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Introduction to healthcare practice

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This is a practice-based module that – together with Introducing Health and Social Care (KYN102) – forms Stage 1 of the BSc (Honours) Nursing. Studying this module will develop your knowledge and skills for nursing or healthcare practice, and successful completion enables you to progress in your chosen programme of study.

What you will study

You’ll be introduced to the essential aspects of practice as you begin to develop skills such as questioning, problem-solving, communication and relationship management skills and numeracy and literacy skills with application to safe and effective care. Your studies will also include the essentials of medicines management, anatomy and physiology and health promotion and will help you develop and maintain the required currency and relevance of your practice within an ever-changing healthcare environment.

The theory element of this module requires 125 hours of study consisting of 16 learning guides which are studied alongside your work-based practice. Your tuition will be provided online by your module tutor who will support your learning and achievement in online tutorials, email or telephone-based discussions and feedback on your assessed work.

Learning Guides 1–7

The first seven learning guides are the essential building blocks from which you can begin to understand your role as a student and will inform the foundations of your learning and practice. Topics include: 

  • Becoming a nursing student in practice
  • Being a professional – as relevant to the focus of the overall programme that you're registered on, such as the BSc (Honours) Nursing 
  • Person and family-centred care
  • Communication skills
  • Medicines management and numeracy skills
  • Quality and safety of care
  • Infection prevention and control.

The module materials are developed in ways that support and encourage you to apply your theory learning to your practice. They will inform the development of your skills in practice and support you in being proactive in developing your competence in your practice setting.

Learning Guides 8–15

The next eight learning guides introduce holistic, personalised, person and family-centred care for people in different settings and different fields of practice. You will be encouraged to take a questioning and problem-solving approach to care delivery, and explore the rationale for care and underpinning evidence that informs how and why care is delivered in particular ways. Topics include:

  • Assessment skills and care planning
  • Acute and emergency care
  • Bladder and bowel health
  • Nutrition and hydration
  • Hygiene, skin integrity and wound care
  • Mobility
  • Promoting health
  • Supporting skills.

As you study the learning guides, you will continue to develop your skills in practice.

Learning Guide 16

In the final learning guide you will reflect on your ongoing development for your area of practice, and achievements so far. If you are continuing with your studies following on from this module, you will also look forward to the second stage of your qualification and how you will make the transition to working and studying at level 2.

Overall, this module will support the development of your practice. You will be supported throughout by your Practice Supervisor and Practice Tutor/Academic Assessor and your practice will be assessed by a Practice Assessor and your Practice Tutor/ Academic Assessor.

You will learn

This module contributes to a professional qualification. The following outcomes inform the content and assessment of the module:

  • Develop an understanding of how to be a proactive learner in the practice setting
  • Demonstrate professional values and behaviour in accordance with the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Code (Nursing students only)
  • Identify and discuss opportunities for health promotion activities in the practice setting
  • Demonstrate an ability to assess people’s needs using appropriate skills and tools
  • Deliver and document care, in partnership with people and families
  • Demonstrate a range of practical/clinical skills, as relevant to your practice, in the delivery of safe, effective, dignified and compassionate care
  • Demonstrate an ability to work with children, young people, adults, and their families, carers and colleagues
  • Display insights into own abilities and when to seek support in a timely way
  • Apply the values of equality, diversity, protection and confidentiality to your practice
  • Demonstrate resilience and acknowledge the impact and demands of practice on your personal health and wellbeing, engaging in self-care and accessing support when required.

Professional recognition

This module is one of a set that together lead to the professional qualification of Registered Nurse (Part 1: NMC).

Entry requirements

All students will need to be employed in a setting where they can gain appropriate practice learning experience under supervision and be assessed in practice.

BSc (Honours) Nursing

All nursing students will only be registered on this module if they have undergone the recruitment and selection process to the pre-registration nursing programme. Students on the pre-registration nursing programmes only will need to demonstrate:

  • an ability to work at level 2 literacy and numeracy (NVQ level 2 or GCSE grades A*-C)
  • certified evidence of 12 years of general education; this is an NMC requirement.
  • their suitability for their chosen field of nursing and the appropriate values, attitudes and behaviours for the programme in line with the current Nursing and Midwifery Council Code.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

Preparatory work

As this module is delivered mainly online it is important to develop your confidence in the use of IT. There are a range of local and online resources to support people in developing their confidence in their IT skills and you may wish to consider these as preparation for this module. IT support will be provided within the module including an OU Computing helpdesk and exercises you can complete to prepare for your studies.

What's included

Online learning materials and resources, Practice Assessment Document (PAD), 16 learning guides and accompanying resource materials.

You will also have access to a module website, through which teaching and library resources are available that provide links to current information and relevant research-based materials relating to module content.

There will be some online activities in which you will be expected to participate.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will be supported by:

Module Tutor – will guide you through the study materials, mark and comment on your written work and provide advice and guidance through email, online tutorials discussion forums and by phone.

Practice Supervisor – will support and supervise you in the development of your practice and contribute to your record of achievement and proficiencies within your Practice Assessment Document (PAD).

Practice Assessor – will work in collaboration with your Practice Supervisor to conduct assessments to confirm your achievement of proficiencies and programme outcomes for practice learning.

Practice Tutor/Academic Assessor – take an overview of your practice development. Will support the Practice Supervisor and Practice Assessor in readiness for practice assessment and in the verification of your achievements in your PAD.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

The end-of-module assessment (EMA) consists of an assignment and completion of your Practice Assessment Document (PAD).

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying KYN104 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Introduction to healthcare practice starts twice a year – in March and October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024 and March 2025. We expect it to start for the final time in March 2028.

Course work includes:

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
2 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
End-of-module assessment