BSc Nursing Practice (CPD) / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Principles and Practice of Breast Cancer Nursing

Course unit fact file
Unit code NURS9307C
Credit rating 40
Unit level Cont Education/Prof Developmen
Teaching period(s) Variable teaching patterns
Available as a free choice unit? No


Welcome to Principles of Breast Care course unit. We hope that you will enjoy the varied learning experiences which this course has to offer over the next few months.  
The course unit has been running for a number of years and is constantly evolving in order to keep abreast of the changing nature of practice. This is undertaken through close collaboration between the University of Manchester School of Nursing staff and the practitioners involved in the care of the breast cancer patients and their families. This team approach aims to integrate theory into practice and is seen as an essential component of the course unit.
As breast cancer affects 1 in 9 women in the United Kingdom (Cancer Research U.K. 2009) the course unit is seen as an important component of the cancer pathway. Approximately 45,822 new cases are reported each year and 12,100 women die from the disease making it a leading cause of cancer deaths in women (Cancer Research U.K. 2009)  
It recognized that the disease evokes feelings of fear and dread and the diagnosis creates a range of psychological and psychosocial problems (Maguire 1994, &Corner and Bailey 2008)
There is a growing recognition that this group of women will need support in adjusting to the diagnosis of breast cancer and subsequent treatments, which may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and endocrine therapy. It is now widely accepted that breast cancer nurses with appropriate training and expertise should be integral members of the health care team.
During the course unit you will be given the opportunity to develop, extend and integrate your existing knowledge and skills in relation to delivery of care to this client group. Current treatment options will be discussed alongside broader concepts such as rehabilitation, health promotion and quality of life issues. An important component within the course unit involves personal and professional development and through the use of interactive workshops we aim to develop your interpersonal competence. 
You may undertake this course unit as part of your degree pathway, or you may undertake the unit as a ‘stand alone’ course unit.


  • To enable nurses working with patients who have breast cancer to develop and extend their knowledge and skills in the theory and practice of breast care.
  • To improve interpersonal skills in order to detect psychological sequelae of breast disease.
  • To increase skills of reflection, analysis and critical enquiry into the current issues relating to breast care. 

Knowledge and understanding

  • Critically analyse and evaluate the nurse’s role in gaining and applying the specialist knowledge and skills in relation to breast care practice.
  • Critically examine the ethical, legal, political and professional issues and evaluate how they relate to the management of the individual with breast disease.

Intellectual skills

  • Critically examine and reflect on the evidence in relation to psychological consequences which can lead to form a diagnosis of breast cancer.
  • Critically appraise the concepts of health, holism, rehabilitation and palliation in the context of breast disease and evaluate their utility in breast care.

Practical skills

  • Critically appraise your interpersonal competence and evaluate what benefit to patient care the acquisition of new skills may have.
  • Critically analyse and evaluate the role of the nurse in relation to health education/ promotion and early detection of breast disease. 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Critically appraise and evaluate how a research-based approach which reflects a holistic philosophy of patient care can promote high quality nursing interventions within a multiplicity of settings.
  • Critically consider the role of teamwork including voluntary and statutory agencies and evaluate how it might provide the highest quality care for individuals.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Students will normally have the opportunity to receive feedback on formative work submitted prior to the summative assessment. Other feedback opportunities will also be available in class and online discussion boards. Online feedback is provided in Grademark. Provisional feedback based on internal marking will be made available prior to the Exam Board on the basis that these marks are yet to be ratified at the Exam Board and therefore may be subject to change. A standard feedback mechanism in Grademark is utilised across all postgraduate programmes within the School which provides detailed and constructive feedback on each component and aspect of assessment and identifies areas of strength and those aspects which could be enhanced.

Student feedback is obtained through open discussion forums on blackboard, in class discussions, via formal University unit evaluation forms and also qualitative, in house evaluations at the end of the unit. 

Recommended reading

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 84
Tutorials 4
Independent study hours
Independent study 312

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Joanne Timpson Unit coordinator

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