Graduate Diploma of Nursing Practice (Critical Care)

Course summary for current students

Year2018 course information
Award granted Graduate Diploma of Nursing Practice (Critical Care)

Offered Cloud (online) with significant campus mode requirements at Burwood (Melbourne) or live via videoconference for distance students

Duration1 year full-time or part-time equivalent
Deakin course codeH667
Approval statusThis course is approved by the University under the Higher Education Standards Framework.
Australian Quality Framework (AQF) recognitionThe award conferred upon completion is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework at Level 8.

This course is an exit point from H771 Master of Nursing Practice

2015 MCR

Course sub-headings

Course overview

The Graduate Diploma course is designed to prepare nurses to meet contemporary challenges in the specialist field of critical care nursing and to progressively build upon knowledge and skills required to comprehensively care for critically ill patients. The course responds to the demands of industry and partnership/collaborating hospitals for nurses with sophisticated specialty skills and knowledge. The course links Deakin University with existing partners and a number of other collaborating hospitals, all of which have a high demand for specialist critical care nurses.

The use of both campus based and Cloud (online) learning offers convenient, personalised and engaging learning experiences using the latest digital technologies. You will enjoy a rich, interactive, personal and empowering learning experience designed for postgraduate nurses.

Team-Based Learning (TBL), a specific educational strategy that involves individual preparation, team discussions and immediate class feedback, is conducted at Burwood (Melbourne). Team-Based Learning assists students to further develop their critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork skills by applying recently learnt knowledge to real clinical issues.

A compulsory introductory five-day program at Burwood (Melbourne) is normally held in the second week of February.

On completion of the 6 core units and 2 elective units of the Graduate Diploma, students may elect to take an early exit from H771 Masters of Nursing Practice and graduate with a Graduate Diploma in Nursing Practice (Critical Care).

Students wishing to complete the Master of Nursing Practice by research and undertake the 4 credit point minor thesis must have completed HNN727 Research in Nursing and Midwifery, and must achieve a Distinction or above for 75% of the units undertaken in the Graduate Diploma of Nursing Practice specialty course.

Indicative student workload

As a student in a Cloud (online) course in the Faculty of Health you will be expected to spend 11-13 hours every week studying, interacting via CloudDeakin and completing assessment tasks for each unit in your course. You will also be required to attend Burwood (Melbourne) campus or live via videoconference for distance students - refer to individual unit details in the course structure for more information.

Clinical practice

Students normally are employed within a collaborating hospital for a minimum of 24 hours per week to support and provide a sound clinical learning environment for the clinical program requirements of the course. Where concurrent employment is not possible, clinical practicums may be negotiated.

Fees and charges

Fees and charges vary depending on your course, your fee category and the year you started. To find out about the fees and charges that apply to you, visit the Current students fees website.

Course Learning Outcomes

Graduate Learning Outcomes

Course Learning Outcomes

Discipline Specific knowledge and capabilities

Demonstrate safe, high quality clinical advanced decision making and psychomotor skills commensurate with specialty critical care theoretical knowledge, evidence-based practices and person-centred care.


Demonstrate proficient verbal, written and interpersonal communication skills using discipline-specific language and lay-terms necessary to assess and interpret data, convey ideas, develop plans of care and implement therapeutic interventions to ensure the delivery of high quality, safe nursing care to critical care patients. 

Digital Literacy

Use appropriate technologies to locate authoritative discipline-specific information and justify the selection of this information; and demonstrate the ability to proficiently evaluate, synthesise and disseminate the information to members of the multidisciplinary health team, and critical care patients in an ethical and professional manner.

Critical thinking

Identify, synthesise, analyse and critically evaluate complex data from patient and technologically-derived sources to inform advanced decision making in critical care that delivers safe, high quality nursing care in order to promote optimal patient outcomes.

Problem Solving

Proficiently apply specialised and advanced nursing knowledge and skills to routine, complex and ill-structured problems in critical care settings to achieve optimal patient outcomes.


Demonstrate personal autonomy, leadership, advanced clinical judgement, professionalism, responsibility, accountability, and reflection as a specialist critical care nurse.


Establish and maintain collaborative professional respectful relationships demonstrating professionalism, proficiency, open communication, leadership, responsibility and accountability to the multidisciplinary team, patients and carers.

Global Citizenship

Display accountability for, and advanced professional judgement in, behaviours that uphold ethical and legal principles of practice within diverse social, cultural and environmental contexts.


Course rules

The Graduate Diploma course comprises eight credit points of study. These include six units of specialty study and two elective units of study. Of the six specialty units, four units are concurrently offered as the Graduate Certificate program. The two elective units of study may be selected from a comprehensive range of units currently offered in the School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Both the theoretical and clinical components of the assessment for each unit must be passed in order to successfully gain an overall pass in this course. Compulsory clinical hurdles form part of the assessment of this course. Recognition of the importance of clinical assessments is calculated in the overall student workload.

Note: Failure of a compulsory practicum in a unit will normally lead to exclusion.

Course structure

Level 1

Trimester 1

HNN751Advanced Physiology and Patient Assessment *

HNN752Core Principles of Care for the Critically Ill Patient *

HNN750Inquiry Into Specialty Nursing Practice *

Plus one elective unit

Trimester 2

HNN767Critical Care Nursing 1 *

HNN777Critical Care Nursing 2 *

HNN788Advanced Concepts in Specialty Nursing Practice *

Plus one elective unit

* Domestic students enrol as Cloud (online) students, however there are significant campus requirements. Most classes are conducted in campus mode at Burwood (Melbourne) and are video-conferenced live to other venues.

Other course information

Course duration - additional information

Course duration may be affected by delays in completing course requirements, such as accessing or completing work placements.