Graduate Certificate in Critical Care Nursing
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1 Year Part-time

Study mode



January & July



Advances in technology and acuity of patient needs will have the most significant impact on nurses working in the critical care environment in the 21st century.

From extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in the intensive care unit to Transcather Mitral Valve Replacement (TMVR) in cardiology, nurses have to be aware of the influence of augmentation, a combination of human capabilities and technology, on future practice. This is also true in the multidimensional environment of the emergency department where technology can assist with assessment and diagnosis but the knowledge and experience of the specialist nurse are pivotal to patient’s outcomes.

Studying critical care nursing with ACN will provide you with the opportunity to explore the latest advances in technology and the associated nursing practice to meet the needs of the patient in the 21st century in each of the specialty areas in the critical care environment.

Our course is written by specialist nurses, for nurses and students are supported by a team of clinical experts, working within the speciality. Our electives allow students to further explore a specific area of interest from ICU to emergency and cardiac nursing.

Course overview

The Graduate Certificate in Critical Care Nursing enables students to develop specialist knowledge and skills required of a nurse in a variety of critical care areas, including coronary care, emergency departments and intensive care. This course fosters both academic and clinical competence enabling students to integrate theory into practice and further develop clinical decision making skills. Comprehensive multidisciplinary team approach is advocated to manage and support critically ill patients and their family. This course enables nurses to develop their professional autonomy and provide leadership within their chosen area of critical care nursing.

Students complete 4 units of study – 3 cores and 1 specialty elective.

Career outcomes

A Graduate Certificate in Critical Care Nursing is an investment in your future and will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to ensure better outcomes for your patients and progress your career, leading to opportunities in clinical education, management and specialist nursing roles.

This course is designed for registered nurses wishing to further their education in the practice of critical care nursing. It enables students to:

  • Develop a sound theoretical base for specialist nursing practice in a dynamic, complex and demanding critical care environment
  • Apply specialist level of clinical skills and abilities to optimise person-centred care delivery for critical ill people
  • Analyse complex clinical problems using critical thinking, evolved reasoning informed by national and international best practice guidelines
  • Discuss legal, ethical and cultural concepts related to providing holistic health care in a safe and cohesive critical care environment
  • Evaluate critical care leadership and mentoring processes which enable dissemination of knowledge, enhancement of skills and participation in collaborative research and lifelong learning
  • Critically analyse own role in fostering reflective practice and effective communication for continuous improvement of standards and quality in critical care

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

3 specialty streams are available: Cardiac, Emergency and Intensive Care. In each stream students will need to complete 4 units – 3 core and 1 specialty elective. One unit is studied per term.

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

Units of study

Unit typeUnit name & pricing

Course codes
10 008 2356 (January 2023 intake)
10 008 2357 (July 2023 intake)

Term 1 - CoreStress Response and Health Breakdown (277), Tier 1
Term 2 - CorePrinciples of Critical Care Nursing (281), Tier 1
Term 3 - CoreLeadership and Professional Practice (925), Tier 2
Term 4 - Specialty electiveChoose one specialty elective from the following:
*Cardiac Nursing (067) has a pre-requisite: you must be working in an area that has critical care cardiac patients to study this specialty elective.

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
  • hold current registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA); or the equivalent registering authority in your country of origin
  • meet the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia English language skills registration standard (nursing and midwifery) – please refer to the AHPRA website to download the standard
  • have a minimum of one year of postgraduate experience; and
  • be currently employed in the clinical area of specialisation*

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

*The below courses contain a compulsory clinical placement component and do not require applicants to be employed in the clinical area of specialisation:

  • Graduate Certificate in Child and Family Health
  • Graduate Certificate in Stomal Therapy Nursing
  • Graduate Certificate in Dermatology Nursing
Maria Baric

Maria Baric MACN, Nurse Educator – Higher Education
RN, MPH, BHSc, Certificate in Cardiac Nursing, Cert IV TAE

Maria coordinates our Graduate Certificate in Critical Care Nursing. With extensive clinical, management and nursing education experience, Maria’s skills include designing, delivering, assessing and evaluating programs in critical care and emergency nursing.

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: 10 008 2356 (January 2023 intake)
10 008 2357 (July 2023 intake)

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Contact us

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