Foundations in Acute & Critical Care 1

Subject NURS90003 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 25
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

On campus and field practice

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 42 hours on-campus lectures and 12 hours online tutorials. Field practice component of a minimum of 300 hours
Total Time Commitment:

In addition to the subject contact hours, students are expected to devote approximately 9 hours a week to this subject.
Students can anticipate a time commitment of approximately 24 hours per week concurrent field practice.

Prerequisites: NBV Registration (Unrestricted)
Students must be employed at an affiliated clinical agency and provide documentation of clinical support arrangements necessary to undertake the professional practice portfolio prior to enrolment.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's courses. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting this requirement are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Course Coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Assoc Prof Marie Gerdtz


Melbourne School of Health Sciences
The University of Melbourne
Level 5, 234 Queensberry St
Carlton Victoria 3010 AUSTRALIA
T: +61 3 8344 9401
F: +61 3 9347 4375

Subject Overview:

This subject is designed to promote the integration of theoretical and practical aspects of specialty nursing to support safe practice in caring for patients across the lifespan who are acutely or critically ill.

Students will become familiar with the unique environments of individual critical care practice settings and learn essential knowledge and skills to prepare, manage and 'trouble-shoot' equipment and technology required for patient care. They will learn the scientific principles and research evidence underpinning practice as well as the technical skills necessary to complete an admission assessment, understand admission findings, and identify patients at risk of life threatening complications. In the context of their practice as beginning level specialty nurses students will become familiar with immediate interventions required to establish and maintain patient stability, including, but not limited to life support techniques. The underpinning biological basis and evidence based principles behind treatment and symptom management (including pharmacology) of diseases/illnesses commonly treated in each critical care practice setting will be described.

Students engage in field practice in specific critical care environments to address learning objectives focussing on the application of theoretical knowledge to skill development and the practice of caring for patients who are acutely and/or critically ill.


Students will be expected to be able to demonstrate their beginning specialty nursing practice through:

  • integration of the theoretical content covered within the subject to develop new knowledge that supports safe practice as a beginning specialty nurse in the acute and critical care practice setting;
  • the ability to integrate knowledge and skills learnt in the subject to recognise and plan a response to patients experiencing alterations to health and wellness that occur in the specific context of acute and critical care environments;
  • the ability to understand and evaluate specialised interventions as described in the subject content to provide a foundation for participating in the delivery of care at the beginning level of acute and critical care nursing practice;
  • the capacity to use skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, rational inquiry and self-directed learning to apply knowledge learnt in the theoretical component of the subject to beginning level acute and critical care nursing clinical practice;
  • an understanding of the changing knowledge base in the specialist area;
  • the ability to apply scientific knowledge to understand skills and techniques applicable to the specialist area.

Theoretical Component 60%

1. Written assignment of 2000 words (25%) - due week 5

2. Closed book, 3 hour written examination (35%) - at the end of semester

Clinical Component 40%

3. A professional practice portfolio which must include evidence of clinical competency achievement and is equivalent to 3,000 words (40%) - due by the end of semester

Students must achieve a pass in both the theoretical and clinical component in order to pass the subject.

Prescribed Texts:


Recommended Texts: A list of recommended texts will be supplied to students on enrolment in the subject.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of the subject students should have developed the following generic skills of the Melbourne graduate and postgraduate coursework student:

  • a capacity to articulate their knowledge and understanding in oral and written modes of communication;
  • a capacity to manage competing demands on time, including self-directed project work.
Links to further information:

This subject has a multi-media tutorial component delivered via the University's on-line Learning Management System (LMS). Students must have access to appropriate computer facilities and the Internet.

Related Course(s): Postgraduate Certificate in Nursing Practice (Anaesthetics)
Postgraduate Certificate in Nursing Practice (Critical Care)
Postgraduate Certificate in Nursing Practice (Emergency)
Postgraduate Certificate in Nursing Practice (Perioperative)
Postgraduate Certificate in Nursing Practice (Rural Critical Care)
Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing (Emergency Theory)
Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing Practice (Anaesthetics)
Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing Practice (Critical Care)
Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing Practice (Emergency)
Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing Practice (Paediatric Critical Care)
Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing Practice (Perioperative)
Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing Practice (Rural Critical Care)

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