Principles of critical care nursing | Australian College of Nursing

Education: 1800 265 534
Find out more

Membership: 1800 061 660
Join Now

Principles of critical care nursing

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

This unit of study is designed to provide students with an in depth understanding of the nature of critical illness and the role of a nurse in meeting the needs of patient with life threatening conditions. The unit of study allows the students to acquire advanced clinical knowledge that underpins the provision of expert care for patients in the critical care setting. The students will explore major system alternations and multi-organ failure characteristic of critical illness. Problem solving through critical thinking is emphasised in assessment and prioritising patients’ needs. Best practice guidelines are used to inform nursing interventions in order to optimise health outcomes for patients, families and the community.

Principles of critical care nursing

Unit of study code



Graduate Certificate in Critical Care Nursing

PG Single Unit of Study




277 – Stress response and health breakdown


Tier 1

Prescribed texts:

Marieb, EN & Hoehn, K 2013, Human anatomy and physiology, 9th edn, Pearson, Benjamin Cummings, Boston, International edition.

Co-ordinated by: Maria Baric 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: Respiratory assessment & management in the critically ill adult

a) Discuss the nature of critical illness across a range of clinical nursing contexts

Assessment 1 Online discussions x 2



Theme 2: Cardiac assessment, monitoring and management

b) Recognise the complexity of critical care scenarios and the dynamic nature of management tactics

Assessment 2 Quiz (30 questions)



Theme 3: Neurological issues in critical care

c) Assess the physical, mental and emotional status of a critically ill patient and interpret the relevant findings

Assessment 3 Essay (1500 words)



Theme 4: Metabolic and gastrointestinal issues in the critically ill

d) Formulate a multidisciplinary team plan to deliver optimal patient management

Assessment 4 Guided case analysis (3000 words)



Theme 5: Immunological aspects of critical illness

e) Appraise the use of technology and nursing procedures to promote therapeutic interventions in critical care




Theme 6: Introduction to Shock pathophysiology and management

f) Discuss current evidence based practice related to advanced multi systems support needed to manage the critically ill




Theme 7: Pain assessment and management in critical care

g) Evaluate nursing strategies to prevent  complications and optimise health outcomes for patients, family and the community




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.