Key Facts

Course Title: Advanced Critical Care Practitioner
Course type: Postgraduate Certificate
Mode of Study:Part Time
Contact Details:Course Administration Office
Website: Go to School homepage
Faculty: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Subject Area: Nursing


Many critical care units have introduced new roles or have extended the scope of practice of nurses, technicians, physiotherapists and clinical pharmacists. These developments have been in response to variations in recruitment and retention patterns, the impact of the European Working Time Directive, increasing complexity of care pathways and technology.  The course aims develop skills and theoretical knowledge to a very high standard necessary to be clinically competent to diagnose and treat critical care cases; empowered to make high-level clinical decisions.

This module responds to the recent policy from the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine which recommends that all ACCP training is provided within a HEI; it will facilitate the recognition and transferability of this new role across critical care practice through supporting the achievement of mastery of clinical theory and skills, and unlike other PG programmes it requires the assessment of robust clinical competence on which the award is contingent.

Teaching within the hospital setting is overseen by the Local Clinical Lead (LCL) who holds an honorary contract with the University and is responsible for the delivery of the clinical components of the training.  The clinical competencies are aligned to The Department of Health National Education and Competency Framework for ACCPs (2008).

It is possible to exit this programme with the award of Postgraduate Certificate APP (ACCP) or continue with further studies to complete to a postgraduate diploma and full MSc award.

Aims of the Course

The aim is to prepare those currently employed as trainee advanced critical care practitioners (ACCP) for the roles and responsibilities of an autonomous, advanced and independent ACCP.

Students who successfully complete this module will be able to:

  • Apply advanced knowledge in the anatomy, physiology, pathology and pharmacology of critical illness.
  • Critically appraise clinical governance, policies and procedures of independent practice in relation to The Advanced Critical Care Practitioner.
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge and skills in critical care and provide a direct contribution to the assessment, treatment and planning of care, and evaluation of patients with critical illness.
  • Function as part of the critical care team and work within a defined scope of practice and to clinical standards agreed nationally and applied within the local clinical setting
  • Prescribe elements of care and treatment that will be delivered by other member of the healthcare team; refer for diagnostic tests and specialist opinion as required.
  • Critically appraise and audit current practice in line with current evidence base; demonstrate participation within the peer-review and appraisal processes.
  • Demonstrate a high degree of autonomy and authority to make clinical decisions, supervised by a medical consultant in critical care medicine.
  • Participate in the training and supervision of others.

Entry Requirements

  • Must be currently appointed as a trainee Advanced Critical Care Practitioner - with service agreement for undertaking the programme.
  • Normally, have completed a recognised independent and supplementary prescribing programme and a health assessment module (can be Level 6/7).

Course Content

  • Core anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology history taking and examination
  • Core radiology
  • Principles of microbiology
  • Principles of laboratory medicine
  • Clinical reasoning
  • Principles of pharmacology and prescribing technology in critical care
  • Discharge planning and rehabilitation
  • End of life care
  • Organ/tissue donation
  • Patient safety, risk management and clinical governance
  • Clinical leadership and management within the context of the multidisciplinary team learning and teaching
  • Communication
  • Surgical procedures - related to post-operative management and recognition of complications
  • Ethical and legal issues
  • EBP

Teaching and Assessment

The principal learning and teaching methods used in the programme may include:

  • Lectures, seminars and workshops: The core of each module delivery mode is a series of face to face tutor-led or group-led seminars or workshops.
  • Web-based learning using the Keele Learning Environment (KLE), Blackboard. All modules on the programme maintain an active web presence where module details and learning materials can be accessed on campus and remotely. 
  • Group work and peer support. All modules use focused group work and class discussions within face to face tutor time.
  • Project supervision. Participants on the MSc working on their dissertation / advanced work-based practice project are supported by group and one to one meetings with an experienced supervisor. In many instances, there will be an assigned co-supervisor to offer additional support and guidance from a clinical background.
  • Directed independent study. Most of the study hours for each module comprise independent learning by expecting participants to add depth and breadth to their knowledge of topics, to practice skills and to reflect on critical incidents and their practice. 

Additional Costs

Apart from additional costs for text books, inter-library loans and potential overdue library fines we do not anticipate any additional costs for this postgraduate programme.