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Graduate Diploma of Critical Care Nursing

Postgraduate coursework

Take the next step in your nursing career. Gain the advanced specialist skills to play a pivotal role in the care and management of the critically ill.

Domestic International

Domestic student information

Key facts

Duration

2 years part-time
Note: this course is only available part-time

Locations

Current Deakin Students

To access your official course details for the year you started your degree, please visit the handbook

Course overview

Critical care nurses work in some of the most complex health environments across emergency departments, ICUs and other high dependency units. The advanced specialist skills required to manage and provide care to the critically ill as part of a multidisciplinary team are in demand now more than ever across regional, rural or metropolitan hospitals. Deakin’s Graduate Diploma of Critical Care Nursing prepares you to meet that demand.

Ranked #16 in the world,* our School of Nursing and Midwifery is one of the largest and best in Australia. By studying your Graduate Diploma of Critical Care Nursing at Deakin, you will be guided through industry-informed coursework by experts in critical care nursing and have access to the School’s extensive cutting-edge research, which is recognised as well above world standard.^

Are you ready to provide expert care to critically ill patients across a range of complex settings?

If you want to take the next step in your nursing career, our Graduate Diploma of Critical Care Nursing prepares you to practise effectively at an advanced practice level. As a graduate you will demonstrate ethical, safe, high-quality and expert clinical decision-making abilities within a multidisciplinary team. You will also gain psychomotor skills commensurate with specialised theoretical knowledge, evidence-based practice and person-centred care.

As a student of Deakin’s Graduate Diploma of Critical Care Nursing you will be challenged to advance your professional judgement by exploring the current and emerging trends, concepts, knowledge and evidence that provides the policy and practice framework around the speciality care of the critically ill.

Deakin’s strong industry connections ensure a high level of collaboration and support during your clinical practice. This means that while you study you can immerse yourself in your speciality practice area with one of our numerous metropolitan, rural and regional health partners across Australia.

This course enables you to:

  • analyse and provide advanced patient care in response to complex data from patient and technologically derived sources
  • demonstrate advanced clinical judgement leading to autonomous decision-making
  • practise critical thinking and reflection regarding current health environment issues and specialty nursing practice
  • explore and demonstrate an understanding of complex practice, transcultural, ethical and psychosocial concepts
  • combine advanced communication skills with professional knowledge to promote safe, high-quality care of the critically ill.

Second year elective units allow you to pursue your specific areas of interest and career goals. You can choose from complementary areas of practice to your specialisation, or undertake studies preparing you for roles in education, leadership or management. You will also have the opportunity to select a unit from anywhere across the university, further expanding your skill set.

Our innovative online program delivers a rich, interactive and empowering learning experience designed for postgraduate nurses. Live-streaming seminars and class discussions encourage critical thinking, problem-solving and teamwork skills. Australia’s top-rated tech support and access to our expert teaching staff means you can learn at your own pace, when and where it suits you, without compromising quality or support.

You will be challenged to become a leader in evidence-based practice, and a change agent to improve the quality of nursing care and patient outcomes of the critically ill.

Graduates are prepared to handle the contemporary challenges critical care nurses may face in a course that responds to industry trends and demands, and expectations from professional bodies. You will learn how to make a difference through roles in areas such as practice, education, leadership and research.

* 2023 ShanghaiRankings Ranking of Academic Subjects.
^ Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) 2018.

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Course information

Award granted
Graduate Diploma of Critical Care Nursing
Year

2024 course information

Deakin code
H667
Level
Postgraduate (Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma)
Approval status

This course is approved by the University under the Higher Education Standards Framework.

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) recognition

The award conferred upon completion is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework at Level 8.

Course structure

To complete the Graduate Diploma of Critical Care Nursing, student must attain 8 credit points, comprising of 6 credit points of core (compulsory) units, plus 2 credit points of electives, of which 1 must be from the course electives, the remaining 1 can be from any level 7 electives from anywhere in the university including stackable short courses (0.5cp microcredentials), subject to eligibility.

