NUR5923 - Intensive care nursing 1 - 2019

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

School of Nursing and Midwifery

Chief examiner(s)

Ms Rose Jaspers


Ms Rose Jaspers

Unit guides



  • First semester 2019 (Flexible)


Must be enrolled in a Postgraduate degree


The role of the intensive care nurse is diverse and challenging. Specialist knowledge and skills are required to care for patients with actual or potential life-threatening injuries, illness or complications.

This unit focuses on the development of core skills including: oxygen therapy, non-invasive ventilation, Intubation/extubation, mechanical ventilation, Tracheostomy care, haemodynamic, monitoring, management of shocked states and Advanced Life Support. Students will develop an understanding of the pathophysiology of disease states including cellular, respiratory, cardiac, and shock.

The student will develop advanced assessment skills underpinned by their knowledge of pathophysiology. The combination of knowledge and skill sets learned by the student will enable them to appropriately assess and manage disease processes and measure efficacy of interventions such as those stated above as well as pharmacological interventions. Assessment skills learned will enable the student to respond to an emergency and develop advanced life support skills.

This unit will encompass the development of skills that will enable the student to provide support for patients and significant others in ntensive care and will explore the intensive care nurses role in the multidisciplinary intensive care team.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Perform and reflect on clinical practice in accordance with the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses' framework
  2. Apply advanced clinical reasoning related to the pathophysiology of neurological, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine and renal systems in intensive care nursing
  3. Demonstrate structured holistic assessment of an intensive care patient involving neurological, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine and renal systems
  4. Plan evidenced based care for an ICU patient applying clinical reasoning related to the pathophysiology of their illness.
  5. Critique evidence related to assessment and therapeutic interventions used in the planning of care.
  6. Assess basic haemodynamic monitoring and analyse and interpret 12 lead ECGs, blood gas data and advanced respiratory findings, critically evaluating management of patient instability.
  7. Provide and evaluate care for patients requiring high flow oxygen therapy, non-invasive ventilation.
  8. Provide and evaluate care for patients requiring intubation, mechanical ventilation, respiratory weaning, tracheostomy and extubation
  9. Attain competency in advanced life support including safely transporting ICU patients to other clinical areas
  10. Define and state classifications of shock describing pathophysiology and causes, clinical features, treatment and stages of shock.
  11. Critically evaluate pharmacological and other therapeutic interventions used to manage neurological, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine and renal system conditions in specialist nursing practice


Students must be working as a Registered Nurse in an Intensive Care Unit for a minimum of 3 days/week


  • End of semester written exam (3 hours) (40% )(hurdle)
  • ISAP Case (2,250 words) (30%)
  • 4 x online Respondus lock down browser mediated quizzes (30%)
  • Clinical Assessment and Performance Appraisal Hurdle (hurdle)

Workload requirements

6 hours of contact hours and 6 hours of self- directed study per week

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study