Skip to main content

The Practice of Critical Care Nursing

Watch our video
  • Delivery:
  • Credits:

This unit will progress to consider the concept of multi-system failure and explore relevant therapeutic, psychological and pharmacological interventions. With this developing knowledge you will begin to confidently assess, plan and deliver enhanced holistic care to the critically ill patient and their family to nationally agreed standards.

This unit is relevant to nursing and allied health care practitioners working within an adult critical care environment. It aims to enhance your knowledge base of applied anatomy and physiology in relation to body systems and explore the pathophysiological processes that may affect these systems leading to single organ critical illness.

The recently published National Standards for Critical Care Nurse Education document (Critical Care Networks National Nurse Leads [CC3N] 2011) has provided a framework to guide the creation of this critical care curricula.

This unit is available at Level 6 and 7.  

See more course details.

Key information

Next start date:

11th January, 8th March 2021


Bournemouth University, Lansdowne Campus


Five days

Entry requirements:

Students should have a minimum of 12 months critical care experience prior to enrolling on this unit.

Course details

The aim of this unit is to enhance your knowledge base related to physiological processes, and develop your ability to holistically assess critically ill patients and enable you to deliver appropriate nursing management to patients in their care.

Having completed this unit you will be expected to:

  • Assimilate a comprehensive knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of body systems
  • Undertake comprehensive holistic patient assessment that includes physical examination and interpretation of supportive medical data
  • Critically analyse and evaluate the assessment findings and the ability to plan care which will be supported by the latest evidence, research and local protocols
  • Develop an appropriate plan of treatment for patients within their care and critically evaluate their care interventions
  • Develop a therapeutic relationship with the patient and their family, and use of appropriate communication strategies to keep them realistically informed regarding interventions and progress.

During the unit, you will cover the following course content:

  • Homeostatic principles
  • Fluid balance
  • Respiratory system and supportive therapies
  • Cardiovascular system and haemodynamic monitoring
  • Cardiovascular support therapies
  • Renal system and supportive therapies
  • Nervous system and supportive therapies
  • Immunology
  • Gastrointestinal system and supportive therapies
  • Infection and infection control
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Role of the nurse in ITU
  • Communication techniques
  • Psychological care.

Download the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences CPD framework specification (pdf 635kb)


The unit will be assessed through a written assessment of 5,000 words.

Course dates

  • January 2021 start: 11, 18, 25 January, 1, 22 February 2021

  • March 2021 start: 8, 15, 22, 29 March, 19 April 2021

This unit requires approximately 200 hours to complete which will include lectures, seminars and self-managed learning. In addition to the taught sessions (approximately 30 hours), you will spend a minimum of 90 hours engaged in direct practice in your own clinical area, where you will be allocated a clinical supervisor.

You will also be required to undertake further study to complete the learning outcomes of the unit and assessment which is the equivalence of approximately 80 hours, and you should negotiate this additional student-managed time on a personal basis with your line manager.

Please contact us to check start dates as some dates may be postponed depending on student numbers.

Admissions Email: 

Phone number: 01202 964444

Entry requirements

Normally students may enter Level 6 study if they have been awarded:

  • An Advanced Diploma, HND, Dip HE or Foundation Degree (awarded by a UK HEI or Edexcel or SQA)
  • An equivalent qualification (the learning outcome of which are demonstrably appropriate in terms of knowledge, understanding and skills) equivalent to 120 credits at Level 5.

Normally students may enter Level 7 study if they have been awarded:

  • Undergraduate degree (honours or non-honours)
  • An equivalent qualification (the learning outcome of which are demonstrably appropriate in terms of knowledge, understanding and skills) equivalent to 120 credits at Level 6.

If you do not meet this criteria you are still able to apply for this unit but we may ask you to complete a study skills handbook to familiarise yourself with academic writing at Master's degree level. The study skills handbook will be sent to you when we have received your application form.

International entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements, for this course are normally:

  • IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.

You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our international entry requirements page.

Fees and funding

For individuals

You will need to pay or indicate employer support of payment for unit or course fees to the university.

Applicants working within the NHS or other healthcare providers may be eligible for support with funding from their employer through the Learning Beyond Registration contract with the NHS South of England.

Applicants should contact their employing organisation for further details.

Information if you are self-funding

If you are funding the course or unit yourself or your employer is sponsoring you outside a contractual agreement, you will need to apply directly to the university.

Once you have been accepted onto a unit or course, you will be sent a payment form which must be completed and returned on or before enrolment. The form requires that payment be made in one of three ways:

  • By cheque for the full amount made payable to ‘Bournemouth University’
  • By giving details of a credit or debit card
  • By invoice to your employer or other sponsoring organisation.

Full details of the invoicing address and the name, signature and position of an authorised person must be provided. Please note that invoices cannot be raised for you if you are paying the fees.

It is possible for you to pay your fees in installments and fees must be paid either by credit or debit card.

For employers

Pre-purchased places

The Faculty of Health & Social Sciences has contractual arrangements with NHS organisations for pre-paid places on specified modules including NHS South of England. If you work within Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire or the Isle of Wight you may be able to access the pre-paid places. These arrangements allow NHS Trusts to nominate the staff they wish to send on each unit or course.

The pre-arranged agreements allow individuals, such as yourself, a route to access appropriate professional development opportunities that are seen as strategically important to your organisation (in consultation with your Line Manager/Education Co-ordinator). Applications for these places are dealt with through your Line Manager/Education Co-ordinator and they will arrange for you to complete the relevant paperwork and application form. All application forms for pre-paid places must be signed by your organisation’s Education Lead.


Our CPD unit fees have already been discounted based on our Employers’ Scholarship Scheme, as such these units are not eligible for the Early payment discount and BU graduate discount.   

How to apply

In the first instance you should talk to your Line Manager/Education Co-ordinator to understand if there are any contractual arrangements in place and whether your chosen course or unit of study can be funded via this route.

If this situation applies to you, you must submit your completed application form via your Line Manager/Education Co-ordinator, who will forward it to the University.

If you are funding the course or unit of study yourself or your employer is sponsoring you (outside any contractual arrangement), please submit your completed application form directly to the university.

You can download an application form by clicking on the ‘apply now’ icon above. Simply fill it in and return it to us.

Please note: In some cases, we may ask you to provide additional references but we will advise you of this once you have submitted your application form.

Contact us:

Admissions Email: 

Phone number: 01202 964444

Career development

We have a range of individual units at Levels 5, 6 and 7 available which you can choose from to develop your skills in a specific area of practice. If you take further units of study you can begin to build your own qualification and gain an academic award for your work, depending on your level of study this may be:

  • BSc/ BSc (Hons) Professional Practice (level 5/6)
    If you have a Diploma or Advanced Diploma you can take this course to top-up to a full degree
  • MA Advanced Practice (level 7)
    If you have an honours degree and are aspiring to be an advanced practitioner, this route enables you to work towards a Master's degree award. Depending on how many level 7 units you complete, you can exit with a Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Practice.

These options provide a flexible route to gaining a bachelor’s or Master’s degree by studying in more manageable ‘bite-sized’ chunks.

Additional information

Faculty of Health & Social Sciences

Faculty of Health & Social Sciences

Learn how the education, research and professional practice delivered in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences make people's lives better.