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Start Date

0.5 year(s) full-time

Program Code

4GC042 (External)

Study as

Degree overview

  • Study at a university that is ranked in the World Top 100 for Nursing1.
  • Learn in our unique, clinician led authentic simulated hospital and health service on campus.
  • Practise your skills with residents of our virtual health community including interactive manikins each with their own persona, and real people acting as residents.
  • Further your career as a registered nurse by broadening your career prospects in the speciality field of critical care.
  • Enhance your learning through evidence-based practice.
  • Develop leadership and management skills.
  • Learn from well above world-class researchers in Nursing2, as well as from academics and industry-experienced clinicians.
  • Be supported by learning resources, available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

1 2018 QS World Subject Rankings
2 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)



As a Registered Nurse, you will develop specialist, evidenced-based skills in nursing critically ill patients to further your career in a critical or intensive care unit. 

The Graduate Certificate in Nursing (Critical Care Nursing) will develop your knowledge and application of the professional, socio-ethical and legal aspects of care, the management of clients experiencing acute health crises and the advanced clinical competencies for critical care nursing.

This qualification is offered online and part-time, with attendance required at some on-campus workshops. You will also complete competency assessments in your current workplace.

What you'll learn

What you Learn

This graduate certificate will provide you with the practical skills and knowledge to extend your professional expertise in the specialty area of critical care nursing. You will cover topics such as:

  • evidence-based practice in nursing critically-ill patients
  • professional, socio-ethical and legal aspects of care
  • management of clients experiencing acute health crises
  • advanced clinical competencies for critical care nursing practice

In the first six months of study you’ll cover:

  • evidence-based practice in critical care nursing
  • physiology and pathophysiology
  • patient assessment
  • nursing management
  • advanced adult life support
  • respiratory support
  • cardiac assessment and electrocardiography
  • cardiac disorders and management
  • neurological considerations
  • clinical leadership
  • decision making
  • legal and ethical aspects of nursing care

During the final six months, you’ll study:

  • clinical reasoning
  • care planning and nursing management of patients with complex critical illnesses
  • use of technology
  • paediatric and obstetric considerations
  • retrieval of the critically ill patient
  • clinical leadership
  • nursing accountability
  • clinical governance

Study hours

For each course you study, you will need to allocate time for learning activities. Depending on your study mode this may include online discussion forums, virtual classroom sessions, lectures, tutorials, workshops and seminars. Plus you will need additional hours to study in your own time to complete assignments, readings and projects. As a general rule most postgraduate study is completed part-time and if you are studying full-time you would need to allocate 12 – 26 hours of study when at university and 14 – 28 hours of independent study per week.



Your studies will incorporate practical, professionally-focused and research-based learning, so assessment types will vary. You can expect them to include:

  • online activities
  • portfolios
  • case studies
  • reports

Global opportunities

One of the key benefits of our School of Nursing and Midwifery is our ability to attract and retain internationally renowned researchers. You’ll learn from researchers and academics who are directly connected to industry and all of our clinical teaching staff combine teaching with industry experience. 

In addition, our diverse student population means you have the opportunity to gain global and cultural understanding, ideas and insights direct from your peers. 

Global opportunities

Degree structure

Course name Area and cat no. Units Reference  
Critical Care Nursing 1 NURS 5117 9
Critical Care Nursing 2 NURS 5118 9

Why Graduate Certificate in Nursing (Critical Care Nursing)

Why this Degree

This graduate certificate is a great option for those wanting the flexibility that comes with online learning and on-campus workshops – we offer accessible digital online learning facilities and dedicated support staff who are with you every step of the way.

Together with teaching staff who are above world-class researchers in Nursing1 and industry-experienced, you are assured the very best in academic resources, learning facilities and support.

As Australia’s University of Enterprise:

  • we are No. 1 in South Australia for student satisfaction2
  • we are the largest university in South Australia with more than 31,000 students
  • we are ranked 26th in the world's top 50 under 503

Our commitment to research with an industry focus is unprecedented in South Australia. In the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia evaluation, 97 per cent of our assessed research was rated world-class or above. We are also fast becoming a renowned centre of innovation and enterprise in the sectors that will drive Australia's future, including health and biomedicine.

1 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)
2 QILT: Course Experience Questionnaire 2015-2016 Overall Satisfaction Item
3 2017 QS Top 50 Universities Aged Under 50


Real-world connections

Learn from award-winning teaching staff, academics and health professionals via our online forums and virtual classrooms. This platform offers you the opportunity to learn from experienced clinicians in the field and build valuable industry networks and relationships.

Focus on critical care nursing at your current workplace, offering the opportunity for valuable competency assessment. 

We also host regular University-wide employee master classes and employment expos, and alumni events in Australia and overseas.

