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Acute and Critical Care (PGCert)

Course Description

The Postgraduate Certificate in Acute and Critical Care addresses the complex care required by critically ill patients.

Patients can become acutely or critically ill at any time and the more ill the patient becomes, the more likely they are to be vulnerable, physiologically unstable and require complex care. Acutely or critically ill patients exist throughout many settings in hospitals and beyond, and there is a need to ensure the quality of care is delivered by knowledgeable health care practitioners.

This one year acute and critical care nursing course is suitable if you work in ICU, CCU, HDU, A&E, theatres, medical/surgical assessment units (MAU/SAU), pre-hospital care and general acute wards.

See the website http://courses.southwales.ac.uk/courses/709-postgraduate-certificate-acute-and-critical-care

What you will study

- Applied Physiology of Acute and Critical Illness
This module looks at critically analysing the impact of pathophysiology on acute and critically ill adult patients and to understand altered physiology. You will explore the consequences of acute and critical illness on homeostasis using a wide knowledge base of normal and altered physiology to understand key treatments. The module will also focus on cardio-respiratory physiology, neurological control and acute medical conditions.

- Care and Management of the Acute and Critically Ill
You will critically evaluate the complexity of care issues in relation to acutely and critically ill adult patients and analyse the context of that care. The effectiveness of care implementation across a range of patient presentations will be analysed with consideration given to the processes of assessment, monitoring and intervention.

- Legal and Professional Issues in Caring for the Acute and Critically Ill
In this module you will undertake a critical evaluation of service delivery systems from legal and professional perspectives. This includes the right to health care; upholding human rights; duty and standards of care; professional negligence and the application of these to professional practice in acute and critical care contexts. Topics such as life and death, euthanasia, legal definitions of death, organ and tissue donation are also considered in terms of the implications on practitioners caring for acute and critically ill patients.

Learning and teaching methods

You will study through a mixture of lectures,group work, patient scenarios, interactive tutorials and seminar presentations. You will need to attend University one day a week, currently our students are taught on Fridays at 9am-5pm.

Work Experience and Employment Prospects

You will develop personally and professionally within your specialist clinical area. The course will also enable you to develop a high level of skill in transferring complex theoretical knowledge into comprehensive, patient-centred and focused clinical practice.

Assessment methods

Modules are assessed through multiple-choice questions, viva voce (oral examination), assignments, Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE) and written evidence of personal and professional development. The OSCEs will take place in May each year and be completed as part of the clinical skills modules and involve undertaking a comprehensive patient history, examining a particular bodily system, and identifying a management and treatment plan for the individual.


Our state of the art Clinical Simulation Centre replicates an acute care NHS environment, providing realistic clinical facilities for our nursing and midwifery students and qualified healthcare professionals.

Visit the Acute and Critical Care (PGCert) page on the University of South Wales website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants need to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), or the HCPC (Health Care Professions Council) and have a HE Diploma or evidence of RPL (Recognised Prior Learning). You must already be employed and practicing within an acute and critical care environment. For the BSc (Hons) Acute and Critical Care programme, applicants require Professional Registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), plus 120 credits at Level 5 (Dip HE). Postgraduate Certificate applicants must meet the above criteria and usually possess a relevant Honours degree.

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Recipient: University of South Wales
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