Principles of acute care nursing | Australian College of Nursing

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Principles of acute care nursing

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The unit of study is designed to advance the acute care nurses ability to assess and manage acutely ill adults. Concepts explored in this unit of study will focus on factors used for the assessment and management of the deteriorating patient. These include advanced clinical assessment, tissue oxygenation and non-invasive ventilatory management, principles of electrocardiography and assessment and management of acute coronary syndrome; issues related to patients with neurological and gastrointestinal disorders; the pathophysiology of shock and the early recognition and management of the early stages of shock.

Principles of acute care nursing

Unit of study code



Graduate Certificate in Acute Care Nursing

PG Single Unit of Study




277 - Stress response and health breakdown


Tier 1

Recommended texts:

McCance KL & Huether, SE (eds) 2010, Pathophysiology: The biologic basis for disease in adults and children, 6th edn, Mosby Elsevier, Missouri.

Co-ordinated by: Cherry Millar MACN



Intended learning outcomes for this subject/program


After completing this subject, the learner will be able to:-

Assessment Tasks

Type of assessment

Not the completed assessment item. E.g. Assessment 1. Online discussion 


(% of total marks)

When assessed – academic week

(e.g. Week 8)

Theme 1: An overview of electrocardiography

a) Recognise the dynamic nature of acute illness across a range of contexts of practice through the analysis of a variety of case scenarios

Assessment 1 Online discussions x 2



Theme 2: Myocardial ischaemia and infarction

b) Perform and evaluate a clinical assessment of an acutely ill patient

Assessment 2 Quiz (20 questions)



Theme 3: Respiratory considerations in the acutely ill

c) Analyse assessment findings to evaluate patients’ current clinical condition and predict potential alterations in their condition

Assessment 3 Case analysis – Part A (1700 words)

Assessment 3 Case analysis – Part B (1900 words)









Theme 4: Clinical issues in neurological nursing

d) Develop advanced problem solving and clinical decision-making skills related to adults requiring acute care nursing




Theme 5: Clinical issues in gastrointestinal nursing

e) Implement and rationalise appropriate clinical management strategies in relation to the patient(s) underlying pathophysiology




Theme 6: Shock – pathophysiology and management

f) Critically evaluate current methods of treatment against available benchmarks





g) Critically reflect on your own values and beliefs in relation to the care of the acutely ill through an exploration of your values and beliefs.




Units commencing or have commenced in 2017

Tier 1$2,035
Tier 2$2,345
Tier 3$2,725
Tier 4$3,275

Units commencing in 2018

Tier 1$2,100
Tier 2$2,420
Tier 3$2,800
Tier 4$3,375

*Fees are subject to change without notice.