Start Date

0.5 year(s) full-time

Program Code

Study as
Part-time only


$AU 3,120 per 0.5 EFTSL for students enrolled in 2024

Degree overview

  • This degree is exclusively for SA Health-employed Registered Nurses who have been endorsed by their employer to study.
  • Students can apply for the SA Health Clinical Specialisation Program scholarship to study their first course for free.
  • This qualification prepares Registered Nurses to broaden their career prospects in the specialty field of critical care.
  • Join a university ranked in the World Top 100 for nursing.1
  • Learn in our state-of-the-art, clinician-led, simulated hospital on campus.
  • Enhance your learning through evidence-based practice.
  • Learn from industry-experienced clinicians at a university with well above world-class research in nursing.2
  • Be supported by online learning resources, available to you 24/7.
  • Study with South Australia’s No.1 university for teaching quality in nursing.3

12023 QS Subject Rankings. 22018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA). 3ComparED (QILT) Student Experience Survey 2021-22, Nursing – Teaching Quality Indicator (Postgraduate). SA public universities.


This degree is exclusively for SA Health-employed Registered Nurses who have been endorsed by their employer to study.

This graduate certificate is delivered by UniSA as part of the Clinical Specialisation Program, an SA Health sponsored opportunity for Registered Nurses and Midwives to undertake an accelerated pathway into further clinical specialisations.

UniSA’s Graduate Ce_6010167.jpgrtificate in Nursing (Critical Care Nursing) will develop your knowledge and application of the professional, socio-ethical and legal aspects of care.

Students can apply for the Clinical Specialisation Program scholarship and have their first course fully funded by SA Health.

UniSA’s Graduate Certificate in Nursing (Critical Care Nursing) will develop the skills of registered nurses in critical care. You will learn how to independently provide safe nursing care for a variety of critically ill people, using a person and family-focused approach. You’ll grow your specialist, evidenced-based skills in nursing critically ill patients to further your career in intensive care, emergency care or coronary care.

High achieving students can seek further financial support from their employer at SA Health to study a second course, and complete the full graduate certificate funded by SA Health via the SA Health Recognising Academic Achievement Scholarship.

Students who want to tailor their studies to their career goals may be interested in our Graduate Certificate in Nursing or Graduate Certificate in Nursing (SA Health Clinical Specialisation Program).

What you'll learn

what you will learn_criticalcare.jpgYou’ll 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.

The first six months of study will cover:

  • evidence-based practice in critical care nursing
  • relevant physiology and pathophysiology
  • patient assessment
  • nursing management of critically ill people
  • advanced adult life support
  • respiratory support
  • cardiac assessment and electrocardiography 
  • renal conditions
  • gastrointestional and endocrine conditions
  • infection and sepsis
  • haemodynamic monitoring
  • neurological conditions
  • decision making
  • legal and ethical aspects of nursing care.

Over the final six months, you’ll study:

  • care planning and nursing management of patients with complex critical illnesses
  • use of technology in critical care
  • paediatric and obstetric considerations
  • retrieval of the critically ill patient
  • critical care standards 
  • pathophysiology of different shocked states
  • advanced respiratory care
  • advanced cardiac care
  • advanced neurological care
  • advanced renal management
  • trauma care and management
  • end of life care

Degree structure

Course name Area and cat no. Units Reference  
Introduction to High Acuity Nursing and Midwifery NURS 5172 9
Critical Care Nursing NURS 5118 9

Study hours

For each course you study, you will need to allocate time for planned learning activities. Depending on your study mode, these activities may include online discussion forums, virtual classroom sessions, lectures, tutorials, workshops, and seminars. You will also need to study in your own time to complete assignments, readings, and projects.

As a rule, most postgraduate study is completed part-time. If you are studying full-time, your studies should be treated like a full-time job, with approximately 35-40 hours of study per week. The full sum of these hours should balance your planned learning activities and your own independent study.



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

  • oral presentations 
  • clinical skills book 
  • Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
  • contribution to online discussion forums

Global opportunities

One of the key benefits of studying with UniSA 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

Why Graduate Certificate in Nursing (SA Health Clinical Specialisation Program) (Critical Care Nursing)

Why this Degree

UniSA's flexible suite of postgraduate nursing qualifications are designed to recognise your prior learning and advance your career prospects.

