Course Title: Professional Development in Critical Care Nursing Practice

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Professional Development in Critical Care Nursing Practice

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012

Course Coordinator: Jane Mateer

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7546

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 201.7.05

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Prerequisite capabilities are developed from a bachelor degree in nursing and professional development and experiential learning acquired as a practising Division 1 nurse. The student must be currently employed in a critical care unit throughout the duration of the course.

Course Description

This course aims to assist in the clinical application of the theoretical concepts developed in the other three courses of the Graduate Certificate in Critical Care Nursing. The course is designed to assist students in analysing and synthesizing this knowledge through reflective practice. Students will develop an appreciation of the importance of evidence-based best practices through critical examination of the clinical environment. Students will develop an understanding of the implications of advances in technology of critical care nursing practice and gain the expertise to use this technology in the clinical setting. The students will also be provided with the opportunity to critically reflect on the effects of political, economic, legal, ethical and cultural issues on the critical care environment, patients and significant others.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

The dimensions of capability developed in the course include:

  • 3. Advanced knowledge in specialist area;
  • 4. Professional responsibility and accountability to make ethical decisions;
  • 5. Apply an evidence-based approach to advanced practice;
  • 6. Operate as a team member to lead, manage and contribute to an enabling environment that promotes safety, health and human dignity;
  • 7. Facilitates the empowerment of others including diverse groups, through effective and therapeutic communication. 

At the completion of the course you should be able to:

  • Ability to demonstrate systematic clinical assessment and decision making skills necessary for safe effective care of the critically ill patient;
  • Ability to apply assessment strategies and tools relevant to care of the critically ill patient;
  • Ability to monitor and record data on the ongoing functional status of the critically ill patient;
  • Ability to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the rationales, effects and implications of therapeutic interventions relevant to care of the critically ill patient;
  • Ability to develop collaborative management plans incorporating multidisciplinary interventions applying evidence based principles;
  • Ability to demonstrate effective evaluation of patient outcomes and responses to interventions;
  • Ability to consistently and accurately identify situations of risk and respond appropriately ensuring a safe outcome;
  • Ability to demonstrate an accurate and comprehensive knowledge of legislation pertinent to the use of technology and the nurses’ role in the critical care setting;
  • Ability to recognise unsafe practice in regards to the use of technology in critical care;
  • Ability to demonstrate clear and accurate documentation required in the use of technology relevant to care of the critically ill;
  • Ability to effectively manage and coordinate care of the critically ill patient;
  • Ability to organise workload to ensure planned care is delivered;
  • Ability to demonstrate an understanding of the professional nursing roles relevant to the practice of critical care;
  • Ability to intervene appropriately to ensure a safe outcome when technology is being used inappropriately or in an unsafe manner;
  • Ability to establish, maintain and terminate effective interpersonal relationships with individuals and groups that facilitate informed decision making;
  • Ability to identify situations that may compromise the dignity and integrity of individuals and take appropriate action to achieve a safe and effective outcome;
  • Ability to communicate in a professional manner using the taxonomy appropriate to the critical care discipline;
  • Ability to demonstrate empathetic communication skills that acknowledge the cultural differences prevalent within the community;
  • Ability to establish and maintain collaborative and collegiate relationships with other members of the health care team;
  • Demonstrates a comprehensive knowledge of the effects and implications of evidence-based interventions and regimes;
  • Ability to incorporate research evidence regarding critical care nursing into practice;
  • Ability to evaluate the findings of research pertaining to critical care nursing;
  • Ability to contribute to knowledge relevant to the critical care discipline by consuming, engaging in and disseminating research findings.

The underpinning knowledge and skill developed in the course includes:
Students will be provided with a range of theoretical and experiential opportunities to acquire the essential knowledge and skills required to provide efficient, effective and safe care of the critically ill patient. In accordance with The Competency Standards For Specialist Critical Care Nurses (2002) the following content will be included in the program:

  • Anatomy and physiology pertinent to management of the critically ill patient;
  • Complex pathophysiology, management of illnesses and alterations of vital body functions;
  • Advanced physical assessment;
  • Knowledge of legal and ethical issues;
  • Knowledge of professional roles in critical care nursing;
  • Advanced monitoring and interventional technology relevant to the critical care specialty;
  • Collaborative interventions and plans of care incorporating current research findings.

Overview of Learning Activities

Clinical experiential learning
On-line learning content
Clinical presentations
Face-to face and on-line discussion
Internet based resources
Relevant scientific peer reviewed literature

Overview of Learning Resources

Lecture notes
Prescribed and recommended texts
MyRMIT Studies and on line resources.

Overview of Assessment

Practice-based portfolio
Problem solving exercise