BNurs Mental Health Nursing / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Principles of Adult Critical and Intensive Care Nursing

Course unit fact file
Unit code NURS23112
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


This is a year 2 ‘discovery unit’ available to all students as a choice from a menu of options. The unit provides an overview of care that takes place in an adult critical and intensive care environment. 


This unit aims to:
  • Facilitate the student to develop the knowledge, skills and professional values that underpin safe, evidence-based, contemporary adult critical care.
  • Facilitate the student to develop a greater understanding of the impact of an admission to a critical care environment from a physiological, psychological and family perspective.
  • Develop student’s understanding of the underpinning pathophysiology of critical illness and the aetiological factors, which may contribute to the development of an acute illness.
  • Facilitate the student to develop a greater understanding of the ethical issues which can arise in a critical care environment.

Learning outcomes

The LO’s are linked to the following NMC (2018) Standards of proficiency for registered nurses 1.21.11 1.12 1.13 1.14

Teaching and learning methods

This unit is part of a menu of options (Discovery Units) available to Adult field students on this programme. It is important to note that the overall B.Nurs (2019) programme design ensures that students have the opportunity to meet the proficiencies aligned to the learning outcomes for this unit elsewhere in the programme. Therefore students who choose other available options will not miss out on the opportunity to achieve the programme learning outcomes that align to this unit. The intended learning outcomes for this unit have been developed to align directly to a number of NMC (2018) standards of proficiency in order to support student’s choice to further develop these proficiencies.  
The aims and learning outcomes for this unit focus on the following central themes:
  • Evidence based nursing in the contemporary critical care environment
  • Critical Care continuum – care beyond the department
  • Physiology and pathophysiology in relation to assessment of the critically ill adult
  • Physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology during the monitoring and support of the critically ill adult
  • Humanising critical care and the psychological care of the adult critically ill patient and their family.
The teaching and learning methods used include lectures, discussions, online learning, audio-visual materials and the use of simulated learning experiences of patient assessment and nursing intervention related to a range of critical care clinical scenarios. Peer and facilitator feedback given during the simulation exercises will support personal reflection.
The students are assessed on their ability to lead a discussion related to a simulated critical care experience. The scenario focuses on the role of the nurse in critical care to include assessment/clinical evaluation and nursing intervention which directly aligns to the unit aims and learning outcomes. The student will receive peer and facilitator feedback on their clinical evaluation and decision making. The student will then submit a report identifying their own learning needs and a critical summary of the evidence they have read to address their gap in knowledge. The assignment directly tests the learning outcomes through expectation that the student will be able to demonstrate and verbalise aspects of assessment and care delivery through a simulated critical care scenario. 

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate awareness of the critical care continuum from pre-admission to post-discharge.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of relevant physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology that informs the assessment, monitoring and support of the critically ill adult.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of psychological care of the adult critically ill patient and their family.

Intellectual skills

  • Identify and explain the underpinning evidence which support decision making in critical care.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the importance of inter-professional team working within critical care.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the importance and challenges of respecting individual’s rights and choices within critical care.

Practical skills

  • Identify the factors which contribute to a prolonged critical care stay and the risk of a prolonged admission.
  • Recognise the problem solving processes associated with the management of critically ill patients and their families.
  • Discuss the ethical issues surrounding consent and the disclosure of information about the patient’s condition relating to knowledge and awareness of the truth regarding their diagnosis.
  • Identify the factors that contribute to the development of delirium within critical care.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Demonstrate understanding of the evidenced based rationales for care and treatment within critical care.
  • Reflect on their own knowledge and skills in relation to critical care nursing.
  • Develop skills of decision making, prioritising, team working and self-awareness.
  • Participate in collaborative learning and peer support.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Students will normally have the opportunity to receive feedback on formative work submitted prior to the summative assessment. Other feedback opportunities will also be available in class and online discussion boards. Online feedback is provided in Grademark. Provisional feedback based on internal marking will be made available prior to the Exam Board on the basis that these marks are yet to be ratified at the Exam Board and therefore may be subject to change. A standard feedback mechanism in Grademark is utilised across all undergraduate programmes within the School which provides detailed and constructive feedback on each component and aspect of assessment and identifies areas of strength and those aspects which could be enhanced.

Student feedback is obtained through open discussion forums on blackboard, in class discussions, via formal University unit evaluation forms and also qualitative, in house evaluations at the end of the unit. 

Recommended reading

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 19
Practical classes & workshops 6
Seminars 2
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 73

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Samantha Freeman Unit coordinator

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