Acute and Critical Care module (NB30101)

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Module code


Target audience

This module encourages students to adopt a critical, analytical and reflective approach to their practice. It is, therefore, suitable for health professionals who are extending their skills and knowledge in acute and critical care practice and are involved in the care of acutely/critically ill patients. This module can be undertaken as a stand-alone module or as part of the BSc Nursing or BSc Health Studies. 

Delivery details

This module will be delivered through online distance learning. These workshops will be recorded and available to all students online via My Dundee. The workshops include topics such as arterial blood gas analysis and ECG interpretation. Students will access all study materials and discussion boards through My Dundee.

Module aims

The module aims to enable students to enhance their knowledge and skills in the assessment, care and management of acutely / critically ill adults.

Module overview

Intended learning outcomes

Following further study, participation and engagement in the module, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate and apply knowledge of the relevant physiology and pathophysiology underlying the assessment, care and management of acutely/critically ill adults.
  2. Utilise appropriate tools and knowledge to undertake systematic and comprehensive assessments of acutely/critically ill adults, interpret assessment findings and recognise and respond to alterations in individuals’ clinical conditions.
  3. Demonstrate where appropriate, effective decision-making, clinical judgment and problem-solving skills to assess, plan, implement, and evaluate therapeutic interventions in collaboration with the multidisciplinary team.
  4. Recognise and explore appropriate actions in relation to some of the wider aspects including patient safety, person-centredness, legal, ethical and professional issues that have implications within acute and critical care practice.
  5. Review and explore effective teamwork and communication strategies necessary for ensuring safe care and practice.

Indicative content:

  • Systematic clinical assessments; monitoring and interpretation of assessment findings,
  • Acute cardiac care and rhythm interpretation,
  • Acute respiratory care and blood gas analysis,
  • Fluid and electrolyte balance, hydration and nutritional support,
  • Sepsis and shock,
  • Neurological assessment,
  • Pain assessment and management,
  • Acute medical emergencies,
  • Clinical decision making; Risk, patient safety,
  • Delirium,
  • Recovery from acute and critical illness,
  • Professional, legal and ethical issues,
  • Quality of care; person-centeredness; compassionate care.

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy allows students to apply critical thinking to their own area of clinical practice, and consist of 2 parts: 

Part 1: 2000-word written critical discussion on a specific clinical topic (67% weighting)

Part 2: 1000-word critical discussion on a contemporary issue regarding quality of care, namely; patient safety, compassion or person-centred care (33% weighting)

Module requirements

Students should have a relevant healthcare qualification e.g. registered nurse, midwife, or paramedic. Students are required to have access to a computer with broadband internet access. The module is not appropriate for students who have previously undertaken/gained credit for the Principles of Acute and Critical Care module which was discontinued in 2012. Students who have not undertaken academic writing recently are encouraged to undertake Introduction to Research Based Practice.