The core critical care nursing specialisation units are completed in year one of the course and are semester-based delivery.

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.

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

All commencing Faculty of Health Undergraduate and Postgraduate course work students are required to complete DAI001 Academic Integrity Module (0-credit-point compulsory unit) in their first trimester of study.

Semester 1 Entry Core units

Year 1 - Semester 1

  • Academic Integrity Module (0 credit points)
  • Core Principles of Critical Care Nursing (2 credit points)
  • Year 1 - Semester 2

  • Critical Care Nursing (2 credit points)
  • Year 2 - Trimester 1

  • Inquiry Into Specialty Nursing Practice
  • Plus 1 credit point of course elective

    Year 2 - Trimester 2

  • Advanced Concepts in Specialty Nursing Practice
  • Plus 1 credit point of postgraduate electives from anywhere across the University or two Deakin stackable short courses (0.5cp microcredentials).

    *Speciality units are delivered on a semester basis in year one

    Semester 2 Entry Core units

    Year 1 - Semester 2

  • Academic Integrity Module (0 credit points)
  • Core Principles of Critical Care Nursing (2 credit points)*
  • Year 2 - Semester 1

  • Critical Care Nursing (2 credit points)*
  • Year 2 - Trimester 2

  • Inquiry Into Specialty Nursing Practice
  • Plus 1 credit point of postgraduate electives from anywhere across the University or two Deakin stackable short courses (0.5cp microcredentials).

    Year 3 - Trimester 1

  • Advanced Concepts in Specialty Nursing Practice
  • Plus 1 credit point of course elective

    *Speciality units are delivered on a semester basis in year one

    Course Electives

  • Pathophysiology of Diabetes
  • Management of Diabetes
  • Contemporary Approaches to Diabetes Education
  • Diabetes in Social and Psychological Contexts
  • Ethical Dimensions in Nursing
  • Leadership and Management in Nursing
  • Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning
  • Patient Safety and Risk Management
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' History, Culture and Health
  • Facilitating Clinical Learning
  • Healthcare in Low Resource/Complex Environments
  • Healthcare Management of Vulnerable Populations
  • Quality and Safety in Medication Management
  • Therapeutic Medication Management
  • Research in Nursing and Midwifery
  • Stackable short courses

    Mix and match Deakin stackable short courses (0.5 cp microcredentials) to earn up to 1 credit point of open electives, subject to eligibility. Any stacking must add up to a whole number to be used for credit. See more information on Deakin stackable short course options.

    Intakes by location

    The availability of a course varies across locations and intakes. This means that a course offered in Semester 1 may not be offered in the same location for Semester 2. Check each intake for up-to-date information on when and where you can commence your studies.

    Semester 1 - February

    • Start date: February
    • Available at:
      • Online

    Semester 2 - July

    • Start date: July
    • Available at:
      • Online

    Additional course information

    To undertake this course you must independently secure employment of at least 24 hours per week in a critical care setting within a collaborating hospital in Australia.

    Course duration

    Course duration may be affected by delays in accessing or undertaking clinical requirements.

    Workload

    As a student in the Graduate Diploma of Critical Care Nursing you can expect to participate in a range of teaching and learning activities each week. You will attend online synchronous study days and complete asynchronous guided learning modules. There are also additional self-directed study commitments to complete both university and clinical assessment tasks.

    Participation requirements

    Reasonable adjustments to participation and other course requirements will be made for students with a disability. More information available at Disability support services.

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    Entry requirements

    Admission criteria

    Selection is based on a holistic consideration of your academic merit, work experience, likelihood of success, availability of places, participation requirements, regulatory requirements, and individual circumstances. You will need to meet the minimum course entry requirements to be considered for selection, but this does not guarantee admission.

    Please note, there are limited places in this course and entry is competitive. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit an application as soon as possible. Applications for this course may close prior to the published closing date if all places are filled.

