experience in terms of reading and communication skills – just the general skills that you pick up from having been in the workforce…I think reading people is a very big part of having successful communication…If I had have started when I was finished school, I would have been 16. It was me versus the rest of the world. I just think that if I had have gotten any negative feedback from a lecturer or tutor, I would have just thought ‘Oh yeah, crazy old fool’, or something to those effects, that you think when you’re 16.  

Criteria 6

Criteria 6


Appendices (evidence items)

Appendices may include:             

Contact details

Registration details  



Employment summary  

Current position description

Professional memberships  

Professional development activities


Case studies

Criteria 7

Criteria 7


Student feedback/ evaluations

Evaluations of process, progress and content of professional portfolio: weeks 8 & 14

Evaluation reflection week 14 This is a sample written by an enrolled nurse and therefore not really applicable to your situation. However it does illustrate the kinds of reflections you can write here. It is 457 words in length.

The experience of preparing a portfolio for me was undoubtedly the most challenging task of my entire nursing career. Never before has there been on such a grand scale the requirement for nurses to verify extended clinical knowledge and clinical skills to meet the requirements for extended practice. For this reason the experience for me merged feelings of gratification with feelings of frustration at various intervals. I was largely unaware of the process of constructing the evidence, the presentation format and the time required. Taking the first step and gathering all the required evidence allowed me to realise the enormity of the task that lay before me. Nevertheless I was keen to strive ahead with it.

I recognise that reflective practice is critical to professional development, particularly when undertaking a new professional role such as that of a nurse practitioner. Preparing my portfolio was a fantastic tool for reflective practice. It enabled me to construct and deconstruct evidence and identify areas that I needed to develop. My professional development during this phase was truly evident and not only could I recognise this but, importantly, my colleagues could as well.

The time commitment needed to invest in a portfolio cannot be understated. The process of identifying evidence that can best articulate the recommended standards of the Nurses Board of South Australia (2006) is challenging and certainly a process by which the Nurses Board can eliminate potential candidates if it is felt they do not meet the requirements. This ensures consistency in the quality of nurse practitioners and that adequate support structures are in place from the very beginning. To produce quality evidence for a portfolio, it is advised that evidence be gathered as soon as you commit to the role of nurse practitioner. It is certainly not something you can do in a weekend. Due to the infancy of the position of nurse practitioner, there is time that needs to be devoted to establishing a need for the nurse practitioner role, defining a scope of practice, setting up policies and procedures relevant to the scope of practice, seeking avenues for dissemination of information, forming collaborative relationships with other health professionals and, most importantly, gathering advanced clinical skills that are essential to the role. I strongly advocate for completion of a Masters degree because this enables compilation of a large body of evidence over a period of time into a portfolio for submission to the Nurses Board. Preparing my portfolio enabled me to see the relationship between the core subjects I had successfully completed in my Masters program and my future role and responsibilities as a nurse practitioner. The portfolio assisted me in understanding the requirements necessary for making the transition to the challenging role of the nurse practitioner.

Melissa Curtis RN, South Australia (cited in Andre & Heartfield 2007, p.54)