NURS 7020 Essentials in Vascular Access

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 401241

Coordinator Evan Alexandrou Opens in new window

Description Vascular access devices (VADs) are utilised in health care settings across the world. Nurses, junior medical officers and paramedics are typically at the forefront of having to gain peripheral venous access. Many important aspects of vascular access are taught in isolation which are typically brief and provide surface learning rather than good theoretical understanding that underpin sound clinical skill and safe practice required for inserting and managing VADs. This subject focuses on developing knowledge, competency and skills to safely insert peripheral VADs and manage most acute and chronic devices through access to online material, facilitated simulated workshops and practical application in the workplace with a nominated clinical mentor approved by the school.

School Nursing & Midwifery

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 1 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Postgraduate Coursework Level 7 subject


Students must be enrolled in a postgraduate program and practising as a registered nurse, paramedic or medical officer in a health care setting (and show evidence) or currently practicing as a registered nurse, paramedic or medical officer in a health care setting (and show evidence).

Assumed Knowledge

Undergraduate-level knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, especially the vascular system.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Define the concepts underpinning vessel health and preservation and relate them to clinical assessment.
  2. Synthesise aspects of clinical assessment to choose the most appropriate device related to patient condition and duration of treatment.
  3. Articulate and apply current evidence within an interdisciplinary environment when caring for patients requiring intravenous therapy.
  4. Demonstrate proficiency in core procedural aspects for the insertion and management of vascular access devices.
  5. Identify and respond to vascular access device sites at risk of failure or infection through appropriate strategies.

Subject Content

1. Introduction to Vascular Access
2. Vascular Anatomy and Physiology
3. Vessel Health and Preservation
4. Intravenous Therapy
5. Types of Vascular Access Devices
6. Peripheral cannulation, venepuncture and blood sampling (Traditional Pathway)
7. Strategies to reduce catheter associated bloodstream infection (CABSI)
8. Care and Management of Vascular Access Devices
9. Promoting best practice in vascular access
10. Techniques for difficult venous access
11. Ultrasound Guided Venepuncture and Cannulation (Ultrasound Pathway)


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Log Book: Supervised practice by clinical mentor. Five (5) supervised attempts of each of the following: Venepuncture, Cannulation, Accessing Devices, Flushing Devices, Dressing changes Semester long S/U Y Individual
Critical Review: Critical analysis of instructional video (applying best practice) 2,000 words 60 N Individual
Reflection: Critical Reflection related to vascular access practice. 1,500 words 40 N Individual
Practical: Attendance at all workshops & successful completion of clinical tasks Semester long S/U Y Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Phillips, S., Collins, M., & Dougherty, L. (2011). Venepuncture & Cannulation. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons.

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