Graduate Certificate in Acute and Critical Care Nursing

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If you’re ready for postgraduate study, you’ll find your competitive edge at Western. Our global 5-star ratings for innovation, teaching and facilities assure you that you’ll be learning from the best at a University that ranks in the top 2% worldwide.

We partner with industry, business and government to create real world experiences and opportunities. Our flexible courses offer a range of online and on campus options, with multiple locations that put our world-class facilities at your doorstep. Reach new heights. Take your place in a new generation of global citizens, leaders and change-makers.

The choice for nursing

You have a driving ambition to be there for patients when they need you most. It’s in your nature. And it’s what makes you the perfect candidate for Western’s Graduate Certificate in Acute and Critical Care Nursing.

As the top ranked Nursing School in Australia and fourth in the world for Nursing by the Centre for World University Rankings, this innovative postgraduate course is for you. It’s a chance to take your career as a Registered Nurse to a whole new level. It develops your clinical judgement. Gives you the skills and theoretical knowledge to deliver quality patient care in a range of acute settings.

Western Sydney University has been ranked in the Top 100 Universities for Nursing, in this year's QS World University Rankings by Subject.

Course structure

Our course structure is outlined in our handbook. Here you can view all of the units (subjects) you will be studying.

We are all confronted with the challenge of leadership, regardless of nursing speciality, role or status. Encompassed within leadership is knowledge of self, relevant theories, skills and political awareness which are developed through higher education. By developing leadership skills and knowledge we can influence better outcomes for our patients/clients and create more positive working environments. In the unit, Leadership in Clinical Practice, nursing leadership arising from expert clinical practice is explored as a general notion rather than as one arising from within any particular clinical speciality. Content includes theories, concepts and styles of leadership, the development of leadership potential, motivation, coaching, and mentorship, concepts of power, authority and empowerment and discussion of contemporary leadership issues. Assignments provide students with the opportunity to apply new knowledge about leadership to their practice, whether they be in management, education or clinical roles.

Components of skilled nursing practice in acute and critical care settings include clinical reasoning, accountability and patient advocacy. In this unit students will identify a complex case study from their current practice world as the basis for their assessment. This unit utilises clinical simulation and a case study approach to enable students to develop their clinical expertise in their individual workplace. Students will be required to participate in clinical simulation workshops which will be utilised to develop and enhance clinical nursing skills in acute or critical care settings.

Increasingly clinical leaders, practitioners and health service managers are being held accountable for improving the quality and safety of patient care and for developing a culture of quality improvement within their teams. In this unit students learn about quality, patient safety and governance frameworks and strategies that they can employ within healthcare to improve system performance, patient safety and patient outcomes. The main approaches used to address quality of care and patient safety are examined and their applications critiqued. Students will explore leadership issues for developing systematic, coherent quality improvement frameworks and quality initiatives that can be applied within their own sphere of practice.

Vascular access devices (VADs) are utilised in health care settings across the world. Nurses, junior medical officers and paramedics are typically at the forefront of having to gain peripheral venous access. Many important aspects of vascular access are taught in isolation which are typically brief and provide surface learning rather than good theoretical understanding that underpin sound clinical skill and safe practice required for inserting and managing VADs. This unit focuses on developing knowledge, competency and skills to safely insert peripheral VADs and manage most acute and chronic devices through access to online material, facilitated simulated workshops and practical application in the workplace with a nominated clinical mentor approved by the school.

Fees and delivery

Fees: Varies depending on units selected. View available units in our handbook

For further information, please visit: Student Contribution Bands

Delivery: On campus

This course is only available to domestic students.

Unfortunately, student visa holders are not eligible to study this degree.

Postgraduate Study Information

Looking for a career change? Hoping to gain a new professional qualification that will help take your career further? Or just hoping to expand your horizons? Western’s range of diverse postgraduate degrees provide you with the opportunity to diversify your skillset in a supportive and flexible learning environment that enables you to thrive in your chosen field. 

To gain a better understanding of course content, study options, admission requirements or to simply find out more register your interest below and we will be in touch. 



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"The teaching staff and other available resources will help you achieve your best results and prepare you for employment."

— Nicholas Knithakis. Bachelor of Nursing.

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*The tuition fees quoted above are the fees for the normal full-time study load of the course (80 credit points) per annum. International students will be subject to a variable fee regime; i.e. enrolled students will be required to pay fees during their course based on the approved fee for each calendar year. Fee changes (if any) will occur at 1 January each calendar year. Students who extend their course past the normal finish date of the course will be required to pay additional fees based on the prevailing fee level. Western Sydney University is a multi-campus institution. The University reserves the right to alter the location of its courses between campuses and other locations as necessary. Students should be aware of the possibility of change of location for the whole or part of courses for which they enrol and should plan for the need to travel between Western Sydney campuses.