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Course Credit

Half Course


January - April
Tuesdays: 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Course Coordinator

J. Ploeg
Ext. 22294,




All MSc (except PHCNP) students admitted to the Nursing Program are required to take this core course, and those PhD students who have not taken an equivalent course in their Master's Program. International students must have successfully passed the Canadian RN Examination (CRNE) or obtained Special Assigment classification from the College of Nurses (CNO) and be familiar with this requirement.

NUR 701: Theoretical Basis of Nursing


Students will carry out supervised clinical practice to provide them with the opportunity to develop advanced roles in clinical settings allowing critical appraisal of existing theories and testing of concepts relevant to the proposed research thesis topics or course-based focus. This component will be evaluated as pass/fail. Practice will be complemented by seminars focused on the related concepts and theories including biological, psycho-social, epidemiological and environmental perspectives. Evaluation will be based on a seminar and written assignments using theoretical frameworks appropriate for the clinical problems.

The Faculty of Health Sciences Health and Safety Office require that an 'Work/Education Agreement' form be completed for this course by the student and kept on file in case an accident occurs. For this reason, it is imperative that the 'Work/Education Placement' form be returned to the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies (Health Sciences), HSC 3H48, prior to the commencement of your clinical placement.

Course Purpose

A required core course for all Nursing MSc (except PHCNP) students.

Advanced health care practice requires intersectoral, interdisciplinary and theoretical approaches guiding the various levels of practice. Practice is broadly defined to include direct care, nursing education and health care administration. The purpose of this course is to provide the theoretical basis for clinical research and nursing practice. The course will provide the student with field-based experience allowing him/her to appraise critically existing theories and to test the concepts he/she is developing as a part of a thesis or the course-based focus. The course consists of two concurrent sections: the practice section and the seminar component.

Practice Component

Each student's practice experience will be planned and designed with the accountable professionals in the setting(s) no later than November with discussion with placement coordinator. The populations or age groups of interest will be identified (seniors, adults, parents, adolescents, children, infants, students) along with their circumstances (e.g. chronic illness, poverty, social isolation, well being, professional education). The circumstance (of problems or well being) of the student’s practice determines the student’s focus. For example: a focus on school-aged children could include the sectors of health education and social service. A focus on the working or disabled adult could include the sectors of health, labour and social service, whereas a focus on seniors could include health and housing, social services sectors. Wherever possible, the multicultural, voluntary, religious, recreation and leisure service sectors could be considered for their relevance particularly with respect to innovative ways of serving populations.

The practice component which runs concurrent with the seminar will consist of a minimum of 12 hrs per week for 12 weeks in practice settings (144 hours). During the practice component, the student will be expected to demonstrate an autonomous practice, independently carrying a caseload or identifying an area of practice and functioning in collaboration (association) with other professionals. The student will be expected to demonstrate a variety of conceptual, perceptual and executive skills to guide both practice and collaboration. In recognition of the levels of practice, the practice may also address theories of leadership in the context of a changing service system. The practicum will allow the student an opportunity to develop and test an integration of theoretical frameworks appropriate to the practice situation.


The practicum component will be assigned a pass/fail mark. The student, in consultation with the course tutor and preceptor will prepare a learning plan outlining in detail the objectives, and evidence that will be submitted for successful completion of the objectives of the practice component.

The student and preceptor will each prepare a written evaluation of the student's performance for mid term and, after consultation with each other, determine if the progress is satisfactory. If the progress of the student is deemed unsatisfactory, the student will receive in writing a detailed description of requirements in order to achieve a satisfactory evaluation. The final evaluation will be written jointly by the preceptor and the student. This will be submitted to the course coordinator. Categories of evaluation will be 'Pass', 'Incomplete' (due to illness etc.), and 'Fail' with no further opportunity to complete objectives.

The student will be expected to spend a minimum  of 12 hours in the practice setting per week for 12 weeks. Since the practice areas may be in hospital, in a clinic, with community agencies or in an institution, i.e. Nursing Home, or with a patient and family in a home or recreation site, the actual hours spent per week may vary, depending on the situation.

Seminar Component

The content of the seminar component will be drawn from current readings on application and analysis of theory and from the student's experience in the practice component. Students will incorporate relevant theoretical frameworks to the actual nursing problems dealt with by the student.

The seminar component of the course will require 3 hrs/week over the 12 week term. Students will critically appraise and integrate the various concepts, theories and theoretical frameworks selected for the evaluation of the actual practical problems. The students will be expected to participate in tutorials, make presentations, apply a relevant theoretical framework and demonstrate its use in addressing a specific nursing problem. Evaluation will be based on the seminar, annotated bibliography and scholarly paper.

Each session of the seminar component will be drawn from the practice of the students. Each seminar presented by the student would begin with a comprehensive, integrated formulation of a person or population's problems, circumstance and challenges in light of their resources (material, physical, social, or cognitive). Biological, psycho-social, epidemiological and environmental perspectives and theories relevant to the situation would be discussed for their applicability and usefulness in guiding interventions, service strategies and/or research. Relevant concepts and theories may be alienation theory, change theory, collaboration, attachment theory, the theory of learned helplessness vs. learned resourcefulness, and the biological basis of mood disorders.


In addition to being an active participant in the problem-based approach during weekly seminars, each student will be responsible for one 1 hour seminar (with ½-hour for class discussion) relating concepts or theoretical frameworks to a given nursing practice problem. This seminar will be worth 30% of the final mark. The seminar will be evaluated for content and presentation by the members of the class, the students’ supervisors (if present), the student, and the course coordinator (who makes the final assessment of the work). A review of the outline for a peer’s paper will be worth 15%. Thirty-five per cent (35%) will be awarded on the basis of a scholarly paper to be completed by the end of the course. The scholarly paper will be based on the application of a theoretical framework(s) for the solution of a nursing problem from the practice component. The remaining 20% will be awarded for an annotated bibliography. The annotated bibliography could focus on literature related to the student’s practice, seminar topic, scholarly paper topic, or thesis topic.

  1. Tutorial Performance: Pass/Fail
  2. Learning Plan and Clinical Practicum: Pass/Fail
  3. Seminar Presentation: 30%
  4. Annotated Bibliography 20%
  5. Review of Peer’s outline for paper 15%
  6. Scholarly Paper 35%

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