Online study

Online study

This qualification is offered online. With interactive online course materials and a 24/7 learning environment you can organise your study to suit your lifestyle. You can:

  • study online, including accessing videos and course resources
  • participate in an interactive online learning environment
  • submit your assignments and get feedback online
  • use online forums for team work and communication

Online study is available but some on-campus workshop attendance is required at the City East campus. These requirements are detailed on individual course pages.

Your career

The Graduate Certificate in Nursing (Critical Care Nursing) prepares registered nurses to work in the specialty field of critical care.  

Nurses play a key role at the forefront of healthcare service, with their contribution to client care imperative for the wellbeing of today's society. With a qualification specialising in the care of critically-ill patients, graduates will be able to continue working in the area of critical care with advanced knowledge.

Graduates can work as critical care nurses in critical/intensive care units in hospitals.

Industry facts


Employment for midwifery and nursing professionals in Australia is projected to increase by 58,700 (19.7 per cent) by November 20201.

1Australian Government Department of Employment, Occupational Employment Projections 2015


To November 2020, healthcare and social assistance is projected to make the largest contribution to employment growth in Australia - an increase of 250,200 jobs1.

1Australian Government Department of Employment 2017


Employment for registered nurses in Australia is projected to increase by 51,400 (20 per cent) by November 20201.

1Australian Government Department of Employment, Occupational Employment Projections 2015

What others are saying

The University of South Australia understands that quality teaching in nursing and midwifery goes hand-in-hand with industry partnerships. They work collaboratively across all health care services to design industry-informed curriculum.

Jennifer Fereday

Employment: Women’s and Children’s Health Network
Role: Executive Director

Jennifer Fereday, Executive Director, Women's and Childrens Health Network.jpg

Jennifer Fereday

<br />Employment: Women’s and Children’s Health Network

Staff who have upskilled with postgraduate study really shine through as motivated workers. We often employ people with postgraduate qualifications in our managerial positions as they have equipped themselves with those extra specialised skills.

Jo Boylans

Employment: Southern Cross Care
Role: Director of Operations

Jo Boylans.jpg

Jo Boylans

<br />Employment: Southern Cross Care

We offer high quality resources to assist student learning, including a simulated hospital and health service integrating the latest technologies, and our teaching is delivered by an outstanding group of nursing, midwifery, and allied health academics and clinicians.

Associate Professor Rachael Vernon

Associate Head of School: Academic, School of Nursing and Midwifery

Rachael Vernon

Associate Professor Rachael Vernon

Associate Head of School: Academic, School of Nursing and Midwifery

I have worked as a clinician, manager, clinical educator, academic, researcher and board director, and have been at the helm of national and local changes to organisational systems in nursing practice. I have an interest in aged care in hospital settings, healthcare policy and funding.

Dr Terri Gibson

Program Director

Portrait image for Dr Terri Gibson
Portrait image for Dr Terri Gibson

Dr Terri Gibson

Program Director



Every year, over 2,500 UniSA students are supported in their studies through scholarships and grants worth millions of dollars. Check out the scholarships below. One of them may be perfect for you. Visit our scholarships page for more.

More scholarships

Your campus

We have six campuses in metropolitan and regional areas, each with advanced facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, laboratories, and areas that simulate real work environments.

Location This degree is delivered at the following campus.

Your study spaces

As a nursing student, you will have access to our unique clinician led, authentic simulated hospital and health service on campus, and practice your skills with state-of-the-art interactive manikins. 

Your study spaces

Your study experience

Our campuses have fantastic facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, workshops, laboratories, tech zones, and areas that simulate real work environments. You’ll also find student gyms and campus sport activities to keep you active. We also offer flexible study options, with online resources available for accessing lecture recordings, virtual classrooms, library resources and learning support. 

Adelaide has a variety of accommodation options to suit different requirements and budgets. Options include dedicated student accommodation or private rentals. See our long-term accommodation pages for plenty of options. If you need somewhere to live, our new student accommodation by urbanest is on Bank Street in Adelaide’s lively cultural precinct, a perfect location for students. It is within easy reach of UniSA’s city and metropolitan campuses, Rundle Mall shopping, the Central Market, Chinatown, and the West End’s vibrant nightlife. It is also across the road from the Adelaide train station, and on bus and tram routes.

Student services

Student services

Our student support services can make your life at university easier. We provide a full range of support services including academic and personal counselling. You can also access a range of services through our students association, USASA. When you become a UniSA student you can contact Campus Central for help with anything related to your degree. They will help you with your enrolment, ID cards, fees, timetables and any other questions you might have.

24/7 digital environment

Our learnonline facilities include a personal learning environment with virtual classrooms, lecture recordings, emails, learning support, administration, library access and results. The environment is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you can tailor your learning to your life. We are continually investing in innovative digital technologies for a high-quality student learning experience.

Student services

How to apply

Applying to study with us:

  • check the Postgraduate Health Science Closing Dates page for application closing dates
  • go to the top of this page and make note of the SATAC code, then click Apply
  • you will be redirected through to the SATAC website to continue your application

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