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Unit outline_

PUBH5421: Infection Prevention in Healthcare

Semester 2, 2021 [Block mode] - Remote

This unit will provide students with an understanding of the individual and societal risks of healthcare-associated infections (HAI) and the rationale for, and barriers to, their prevention and control (PC). A basic understanding of medical microbiology and communicable disease epidemiology will be assumed. The unit will cover such important concepts as: introduction to healthcare associated infections (what they are, why they are important; fundamentals of infection prevention and control); how infections are transmitted and how can we interrupt this transmission?; hand hygiene theory, practice and evidence; outbreaks, methods to investigate outbreaks, including strain typing and whole genome sequencing, and to contain them; rationales and strategies for implementation of HAI-related policies; antimicrobial stewardship and its importance in the development of multi-drug resistant organisms; and challenges faced with management of emerging infectious diseases and high-consequence infections. Attendance, in person, at workshops is strongly recommended, to enable participation in discussions. However, lectures will be recorded and available online after the workshops. Students who are unable to attend some or all of workshop sessions can view them, but generally not the associated discussions, online. Assessments are online. Students not attending face-to-face teaching will be expected to participate in online discussion.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Public Health
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge

Students are assumed to have a basic understanding of medical microbiology, epidemiology, and general infectious diseases.

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Ramon Shaban,
Tutor(s) Cristina Sotomayor Castillo,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment hurdle task (1) Hand Hygiene Competency
Video uploaded into Canvas
0% Week 04
Due date: 01 Sep 2021 at 17:00
~30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO2
Assignment (2) Surveillance Activity
Written assessment
25% Week 06
Due date: 15 Sep 2021 at 17:00

Closing date: 15 Sep 2021
1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Assignment (3) Outbreak investigation
Written assessment
25% Week 10
Due date: 20 Oct 2021 at 17:00

Closing date: 20 Oct 2021
1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO4 LO6
Presentation group assignment (5) Occupational Exposure Management
Group video presentation all students participating uploaded into Canvas
15% Week 13
Due date: 12 Nov 2021 at 17:00

Closing date: 12 Nov 2021
1 hour presentation
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO4 LO6
Assignment (4) HAI Behaviour Change Intervention
Written assessment
35% Week 13
Due date: 10 Nov 2021 at 17:00

Closing date: 10 Nov 2021
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO4
hurdle task = hurdle task ?
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes

Attendance and class requirements

This unit is delivered in on-line mode with modules across the teaching weeks of the semester.

Learning activities include asynchronous on-line lectures, directed readings, learning activities, assessments, and a sychronous weekly Zoom pop-in session.

The weekly Zoom pop-in sessions are scheduled for Wednesdays 9am-10am during teaching weeks of the semester.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

  1. Epidemiology of Healthcare-Associated infections in Australia. (2011). Ramon Z. Shaban, Brett Mitchell, Philip Russo, Deborough Macbeth. Elsevier: Sydney. ISBN: 9780729543637.  Hard and electronic copies can be purchased here: 
  2. Basic Concepts of Infection Control. (2016) International Federation of Infection Control. United Kingdom. For download from here: 

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Define and describe contemporary healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and their associated risk factors.
  • LO2. Describe the principles of infection prevention and control, and explore major barriers to optimal implementation strategies to prevent and control healthcare-associated infections.
  • LO3. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the major microbial causes of HAIs, including modes of transmission and organism-specific risk factors and preventive strategies.
  • LO4. Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of, and skills in, standard and transmission-based precautions and their use to prevent and control HAIs.
  • LO5. Design and critique protocols for the investigation into the causes and sources of HAI outbreaks and evaluate interventions designed to reduce the incidence of HAIs.
  • LO6. Critique factors contributing to the spread of communicable diseases and antimicrobial resistance in healthcare and effective contemporary strategies for prevention and containment.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No changes have been made since this unit was last offered.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.