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Postgradaute Critical Care

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  • Objectives
    This course focuses on higher academic study underpinning a higher level of clinical practice in critical care provision and will be particularly appropriate for experienced healthcare professionals leading critical care practice. The academic aims are: • To provide a course of study which offers intellectual challenge, both academic and professional, by promoting skills of critical analysis, evaluation and problem-solving • To promote and enhance skills of critical reflection, criticism and synthesis to inform best critical care practice • To prepare students to provide coherent leadership in exploring, evaluating and establishing excellence in critical care practice
  • Entry requirements
    Applicants for the course will need to hold current first level Professional Registration with a relevant professional body such as the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) or the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP), and be working in clinical practice. Applicants should be experienced practitioners working in a critical care environment. In addition, applicants should normally hold a first degree 2.2 or higher. For applicants who do not hold a first degree, successful completion of an undergraduate Diploma in a related subject, a minimum of 5 years’ professional experience and evidence of recent study will be considered on an individual basis.
  • Academic Title
    MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate Critical Care
  • Course description

    Specific policy drivers for critical care provision, Comprehensive Critical Care (DH 2000) and the Audit Commission Report into Critical Care Services (DH 1999), identified clear standards for practice across multi-professional roles, in addressing the complex needs of critically/acutely ill patients. Demands for critical care are determined by patient need, contingent upon effective health assessment rather than physical environment, thus indicating a philosophical and clinical shift associated with critical care assessment and care delivery. This course serves to further enhance knowledge, understanding, clinical roles and skills of health professionals working at a higher level of practice within a critical care context.

    Course Structure and Content

    This three-year modular programme consists of 120 credits of taught modules and 60 credits dissertation to give a total of 180 level credits for the award. Successful completion is required within a maximum of 5 years and it is recommended that at least one module is taken per academic year. The taught modules will consist of 5 core modules and 1 elective module.

    Students undertaking this Masters programme would be expected to successfully complete all taught modules and the dissertation. Students completing only the 120 credits of taught modules may be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma. Students completing only 60 credits of taught modules (Research Methods, Health and Social Policy, Health Assessment in Clinical Practice) may be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate.

    Due to the modular design, students from other postgraduate courses may access modules as elective or stand alone modules, thus enhancing inter-professional and multi-professional education opportunities. Significantly, the modular design is also sympathetic to the needs of students who may wish to ‘step off/step on’ to the programme, thus affording accreditation of prior achievement.

    Course Modules

    Core Modules (total 105 credits)

    • Research Methods (15 credits) – This module will cover philosophical and epistemological issues, relating these to the different research methods associated with positivist (quantitative) and qualitative research approaches. Multi-method research will also be explored. Sampling and sample size considerations, as well as concepts of reliability and validity, will be addressed in the context of appropriate research designs related to different research methods. Quantitative methods of data analysis will be covered, including the identification and use of various statistical analyses. Qualitative data analysis will include, for example, content analysis and category formation.

    • Health and Social Policy (15 credits) – This module provides an opportunity to critically evaluate contextual and professional influences in health and social policy on current healthcare delivery and provides a political foundation for other modules. It will examine
    and evaluate the influence of health and social policy upon healthcare planning and delivery. A considered understanding of such political influences aims to locate professional practice within the broader political context and facilitates evidence-based healthcare.

    • Evidence-Based Practice (15 credits) – This module extends critical application of research activities at postgraduate level into healthcare practice. This module continues the opportunities to embrace inter-professional learning across multiple disciplines, and
    develops the students’ understanding of the role of evidence-based practice. The module enables the student to select and implement strategies for gathering and evaluating evidence, and encourages the student to analyse the practical and political ramifications of
    evidence-based healthcare in the contemporary healthcare arena.

    • Health Assessment in Clinical Practice (30 credits) – This module will facilitate the acquisition of higher level skills underpinned by advanced knowledge and understanding of health assessment in clinical practice. Utilising multi-professional teaching and facilitation,
    this module aims to critically enhance/advance a range of clinical assessment skills essential to the effective fulfilment of the student’s clinical role, relevant to their specific practice discipline. Physiological responses to critical injury and illness (30 credits).

    This module further extends health assessment in critical care by exploring physiological and patho-physiological responses to critical injury/illness. Utilising multi-professional facilitation and assessment, the module evaluates care management determined by detailed patient assessment which enables the acquisition of higher level practice skills underpinned by critical evaluation of theory. Integrating advanced knowledge and understanding with contemporary critical care practice serves to enhance/advance the role of experienced health professionals in critical care provision.

    Option Modules (must select at least 15 credits)

    • Contemporary Issues in Nursing Practice (15 credits)
    • Clinical Management ( 0 credits)
    • Diversity in healthcare (15 credits)
    • Developing work process knowledge for workplace learning (15 credits)

    Dissertation (60 credits)

    The MSc includes the opportunity to undertake a research dissertation on a topic associated with the course which will be agreed with the student’s personal tutor. Pre-dissertation tutorials will be provided to prepare students for undertaking research and the student’s personal tutor will undertake the role of research supervisor during the course of the dissertation.


    Assessment will be based on a variety of methods, principally written assignments. Students must obtain a minimum of 50% in each module to pass. Assessments in clinical practice will be undertaken by University staff and senior clinicians as determined by modular outcomes and students will require support from their managers to undertake assessments in practice.

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