This online, part-time qualification has been designed to suit working professionals, with interactive online course materials and a 24/7 learning environment to enable you to organise your study to suit your lifestyle.

The curriculum of this graduate certificate is informed by UniSA's well above world-class research in nursing.1 You'll be taught by specialist postgraduate teaching staff and experienced clinicians, assuring you the very best in academic resources, learning facilities and support. 

Upon successful completion of a postgraduate qualification at UniSA, you may then be eligible to gain credit into higher level qualifications and reduce the overall duration of your study.

12018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).

Real-world connections

This graduate certificate has a focus on critical care nursing at your current workplace, where you’ll complete specific competency assessments. 

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

Online study

Online study

Much of your studying for this qualification can be done online. With interactive online course materials and a 24/7 learning environment, you can organise your study to suit your lifestyle. You can:

  • access videos and course resources online
  • engage with fortnightly virtual tutorials led by expert academics
  • participate in an interactive online learning environment
  • submit your assignments and get feedback online
  • use online forums for team work and communication.

Please note some mandatory on-campus workshop attendance is required at the City East campus. On-campus workshop requirements are detailed on individual course pages.

Advance your Nursing Career with Postgraduate Study

Hear from Dr. Allison Roderick, UniSA's Program Director of Postgraduate Nursing and Midwifery Programs, on how postgraduate study can take your career as an Registered Nurse even further.

UniSA Video

Career outcomes

Your career

Nurses play a key role at the forefront of healthcare service. With a qualification specialising in the care of critically ill patients, graduates will be able to continue working in the area of critical/intensive care units with advanced knowledge and clinical skills.

Industry facts


Employment for midwifery and nursing professionals in Australia is projected to increase by 56,100 (16.2%) by November 2025.

Australian Government Department of Employment, Occupational Employment Projections 2020


To November 2025, healthcare and social assistance is projected to make the largest contribution to employment growth in Australia – an increase of 249,500 jobs.

Australian Government Department of Employment, Occupational Employment Projections 2020


Employment for Registered Nurses in Australia is projected to increase by 46,500 (15.6%) by November 2025.

Australian Government Department of Employment, Occupational Employment Projections 2020

How to apply

Applications for February 2024 intake are now closed. 

Applying to study with us:


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 study experience and support

Our campuses have fantastic facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, workshops, laboratories, tech zones, and spaces 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 also has a variety of accommodation options to suit different requirements and budgets. Options include dedicated student accommodation and private rentals. See our long-term accommodation pages, or explore our student accommodation by Scape on Bank Street in Adelaide’s lively cultural precinct, an ideal 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 services provide you with all the support you need at university. You can access a full range of support services including academic and personal counselling, career advice, social support services, as well as those through our student association, USASA. When you become a UniSA student, you can also contact Campus Central for help with anything related to your degree. They will help you with your enrolment, ID cards, fees, timetables and more.

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

Your campus

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

Location This degree is delivered at the following campus.

Your study spaces

You'll have access to our unique clinician led, authentic simulated hospital and health service on campus, as well as a range of on-campus lecture theatres, learning and social spaces.

Your study spaces

Ask UniSA

More FAQs

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

Executive Director | Women’s and Children’s Health Network

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

Jennifer Fereday

Executive Director | 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

Director of Operations | Southern Cross Care

Jo Boylans.jpg

Jo Boylans

Director of Operations | Southern Cross Care

In my field, there is an indefinite pool of knowledge to tap into. The process of being engaged in learning at a postgraduate level, with current research and evidence-based information, keeps my scepticism in check and helps me remain curious. Having my employer cover my tuition fees due to my academic achievements is very rewarding. It encourages me to continue striving to learn and improve my skills.

Lauren Alexander

Graduate Certificate in Nursing (Critical Care Nursing)
Registered Nurse | SA Health

Lauren Alexander.jpg

Lauren Alexander

Graduate Certificate in Nursing (Critical Care Nursing)
Registered Nurse | SA Health