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Graduate Certificate in Primary Health Care Nursing

About this course

This course is designed for registered nurses either working or wishing to work in the primary health care environment (including general practice). The course consist of four units of study preparing students for work in the primary health care setting and consolidating clinical and professional knowledge.

The course will develop the nurse's understanding of the philosophies that underpin the delivery of primary health care in Australia and will enhance and expand clinical practice, assisting those nurses working in regional and rural Australia.

Career opportunities

The role of the primary health care and general practice nurse is expanding and evolving. In line with current health reform, nurses will be positioned to work to their full scope of practice embracing advanced practice and leadership roles. The graduate certificate in primary health care nursing will prepare the primary health care nurse for such a role and will give graduates a formal educational qualification that they can credit in what will become a competitive employment environment. The postgraduate certificate can be a stepping stone into further postgraduate study, research, advanced practice nursing or Nurse Practitioner

Major areas of study

The course includes studies in primary health care practice and philosophy, managing chronic and complex health conditions, and gaining skills in clinical reasoning and assessment. 

Assessment methods

A variety of assessment methods is used in this course including multiple choice examinations, short answer examinations, essay examinations, case studies, tutorial and workshop presentations, debates, written assignments, simulations and clinical skills testing.

For each unit there are usually two to three assessment items.

Teaching methods

On-campus students experience a variety of teaching approaches including face-to-face lectures and tutorials. Some units offer online activities, classes, pre-recorded and/or live lectures. The method of teaching may vary from unit to unit.

The online study option is highly interactive and strives to promote collaboration and a sense of community. Students may receive online pre-recorded and/or live lectures, electronic study materials, workshops, online discussion forums and virtual classes. The method of teaching may vary from unit to unit.

Advanced standing

Your previous learning experiences relevant to one or more units in this course may help you reduce the duration of your degree.

  • Recognition of formal and non-formal learning
    Credit may be awarded to a student for formal learning (gained through full or partial achievement of an accredited qualification or course) or non-formal learning (that takes place through a non-accredited course or program of learning) completed at Southern Cross University or in other learning settings in Australia and/or overseas.

To help you identify how much credit you may receive for your related prior learning visit SCU Pathways.

An application for advanced standing must be submitted so we can assess your prior learning. Please apply for advanced standing at the same time as you apply for admission into this course, because the amount of credit awarded will determine the sequence of units you will study.

 Go to course structure to see if specific advanced standing rules also apply to this course.

Learning support

Learning resources

MySCU is a student's point of entry to a range of online services and resources that support study and student life. The portal includes unit learning sites and information sites where students can access resources, communication tools and useful links that are integral to their studies.

The web-based study environment Blackboard Learn delivers an advanced online learning environment for students and lecturers to communicate and collaborate through virtual meeting spaces, classrooms, and discussion boards. They can share files, presentations and applications. If a tutorial or lecture is recorded, students can view it afterwards.

Learning materials include the provision of unit information guides, study guides and readings. Students may need to purchase or access prescribed text books.

The SCU Library provides a wide range of services that include face-to-face and online help, and access to print and electronic resources. To find out more, see the Library Toolbox.

The Academic Skills team supports student learning by offering online and on-campus academic skills workshops, assignment reviews and small group or one-on-one face-to-face, phone or Skype consultations during business hours 9am to 4.30pm. Appointments can be made via the MySCU Hub ‘Connect Now’ button or on the Academic Skills home page. Students can also book appointments online in Career Hub.

The YourTutor service provides online after-hours study support for SCU students. This service is available from 4pm to midnight Sunday to Friday via the 'Connect Now' button on MySCU Hub or from a link in nominated unit learning sites. The YourTutor service offers generic writing feedback and live online chat assistance for foundational concepts and study skills.

Equipment and facilities

Southern Cross University provides students with modern well equipped teaching spaces such as lecture theatres, classrooms, and studios or laboratories tailored to meet the needs of specific study disciplines. Contemporary audiovisual equipment is standard in most teaching venues, and students have access to computer labs for individual study purposes.

Course structure

See the University’s Rules Relating to Awards, in conjunction with the Specific Award Rules listed below.

Table of contents


Course requirements

To be eligible for the Graduate Certificate in Primary Health Care Nursing a candidate shall successfully complete all units listed in the Schedule of Units.

Schedule of units

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How to apply

Domestic students

The information on this page may be subject to change over time. Please check this page again before acting and see our disclaimer.

From the 1st of June, 2017, the term 'Distance Education' has been replaced with 'Online'