NMHS42880 The Psychological Impact of Chronic Illness

Academic Year 2022/2023

This module aims to provide the student with a comprehensive theoretical background to facilitate understanding of distress in people with chronic illness including cancer and their families. A core focus of this module will be on the application of theory into practice. Using a framework that includes assessment and management, students will explore the challenge of chronic illness including the stress of diagnosis, the consequences of treatment, existential issues, difficulties with sexuality and communication and serious enduring mental illness. The importance and challenge of survivorship and palliative care as they relate to or impact on the individual with chronic illness will be addressed. A focus on compassion, empathy resilience and reflection to support professional self-care will be threaded throughout the module.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students will:
• Recognise and respond to the challenges and complexities of the provision of care in the context of the diagnosis of a chronic illness.
• Demonstrate how theory can be applied in clinical practice to enhance the experiences of people affected with chronic illness receiving care within our healthcare system.
• Critically appraise the relevant literature in the key areas of health behaviour, emotional wellbeing, communication, sexuality, and survivorship associated with chronic illness.
• Understand what psycho-oncology is and why it has emerged as an important area of study for health professionals working with people affected by cancer.
• Discuss the philosophy of palliative care and its application to various levels of need within the health care settings.
• Understand the importance of compassion and resilience to support professional self-care.
• Conduct a holistic approach to the assessment and management of distress, pain and other symptoms.

Indicative Module Content:

• The challenges and complexities of the provision of care in the context of the diagnosis of a chronic illness
• Psychological theory in relation to chronic illness
• Psycho-oncology
• Palliative care
• The role of psychology in the assessment and management of distress, pain and other symptoms
• Application of compassion, empathy and resilience theory to support professional self-care

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning


Conversation Class


Online Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Online lectures: Synchronous (live) and Asynchronous (pre-recorded); opportunities for group work online; Discussion Forum; Critical writing; Reflective learning as part of a face to face group session delivered online synchronous (live). 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Psychoncology (NMHS41080), Psychoncology (NURS41080)

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: Written Assignment (3000-3500 words) OR PowerPoint Presentation (recorded) 10-12 slides accompanied by a written summary (1000-1200 words). Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Journal: Reflective Journal (1000-1200 words) Throughout the Trimester n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Dr Michael Connolly Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Barbara Coughlan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Patricia Fox Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr John Gilmore Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Aoife Claire MacCormac Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Sarah Sinnamon Lecturer / Co-Lecturer