PGCert Advanced Critical Care

Develop the competencies required at Step Two and Step Three of the National Competency Framework for adult critical care nurses on a programme delivered in conjunction with Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital.

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  • Overview

    Course Length: 1 Year Part-Time
    Start Dates: September 2020, September 2021
    Subjects: Health and Social Care
    Location: Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital

    The PGCert in Advanced Critical Care is designed to enhance the skills of practitioners such as registered nurses and operating department practitioners. It will enable you to become a clinical expert who is able to work safely and effectively in critical care practice, meeting the Step Two and Step Three competencies of the National Competency Framework for adult critical care nurses. A systems-based approach is used throughout the course to reflect the national standards for adult critical care education. You will acquire effective leadership skills and gain the knowledge and confidence needed to develop others in the delivery of high quality and compassionate care to patients with complex critical care needs.

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    In Depth

    What will I study?

    The programme comprises of two modules which are studied sequentially.

    You will begin by focusing on the assessment and management of patients following emergency events which have led to admission to a critical care environment. You will then concentrate specifically upon the development of effective leadership within a critical care environment.

    The intention is to develop as a practitioner who provides clinical nursing leadership, supervision and support to teams, while optimising safe standards of patient care.

    How will I study?

    There will typically be ten days of face-to-face learning per module, covering the theoretical aspects of the programme. This will take the form of a combination of lectures, seminars, simulation-based learning, objective structure clinical examinations (OSCE) workshops and tutorials.

    The programme also includes a significant proportion of work-based learning during which you will be supported and assessed by a clinical mentor.

    How will I be assessed?

    You will be assessed through a combination of written examinations, objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs), written assessments and practice-based competency achievements.

    Who will be teaching me?

    The programme team comprises of front line clinicians from Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital and academic experts from Edge Hill University. The research activities and educational roles of the programme team are varied and link to both theory and practice. A range of nationally and internationally recognised clinical experts will also be drawn upon to inform and enhance the learning experience.

    A Great Study Environment

    Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital is a leading national cardiothoracic care provider of integrated healthcare services for patients and their families across community and acute care settings. It was rated outstanding in its community health services for adults in the Care Quality Commission’s inspection report published in September 2016.

    The Education Centre at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital comprises seminar, classroom and lecture theatre spaces, in addition to clinically equipped skill rooms (app supported) with simulation devices, mannequins and mock bed spaces.


    Expand All

    HEA4201Step Two Advanced Critical Care (30 credits)

    Step Two Advanced Critical Care uses a systems-based approach to support critical care staff in acquiring the appropriate core knowledge and skills in order to successfully complete the adult critical care competencies at Step Two of the National Competency Framework. The enhanced knowledge, skills and technical abilities considered will focus on the assessment and management of patients following emergency events which has led to admission to a critical care environment. Pathophysiology, psychosocial aspects and expectations of discrete professional groups will be identified as key themes which underpin safe, effective critical care.

    Assessment: Written Exam(s): 100%, Practical(s): Pass/Fail Element.

    HEA4202Step Three Advanced Critical Care (30 credits)

    Step Three Advanced Critical Care maintains a systems-based approach to equip critical care staff with the appropriate knowledge and skills required to successfully complete the adult critical care competencies at Step Three of the National Competency Framework. You will consolidate your advanced knowledge, skills and technical ability in order to demonstrate the competent management of the complex critically ill patient using relevant evidence and established practice. The module will focus upon the development of effective leadership within a critical care environment to problem-solve complex situations, offer solutions, lead a team and develop others through negotiation and enhanced communication skills.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%, Practical(s): Pass/Fail Element.


    You can expect to receive your timetable at enrolment. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day or evening of the week.


    Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our published course information, however our programmes are subject to ongoing review and development. Changing circumstances may necessitate alteration to, or the cancellation of, courses.

    Changes may be necessary to comply with the requirements of accrediting bodies, revisions to subject benchmarks statements, to keep courses updated and contemporary, or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make variations if we consider such action to be necessary or in the best interests of students.

    Entry Criteria

    Entry Requirements

    To join this programme, you should have a degree equivalent to UK first-class or second-class honours (2:2 or above) in a professional healthcare related subject and must be registered with a UK Professional Body and hold a health-related professional qualification.

    You must have successfully completed the adult critical care competencies at step one of the national framework and be able to demonstrate that you are an experienced practitioner, typically with at least two years in practice (or equivalent).

    You will require access to appropriate supervised practice in a suitable clinical area and will need to provide a reference from your line manager to confirm support arrangements and your suitability for the programme.

    If you don’t have an honours degree, you may still be considered for the programme if you can demonstrate extensive practice experience through your professional portfolio. This might include, for example, evidence of comprehensive knowledge of the discipline, an in-depth awareness of current issues relating to critical care, evidence of critical analysis skills, and an ability to evaluate evidence drawn from your area of practice or previous academic study.

    An interview will form part of the selection process.

    Recognition of Prior Learning

    Edge Hill University recognises learning gained elsewhere, whether through academic credit and qualifications acquired from other relevant courses of study or through recognition of an individual’s professional and employment experience (also referred to as ‘experiential learning’). This may include credit or learning undertaken at another university.

    Previous learning that is recognised in this way may be used towards meeting the entry requirements for a programme and/or for exemption from part of a programme. It is your responsibility to make a claim for recognition of prior learning. For guidance, please consult the University’s academic regulations (sections C7 and F3.1) or contact the faculty in which you are interested in studying.

    Career Prospects

    What are my career prospects?

    Successful completion of this programme will enhance your ability to provide expert care, clinical nursing leadership and effective supervision. It is designed to support practitioners in working towards the role of advanced practitioner to address patient needs in the clinical contexts of critical care.


    Tuition Fees

    Tuition fees for studying on this Postgraduate Certificate are £36 per credit for UK and EU students enrolling on the programme in academic year 2020/21, i.e. £720 per 20 credit module.

    A total of 60 credits must be studied in order to complete this Postgraduate Certificate.

    The University may administer a small inflationary rise in tuition fees in subsequent academic years as you progress through the course.

    Financial Support

    For comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK and EU students joining postgraduate courses at Edge Hill University in academic year 2020/21, together with details of how to apply for potential funding, please view our Money Matters 2020/21 guide at


    How to Apply

    Apply directly to Edge Hill University.

    Download the Health and Social Care Professional Development pathway application form and notes for guidance (pdf).

    Visit to access the relevant application form and to find out more about the application process.

    Should you accept an offer of a place to study with us and formally enrol as a student, you will be subject to the provisions of the regulations, rules, codes, conditions and policies which apply to our students. These are available at

    Get in Touch

    If you have any questions about this programme, please contact:

    • Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine Student Recruitment and Marketing Support Team
    • Tel: 01695 657249
    • Email:

    If you would like to talk to the programme leaders about the course in more detail, please contact:


    Course Changes

    Expand All This page outlines any material changes to course content, programme structure, assessment methods, entry criteria, and modes of study or delivery, implemented in the past two years.

    This page outlines any material changes to course content, programme structure, assessment methods, entry criteria, and modes of study or delivery, implemented in the past two years. No material changes have been made to the information for this programme in that time. Any future amends will be tracked here.