BSc (Hons) Cardiothoracic Practice


Course Length:3-5 Years Part-Time
Start Dates:February 2020, September 2020, February 2021
Department:Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine
Location:Edge Hill University
Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital

Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital logo

  • Join a unique programme for qualified practitioners from a range of care backgrounds, which is shared between Edge Hill University and the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust;
  • Develop your skills and knowledge in cardiothoracic practice, utilising the national frameworks for critical and cardiothoracic care, culminating in a piece of research which has the potential to advance practice;
  • Specialise in intensive or longer term management of cardiothoracic care;
  • Gain specialist skills, knowledge and enhanced self-awareness through the use of reflection, the application of theory to practice, the sharing of ideas and inter-professional, collaborative working.

This degree is a contemporary programme for registered practitioners working in contexts that demand expertise in the specific area of cardiothoracic care.

The result of a joint initiative between Edge Hill University and Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the course is designed to be reflective of inter-professional care and will involve completing a significant project which has the potential to advance practice.

From a specialist perspective, the depth and breadth of learning will be achieved by familiarising you with the many clinical innovations within cardiothoracic care, covering both acute and emergency care treatment and longer term management, and providing an in-depth exploration of the complexities of patients’ long-term care needs. In addition, there will be a strong emphasis on patient safety, effective communication and team working, as well as the development of research skills to support the application of appropriate evidence and research-based care to meet the standards of good practice.

Two of the intensive care modules relate specifically to the National Competency Framework for Adult Critical Care Nurses (Step 1 and Step 2). Successful completion of these modules will enable you to demonstrate competency at these levels.

In Depth

What will I study?

You have a choice of routes within this programme, focusing on either the journey of patients who present as a cardiothoracic emergency or following the journey of the care needs of patients who have ongoing cardiothoracic disease and require long-term health care intervention.

You will also focus on patient safety and the prevention of harm or study the delivery of compassionate care to the cardiothoracic patient and their family.

Core modules within the degree will introduce you to the skills and methods of research and subsequently involve the completion of an advancing practice project. An additional module will be selected from the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine’s undergraduate professional development module portfolio or alternatively you may have the option to select further, optional cardiothoracic modules.

How will I study?

The course is designed for busy professionals to study on a part-time basis whilst in employment.

Modules are delivered face-to-face using a combination of lectures, seminars, group discussion, case study examination, practical teaching and objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs). Additional support is available via a virtual learning environment.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a combination of written assignments, seminars/Viva/poster presentations, case studies, objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs), competency-based exercises, and portfolios of evidence.

Who will be teaching me?

The cardiothoracic-specific elements of the programme will be hosted and delivered by Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital’s Education team. The remaining modules are delivered by staff based at Edge Hill University. The teaching team will draw upon a range of field specific experts to inform delivery.

This eclectic mix of academics and clinically based practitioners with teaching qualifications, reflects the expertise that underpins knowledge in this area. Specialist subject speakers will inform specific aspects of course delivery.

A Great Study Environment

Edge Hill University

The Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine is one of the leading providers of education and training for health and social care professionals in the North West of England.

Offering some of the best facilities for health, social care and medicine students in the country, the outstanding teaching and learning resources include leading edge clinical skills facilities, an 860-seat lecture theatre, and a variety of teaching rooms and social learning spaces.

The faculty is home to a thriving research culture which includes a series of staff and student conference programmes, guest lectures and seminars, as well as active research groups.

Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital

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.


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HEA3102Research Methods (20 credits)

Research Methods is designed to enable you to develop an understanding of the research process, the nature and variety of research methods, together with the need for an evidence base to guide the decision-making process. The module encourages you to appreciate that qualitative and quantitative methods as equally valuable and often complementary. You will be involved, wherever possible, in using and applying research methods rather than merely talking about them.

Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

HEA3161Advancing Practice Project (40 credits)

Advancing Practice Project enables you to develop the ability to work independently on a sustained piece of work. You will suggest an area of practice from within your clinical area that would benefit from an in-depth review from an evidence based practice, system redesign or staff/ service user education perspective. You will conduct a review of existing literature and discuss your approach to implementing the outcomes of the review in terms of leadership and change management. A fundamental aspect of the project is the dissemination of the change in practice and its implications for practice. Academic supervision will encourage reflection as well as the integration of theory and practice.

Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

You will select one of the following modules:

HEA3131Patient and Family Centred Cardiothoracic Care (10 credits)

Patient and Family Centred Cardiothoracic Care focuses on developing  your knowledge and delivery of holistic compassionate care to the cardiothoracic patient and their family. You will critically analyse the steps of cardiothoracic patient care pathways from admission to discharge. Key learning themes, underpinned by patient shadowing, stories and reflective accounts, will raise your awareness of the fundamental care needs of patients and their families during times of illness. Special focus will be given to the consideration of the impact of learning disability, deprivation of liberty, mental capacity, dementia care and safeguarding of vulnerable adults.

Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

HEA3250Safe from Harm (Cardiothoracic Care) (20 credits)

Safe from Harm (Cardiothoracic Care) equips you with knowledge pertaining to patient safety and the prevention of harm. You will gain an understanding of national drivers in patient safety and local ‘safe from harm’ initiatives, including governance and quality assurance. The module will also develop your awareness of common risks in practice, including how to plan for their avoidance and how to manage risk to avoid complication through appropriate action planning.

Assessment: Coursework: 50%, Practical(s): 50%.

On the pathway for critical care staff, you will study both of the following modules:

HEA3033Cardiothoracic Critical Care (20 credits)

Cardiothoracic Critical Care focuses on the assessment and management of patients following post-operative cardiothoracic planned and emergency surgical events. The module relates specifically to the National Competency Framework for Adult Critical Care Nurses (Step 1). You will learn how to assess a patient’s immediate post-cardiothoracic surgical condition and critically analyse the patient’s risks in order to plan their care. Pathophysiology, psychosocial aspects and professional expectations will be key themes of the module.

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

HEA3172Management of Cardiothoracic Events within Critical Care (10 credits)

Management of Cardiothoracic Events within Critical Care focuses on the assessment and management of patients following cardiothoracic planned and emergency events. The module relates specifically to the National Competency Framework for Adult Critical Care Nurses (Step 2).  The module will cover the critical appraisal of a patient’s risk status in relation to a potential/actual cardiothoracic event. You will critically apply the theoretical knowledge gained in the management of cardiothoracic events  Pathophysiology, psychosocial aspects and expectations of discrete professional groups will be key themes of the module.

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

On the pathway for non critical care staff, you will study the following module:

HEA3245Principles of Cardiothoracic Care (30 credits)

Principles of Cardiothoracic Care equips you with knowledge to inform the assessment and management of individuals affected by a range of cardiothoracic conditions requiring either medical or surgical interventions. You will critically examine the cardiothoracic assessment of a patient, applying your knowledge of anatomy and pathophysiology and exploring the range of care needs in order to generate a plan of action to manage care. The module also entails critical appraisal and analysis of effective care delivery.

Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

You will select an additional module from the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine’s CPD portfolio to complete 120 credits for the programme.

Optional modules provide an element of choice within the programme curriculum. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by timetabling requirements.

For more information about each module, including the dates and times of module sessions, please visit


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 be working in an appropriate practice environment. For further advice on this, please contact either the Clinical Programme Lead or the Academic Programme Lead.

You must be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council or Health and Care Professions Council, have membership of a related professional organisation, or hold an overseas nursing or allied health professional qualification and IELTS 6.0 or equivalent (with 6.0 achieved in the written and spoken language element of the test, completed within the last two years).

You should have 240 UK credits with 120 at level 4 (Cert HE) and 120 at level 5 (Dip HE). Alternatively, students who are over 21 will be considered if they can demonstrate the ability to study at degree level by the successful completion of a 20 credit Edge Hill University degree level module.

Following successful application, you will have an individual pathway advice session with the Liverpool Heart and Chest Education Team to make an informed choice of module options.

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’).

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?

Undertaking this specific programme of study can serve to enhance your career progression in the area of cardiothoracic care.

Successful completion of this award will ensure you are well-placed to either progress in your current role or pursue a change of career within associated areas.


Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for part-time study on this degree are:

  • £36 per credit for UK and EU students enrolling on the programme in academic year 2019/20, i.e. £720 per 20 credit module;
  • £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 120 credits must be studied in order to complete this BSc (Hons) award.

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


How to Apply

Apply directly to Edge Hill University.

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

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.

13th August 2019 - Change of Modules

HEA3250 Safe from Harm (Cardiothoracic Care) (20 credits) replaces HEA3132 Safe from Harm (Cardiothorac Care) (10 credits).