MEDICINE 702 : Understanding Complex Clinical Systems

Medical and Health Sciences

2020 Semester One (1203) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Draws across domains of system science, safety science, complexity theory, and implementation science to help analyse how leaders understand and effect change in healthcare. A particular focus is on understanding how things go wrong and how organisational culture, power, and politics impact on models of effective leadership within clinical systems.

Course Overview

This course is designed with busy professionals in mind. It combines online videos and readings to prepare you for 6 small-group videoconference discussions scheduled fortnightly throughout the semester. There are 3 assignments and no final examination. These features mean that you can successfully complete this course remotely if you live outside the Auckland region.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: NURSING 775 or POPLHLTH 724

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe and explain the principles of systems science and complexity science and critically discuss their application to improving healthcare. (Capability 2.1)
  2. Describe and discuss the application of theoretical and practical knowledge to leading improvements within complex clinical systems (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 5.1 and 6.1)
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of how politics, organisational culture, and personal factors affect leadership within clinical settings (Capability 2.2 and 5.2)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 30% Individual Coursework
Assignments 45% Individual Coursework
Assignments 25% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3

There is no minimum pass mark required for each assignment. Assignments received late will lose 1 mark per day past the submission deadline.

Learning Resources

All of the learning resources for this course are available on CANVAS.

Course Contacts

Professor Cathy Stinear
Department of Medicine

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 12 hours of small-group discussions online, 54 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 54 hours of work on assignments.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Previous students in this course have enjoyed the well-organised online format, and been highly satisfied with the course overall. Their feedback has also helped us to improve the online powerpoint presentations by providing transcripts, and ensuring the videoconference discussions are well-structured.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

Published on 15/12/2019 06:47 a.m.