Graduate Certificate in Acute Care Nursing
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Applications for Graduate Certificates in January 2022 close 15 December 2021.
Applications after 15 December 2021 will be considered for the April 2022 intake.


1 Year Part-time

Study mode



January & July



The 21st Century has seen shifts in the nation’s health care needs. This has been influenced by an increase in chronic disease, the ageing population, global health care trends and the impact of technology on surgical and diagnostic procedures (ACN White Paper, 2016). Statistics show that 1.4 out of a total 10.2 million Australian public hospitalisations in 2014-15 were for renal dialysis, and 1 in 4 hospitalisations involved surgical intervention the majority of which were day procedures (AIHW, 2016). As health care needs become more complex the role of the acute care nurse has become more diverse as has the need for more specialised post graduate education.

Course overview

Studying the Graduate Certificate in Acute Care Nursing with ACN will provide you with the principles required to meet the diverse needs of individuals admitted to the acute care setting, in order to improve your knowledge and skills for the provision and coordination of evidenced based person-centred care. The aim is to encourage professional and ethical understanding of clinical practice development to maintain quality and provide safe healthcare.

The subjects in this course were written by specialist acute care nurses and a team of clinical experts, working within the specialty, provide student support. Our unique range of elective units of study allow students to further explore their area of interest related to medical and surgical nursing.

Understanding the nursing management of adults admitted to acute care settings with acute medical or surgical conditions is the focus of this course. Students analyse and apply their knowledge and problem-solving skills to clinical case scenarios based on commonly encountered acute care presentations. The units of study provide students with an opportunity to extend their ability to undertake increasingly complex nursing activities in a range of acute medical and surgical care settings.

Career outcomes

A Graduate Certificate in Acute Care Nursing is an investment in your future and will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to provide safe and quality care and progress your career, leading to opportunities in clinical education, management and specialist nursing roles.

At successful completion of the course students should be able to:

  • demonstrate provision of competent interpersonal and clinical care to individuals through the acquisition, application and communication of specialist knowledge and skills which reflect professional and ethico-legal integrity
  • identify, appraise and apply research evidence to inform nursing practice and develop professional responsibility and accountability commensurate with the specialist role
  • critically evaluate available knowledge in relation to complex situations to guide the assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of evidence based nursing care
  • collaborate with the interdisciplinary team in provision of effective therapeutic relationships and continuity of care within the context of acute care nursing practice
  • consider strategies when caring for a culturally and linguistically diverse population and reflect on the health care team’s ability to meet the nursing and communication needs of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • create an effective clinical learning environment through demonstrating mentorship and the propagation of specialised knowledge and technical skill
  • demonstrate leadership through participation in policy development, service provision and quality improvement within the specialist context.

The Graduate Certificate in Acute Care Nursing is a one year course, consisting of four 10-week terms.

Students will need to complete 4 units – 3 core and 1 elective. One unit is studied per term.

Approximate hours of study are 12 – 15 hours per week.

Units of study

ACN offers two intakes per year in January and July. Important dates including start and census dates can be found here.

Flexible intakes in April and October may be available, please contact our Customer Services team for further details.


Tiers2022 Member price (10% discount)2022 Non-member price2023 Member price (10% discount)2023 Non-member price
Tier 1$2,133.00$2,370.00$2,196.00$2,440.00
Tier 2$2,434.50$2,705.00$2,506.50$2,785.00
Tier 3$2,862.00$3,180.00$2,947.50$3,275.00
Tier 4$3,420.00$3,800.00$3,523.50$3,915.00

Fees are subject to change without notice.

ACN offers a flexible payment option allowing students to pay their fees on a term-by-term basis. Each term’s fees are due upfront, prior to term commencement.

FEE-HELP is also available for eligible students. Further information can be found here.

Want to save on course fees?

Being a part of the ACN community allows nurses to be the best they can be and strengthen the voice of nursing through a range of invaluable benefits, including 10% off graduate certificates and other education offerings, exclusive networking events, access to support and advice on ACN’s online engagement platform neo, free online CPD courses and opportunities to be involved in shaping health care policy. Find out more and join our tribe today!

Admission to GC courses is based on academic merit and selection. In addition, applicants must satisfy any prerequisites or additional requirements specified for particular courses, including ACN’s general eligibility criteria.

All applicants seeking admission are required to:

  • hold a Bachelor of Nursing or registered nurse* equivalent qualification
  • be currently registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) or the equivalent registering authority in your country of origin
  • have a minimum of one year postgraduate experience
  • be currently employed in an appropriate clinical setting
  • Unique Student Identifier

*For some GC units of study, consideration may be given for applicants who are not registered nurses on an individual basis.

Sinu Thomas

Sinu Thomas, Nurse Educator – Higher Education

RN, BN, MN, Grad Dip (critical care), Cert IV TAE, Grad cert (emergency nursing)


Sinu Thomas is the course coordinator for GC Acute Care Nursing and Orthopaedic Nursing.

Sinu’s 17 years of nursing experience includes age care, medical (cardiac), surgical and emergency nursing (14 years). Sinu has worked in both leadership and educator roles. Sinu is passionate about education and believes it is the key component to ensuring quality nursing care, improved patient outcomes and nurse satisfaction.

Please ensure you read all course information and make sure you meet entry requirements prior to commencing the application form.

Applications for enrolment will not be progressed until all relevant documentation has been received by Customer Services.

Course codes: 10 001 2247 (January 2022 intake)
10 001 2248 (July 2022 intake)

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Contact us

For general course information:
Customer Services
t: 02 9745 7500