    Academic requirements

    To be considered for admission to this degree you will need to meet all the following criteria:

    • completion of a Bachelor of Nursing or equivalent
    • registration as a registered nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia with no conditions or restrictions
    • evidence of secure, ongoing employment of at least 24 hours per week in a collaborating hospital within Australia, working in a relevant speciality practice area with appropriate clinical supervision

    English language proficiency requirements

    To meet the English language proficiency requirements of this course, you will need to demonstrate at least one of the following:

    Non-academic requirements

    As the specialisation pathways courses are offered collaboratively between the University and a range of partnership/collaborating hospitals, student selection into the course is a joint process. Students must independently apply for and seek permanent employment within a collaborating hospital to support and provide a sound clinical learning environment for the clinical program requirements of the course. 

    Applicants are required to complete an Applicant Declaration form to be uploaded with their application.

    Admissions information

    Learn more about Deakin courses and how we compare to other universities when it comes to the quality of our teaching and learning.

    Not sure if you can get into Deakin postgraduate study? Postgraduate study doesn't have to be a balancing act; we provide flexible course entry and exit options based on your desired career outcomes and the time you're able to commit to your study.

    Recognition of prior learning

    If you have completed previous studies which you believe may reduce the number of units you have to complete at Deakin, indicate in the appropriate section on your application that you wish to be considered for Recognition of prior learning. You will need to provide a certified copy of your previous course details so your credit can be determined. If you are eligible, your offer letter will then contain information about your Recognition of prior learning.

    You can also refer to the Recognition of prior learning system which outlines the credit that may be granted towards a Deakin University degree.

    Fees and scholarships

    Fee information

    Estimated tuition fee - (CSP)?
    $4,445 for 1 yr full-time - Commonwealth Supported Place (HECS)

    Learn more about fees.

    The available fee places for this course are detailed above. Not all courses at Deakin have Commonwealth supported places available.

    The 'Estimated tuition fee' is provided as a guide only based on a typical enrolment of students completing this course within the same year as they started. The cost will vary depending on the units you choose, your study load, the length of your course and any approved Recognition of prior learning.

    One year full-time study load is typically represented by eight credit points of study for Graduate Diplomas. Each unit you enrol in has a credit point value. The 'Estimated tuition fee' is calculated by adding together eight credit points of a typical combination of units for your course.

    You can find the credit point value of each unit under the Unit Description by searching for the unit in the Handbook.

    Learn more about fees and available payment options.

    FEE-HELP calculator

    What is FEE-HELP?

    FEE-HELP loans cover up to 100% of tuition fees for eligible students. By taking out a FEE-HELP loan, the government pays your tuition fees directly to Deakin, and the balance is repaid from your employment income - but only once you're earning over $51,550.

    Please note: fees shown by the calculator are indicative only and based on 2024 rates. Actual fees may vary. We advise confirming fees with Prospective Student Enquiries prior to enrolment.

    Estimate your FEE-HELP

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    • $* is the estimated full cost for a Graduate Diploma of Critical Care Nursing (8 credit points), based on the 2024 fees.
    • is the annual FEE-HELP payment, based on your current salary
    • of your current salary be spent on FEE-HELP

    *Disclaimer

    Deakin University (Deakin):

    • gives no warranty and accepts no responsibility for the currency, accuracy or the completeness of the information provided;
    • advises users that no reliance should be placed upon on the information provided, and;
    • instructs users that they should confirm the actual course fee with Prospective Student Enquiries prior to enrolment.

    This tool provides indicative information about the fees that will be payable in respect of courses and subjects offered to prospective students domiciled in Australia during the periods indicated.

    Please note that the fees shown by the calculator are indicative only and actual fees may vary. Users are advised to confirm the actual course fee with Prospective Student Enquiries prior to enrolment.

    The estimated course fee is based on the tuition fee costs applicable to a domestic full time student commencing the course in Trimester 1 and studying full time for the duration of the course but:

    • does not include non-tuition costs that may apply, such as Student Services and Amenities Fees (SSAF);
    • does not take into account any scholarships or bursaries awarded to the student (including the 10% Deakin alumni discount);
    • assumes the maximum number of units that need to be successfully completed actual number completed may be reduced if recognition of prior learning is granted;
    • assumes that no exceptional, or non-typical, circumstances apply to the proposed course of study;
    • assumes that the options that the user selects are appropriate for the course of study that they intend to undertake;
    • where fees are estimated for future years those fee will be subject to annual increases in accordance with increases in the cost of course delivery.

