This online short course has been specifically designed for registered nurses (RNs) and will provide fundamental knowledge underpinning critical care nursing

This self-paced course is comprised of 12 interactive learning modules focussed on the care of the deteriorating and critically ill patient requiring advanced cardiac monitoring and ventilatory support.

Learners are engaged through video, case studies, simulation and self-assessment activities which enhance and reinforce learning.

Designed For

The course is designed to support registered nurses who will be caring for critically ill patients in the acute hospital setting. In addition, allied health and medical practitioners may find this course relevant to their practice.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the 12 modules and case studies learners will be able to:

  1. Implement a structured and comprehensive approach to the assessment and management of patients requiring advanced haemodynamic and respiratory care
  2. Apply new skills in ECG and ABG interpretation to identify rhythm and conduction abnormalities, and mismatch in ventilation and gas exchange
  3. Apply knowledge of advanced concepts in haemodynamic monitoring and positive pressure ventilation to the management of patients requiring critical care nursing.

Course Units

Completion of the 12 modules totals 30 hours of learning focused on specific outcomes. Practice and safety alerts are drawn from key current guidelines to support practice. The 12 online modules draw from case studies to move through the critical care management of the patient with acute respiratory and/or haemodynamic deterioration.

  1. Core principles in assessing severe acute respiratory failure
    • Explain fundamental nursing assessments of the patient with a severe acute respiratory failure
    • Describe the key findings that are important in determining the severity of an acute respiratory failure
    • Explore the triggers and strategies for escalation of care for the patient with a severe acute respiratory failure through clinical case study analysis
  2. Management of hypoxic respiratory failure
    • Understand the indications for high flow oxygen therapy and non-invasive positive pressure ventilation
    • Understand the common modes, settings, terminology, risks and benefits of high flow oxygen therapy and non-invasive positive pressure ventilation
    • Understand nursing considerations for the critically ill patient receiving non-invasive ventilation through clinical case study analysis
  3. Arterial blood gas analysis and interpretation
    • Describe a structured approach to blood gas analysis
    • Explain the significance of the findings in the analysis of a blood gas
    • Explore key nursing considerations across a range of blood gas analyses from clinical case studies
  4. Airway management using rapid sequence intubation
    • Define rapid sequence intubation (RSI) and recognise indications for its use
    • Understand communication priorities and personnel involved when planning and preparing for RSI
    • Describe the commonly used drugs and equipment for rapid sequence intubation
    • Be familiar with the RSI procedure, from pre-oxygenation to extubation
    • Understand the risks associated with the RSI procedure and know how to mitigate them
  5. Invasive ventilation principles
    • Understand the most common invasive positive pressure ventilation modes, settings and terminology
    • Describe ventilator-induced lung injury and dyssynchrony.
    • Explore key nursing considerations for the critically ill patient receiving invasive positive pressure ventilation through clinical case study analysis
  6. Invasive ventilation management
    • Explain the common alarm parameters, modifications and nursing actions taken to minimise harmful effects and risks of mechanical ventilation on the critically ill patient
    • Describe the monitoring and evaluation requirements for the patient receiving mechanical ventilation
    • Explore, through clinical case study analysis, risk mitigation and management strategies in the mechanically ventilated patient with acute respiratory failure
  7. Haemodynamic monitoring
    • Explain the function, positioning and risks of invasive haemodynamic monitoring and blood sampling
    • Describe the key nursing considerations required to mitigate risk when managing the patient with an arterial line and/or central venous access device
    • Explore key nursing considerations for the critically ill patient with arterial and central venous access devices and pressure monitoring through clinical case study analysis
  8. Cardiac rhythm interpretation
    • Identify and explain components of the normal sinus rhythm
    • Identify the features of abnormal cardiac conduction
    • Recognise common tachyarrhythmias and bradyarrhythmias.
  9. 12 Lead ECG interpretation
    • Apply a systematic approach to 12-lead ECG interpretation
    • Identify patterns of ischaemia and infarction
  10. Haemodynamic support
    • Explain the most common intravenous fluid management strategies, vasopressors and inotropes used in the care of the critically ill patient
    • Describe the risks and benefits of the use of intravenous fluids, vasopressors and inotropes in the critically ill patient
    • Explore key nursing considerations for the critically ill patient receiving intravenous fluid, vasopressor and/or inotropic support through clinical case study analysis
  11. Neurological support
    • Describe the initial nursing assessment and management of patients with an altered conscious state
    • Describe key physiological concepts associated with primary and secondary brain injury
    • Recommend evidence-based emergency interventions associated with intracranial pressure management and prevention of secondary brain injury
  12. Care of the sedated and ventilated patient
    • Explain the fundamental nursing interventions for health promotion in the critically ill paralysed, sedated, ventilated patient
    • Describe the relationship between the fundamental nursing interventions and the risks associated with critical illness and admission to critical care
    • Explore fundamental nursing considerations and risk assessment for the paralysed, sedated, ventilated patient through clinical case study analysis


Engaging methods of self-assessment are used to provide formative feedback to learners with immediate feedback on responses to support self-paced, flexible learning.

The course will require participants to attain the following:

  • successfully complete all 12 modules (evidence as marked as “complete”)
  • achieve 80% correct answer for Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) across all modules (total of 60 questions) with a maximum of 5 attempts
  • completion of all case studies

A certificate is provided upon satisfactory completion of the course. Continuing Professional Development hours are also attributable on course completion.

Delivery Mode

Course completion requires approximately 30 hours of e-learning. This course is delivered online and students can study in their own time and location. Course materials can be accessed using a web browser.

Contact Us

Mobile Learning

E: mobile-learning@unimelb.edu.au

T: +61 3 8344 5673

Course Information


Course Fee: AUD $275 inc. GST

Discounted Group Rates: For discounted group rates for hospitals, schools or clinics please contact us mobile-learning@unimelb.edu.au