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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title An Introduction to Critical Care Nursing
Module Code NS313
School 38
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Anne Kirwan
Semester 2: Anne Kirwan
Autumn: Anne Kirwan
Module TeachersAnne Kirwan
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module provides the student with the opportunity to gain an understanding of the nurse’s role in a variety of critical care settings. Students will develop the skills of patient assessment and the ability to integrate knowledge and skills required to plan, implement and evaluate the care for patients within various critical care settings. Students will be enabled to assist patients and their families to maximise their health potential providing skilled quality person centered nursing care. The module is delivered through a combination of face to face lectures, clinical skills practice sessions and online group tutorials

Learning Outcomes

1. Gain an understanding of the nurse’s role in various critical care settings.
2. Critically evaluate and apply available knowledge to guide the assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of evidence based nursing care in various critical care setting.
3. Identify the information and education needs of patients and their families to enable them to manage the effects of illness in the critical care setting.
4. To be aware of the skillset required to work effectively as a member of the nursing and multidisciplinary team.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture25No Description
Tutorial10Includes seminar
Independent Study60Assessment preparation, reading, group work, simulated clinical practice in Clinical Education Centre
Directed learning30Directed reading for class /preparatory work for group discussions/ practice time in Clinical Education Centre
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Care of the patient with altered respiratory function.
Anatomy and physiology involved in respiration, components of the respiratory system. Role and function of the components of the respiratory system in normal respiration, gas exchange and V/Q mismatch. Identification of patient at risk, risk factors for developing respiratory failure, Type 1 and Type 11 respiratory failure, signs and symptoms of respiratory failure. Other respiratory conditions e.g. COPD, Asthma, ARDs, ALI, Pneumonia and Ventilator Associated Pneumonia (VAP) and Pulmonary Embolism will be addressed. Identification of steps to be taken in the event of sudden respiratory deterioration or arrest will be outlined. The care and management of a patient requiring Non-Invasive ventilation (NIV)

Care of the patient with altered cardiovascular function
Anatomy & physiology of the cardiovascular system, understanding of the pathophysiology of cardiac disorders e.g. Acute coronary syndrome, chronic cardiac conditions. Assessment and monitoring of the patient requiring cardiovascular support. Use of cardiac monitoring systems, interpretation of the components relating to an individual physiological waveform. Indications for non invasive and invasive haemodynamic monitoring in relation to the critically ill adult.

Care of the patient with altered renal function and Fluid/electrolyte balance
Anatomoy and physiology of the renal system. Acute renal injury, clinical manifestations of Acute kidney Injury. Monitoring fluid status, balance and renal function of individuals in critical care at risk of renal deterioration. Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy use in critically ill patients. Assessment of need for and management of fluid replacement, understanding of fluid status, fluid types

Assessment and management of Sepsis and Shock
Sepsis Recognise and interpret signs and symptoms of : o SIRS o Sepsis o Severe sepsis o Septic Shock Recognition, interpretation and management of all types of shock.

Care of the patient with altered gastro-intestinal and endocrine function
Anatomy & physiology of the gastro-intestinal system. Surgical procedures and common reasons for the following interventions, o Hartmans procedure o Oesophagectomy o Colectomy o Toxic Megacolan Acute GI conditions, signs, symptoms and common causes: o Pancreatitis o GI Bleed o Liver failure o Oesophageal varacies o Duodenal ulcers o Paralytic illeus o Different types of stoma o Abdominal compartment syndrome Factors which may affect individual patient gastrointestinal function Monitoring and management of a patient with altered gastrointestinal function relevant to their underlying pathophysiology Nutrition in Critical Illness, enteral/parenteral nutrition.

Care of the patient with altered neurological function
Anatomy & physiology of the neurological system, nursing management of a patient with a head injury/insult, neurological assessment tools. Intracranial pressure, monitoring of same. Management of Suspected/Confirmed Spinal Injury Management of patient with Delirium. Seizure Management

Care of the patient with Multisystem Disorders
Observation, monitoring and documentation and/or conduction of the following: In relation to patient: o Physiological parameters o Electrolyte balance o Acid base balance o Fluid balance assessment o Body temperature and appropriate adjustment of active warming/cooling of patient. Nurses role associated with caring for family members/carers or patient representatives.

Communication with patient, family/significant others, member of MDT
Communicate clearly and coherently taking into account the needs of the patient Select the most appropriate method of communication for the patient Identify any communication barriers with the individuals and take the appropriate action to overcome these. Communicate with individuals and their families/significant others at a pace and level appropriate to their understanding

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Oral ExaminationAn interactive oral, a ‘conversation’ style assessment which occurs in an interview style, is utilised in this module. Students are offered two realistic, practice based scenarios at the outset of the module, one of these will be chosen at the point of interview and the student will be asked questions relating to the chosen scenario. The interactive oral will take 10-15 minutes and will be recorded for internal and external moderation.100%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Jevon P., Ewen B., Pooni J.: 2012, Monitoring the Critically Ill Patient, 3rd, Wiley-Blackwell Science, London, 978-1-4443-3
  • Gonce Morton P. Fontaine D.K.: 2013, Essentials of Critical Care Nursing: A Holistic Approach, 10th, Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkjins, Philadelphia, 978-160913693
Other Resources

59694, Website, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, 0, Standards and Guidance/Scope of Practice, Dublin, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, https://www.nmbi.ie/Standards-Guidance/Scope-of-Practice,
Programme or List of Programmes
BNGNBSc in Nursing (General)
BNIDBSc in Nursing (Intellectual Disability)

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