    Scholarship options

    A Deakin scholarship might change your life. If you've got something special to offer Deakin – or you just need the financial help to get you here – we may have a scholarship opportunity for you.

    Search or browse through our scholarships

    Postgraduate bursary

    If you’re a Deakin alumnus commencing a postgraduate award course, you may be eligible to receive a 10% reduction per unit on your enrolment fees.

    Learn more about the 10% Deakin alumni discount

    Apply now

    Apply direct to Deakin

    Applications for Semester 1, 2025 open in August.

    In the meantime, why not speak to our student advisers about your course and career options? It’s the best way for future students like you to get expert advice on preparing your application.

    Contact us

    Applicant declaration

    Applicants must complete the Applicant declaration as part of their application.

    Need more information on how to apply?

    For more information on the application process and closing dates, see the How to apply webpage. If you're still having problems, please contact us for assistance.

    Entry pathways

    Upon successful completion of the Graduate Diploma of Critical Care Nursing, students have the option to further their studies by articulating into the below course:

    H771 Master of Advanced Clinical Nursing

    Alternative exits

    Contact information

    Our friendly advisers are available to speak to you one-on-one about your study options, support services and how we can help you further your career.

    Careers

    Want a degree that’s more than just a qualification? Our industry connections, world-class facilities and practical approach to learning are just some of the reasons why Deakin students graduate confident and ready to thrive in the jobs of tomorrow.

    Get the skills to lead patient care and develop healthcare policy

    Our School of Nursing and Midwifery is ranked #16 in the world*

    Be in demand: 12.1% projected job growth for nurse managers by 2028^

    Learn from the best – our research is ranked well above world standard#

    Career outcomes

    With job growth of 12.2% projected for registered nurses and 12.1% for nurse managers by 2028,# there is an industry demand for nurses with sophisticated specialty skills. Our Graduate Diploma of Critical Care Nursing allows you to meet that demand in a variety of roles across advanced practice, leadership, management and education in regional, rural or metropolitan hospitals including:

    • critical care nurse
    • associate or unit manager
    • clinical nurse specialist
    • clinical nurse educator.

    # Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections

    Professional recognition

    Nurses employed under the Victorian public hospital award receive a higher duties allowance for postgraduate qualifications relevant to their practice.

    Course learning outcomes

    Deakin's graduate learning outcomes describe the knowledge and capabilities graduates can demonstrate at the completion of their course. These outcomes mean that regardless of the Deakin course you undertake, you can rest assured your degree will teach you the skills and professional attributes that employers value. They'll set you up to learn and work effectively in the future.

    Graduate Learning Outcomes

    Course Learning Outcomes

    Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

    Demonstrate advanced clinical practice commensurate with critical care nursing theoretical knowledge, evidence-based practice and person-centred care.

    Communication

    Demonstrate advanced communication skills to ensure the delivery of high quality, safe nursing care to patients in the critical care setting.

    Digital Literacy

    Evaluate information using digital technologies to effectively disseminate relevant critical care information to patients and/or the multidisciplinary team.

    Critical thinking

    Identify, analyse and evaluate complex data from multiple sources to inform clinical decision making in the critical care setting.

    Problem solving

    Apply advanced nursing knowledge to complex problems in the critical care setting to optimise patient outcomes.

    Self-management

    Demonstrate professionalism, accountability, reflection, and personal autonomy as a critical nurse.

    Teamwork

    Establish and maintain inclusive, collaborative professional relationships with all members of the multidisciplinary team.

    Global citizenship

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

    * 2022 ShanghaiRankings Ranking of Academic Subjects
    ^ 2021 Employment Outlook - for the five years to November 2026, Australian Government National Skills Commission
    # Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) 2018