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Paediatric High Dependency Care HEA4509


This module will provide students with a solid foundation for all the major elements of contemporary Paediatric High Dependency Care. The module curriculum is aligned with the Paediatric Critical care Society (PCCS) standards for education in Paediatric Critical Care Level 1 & 2 specialist Nursing (2017). In addition to meeting the PCCS Quality Standards for the Care of Critically Ill or Injured Children requiring Paediatric Critical Care Level I & 2 (2021) and meets the recommendations set within the Paediatric Critical Care Getting It Right First time report (GIRFT (2022).

Module code:HEA4509
Module credits:30
Cost for new students:£1500 per module for 2024 / 2025 academic year

If your tuition fee is being paid by a sponsor or you are a sponsor paying a student’s fee, you are required to send a copy of a purchase order to [email protected].

For further guidance please visit: Sponsored students – Edge Hill University

Who is this module for?

This module is intended to advance the practice of those professionals currently employed within an acute paediatric HDU (High Dependency Unit) PCCS Level 1or 2, with a minimum of 12 months experience or 18 months for new graduates.
All applicants will need to fulfil the following criteria:

  • BSc (Hons) in a nursing or health related subject (normally 2:2 minimum classification).
  • Registered Child Nurse, or equivalent, with the Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • Registered Adult Nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and a minimum of 2 years working in paediatrics.
  • Registered Allied Health Professional with an appropriate professional body, with a minimum of working 2 years in paediatrics.
  • Successful completion of Paediatric Life Support (PLS) within the last 12 months.

Applicants without an honours degree but who otherwise fulfil the entry criteria above may be admitted to the programme if they can demonstrate their ability to succeed at Level 7 study by:

  • Being a practitioner, in an appropriate clinical area, who demonstrates extensive practice experience within a PCC setting (as captured in applicants revalidation portfolio or other similar professional portfolio).
  • Demonstrating, through their professional portfolio, a comprehensive knowledge of the discipline and an in-depth awareness of current issues, equivalent to that of degree level study, relating to either a health or social care setting.
  • Evidencing, at interview, (i) skills of critical analysis and evaluation through discussion or from previous academic study and (ii) their ability to learn in a flexible manner, utilising autonomy and self-direction.

What are the key aims of the module?

The aim of the course is to provide the practitioner with the necessary skills and knowledge to assess, recognise and manage children that require level 1 and 2 Paediatric Critical Care (PCC), including technology dependent children that may not necessarily be deteriorating but require this level of care. The module will identify and critically discuss key indicators of deterioration and critical illness and aims to advance the practice of the clinical professional to manage such patients and meet the recommendations of the Paediatric Critical Care GIRFT (2022) that 80% of staff working within HDU areas must attain this qualification.

How will I study?

During the module students will be exposed to the blended learning approach with face to face and virtual teaching, underpinned by effective tutor support.

  • Face to face and virtual teaching by experienced clinicians, expert in their field of practice, drawn from a wide variety of professional subject disciplines and sharing international perspective where appropriate.
  • Student and tutor led presentation of case studies to explore Paediatric Critical Illness conditions in depth and breadth.
  • Student led debates on ethical issues arising from contemporary Paediatric High dependency cases, for example the complexities of long-term ventilation and advanced care planning.
  • Participation in Action Learning Sets.
  • Simulation, hands on clinical experience of real-life deteriorating scenarios to enhance the students’ clinical skills and improve patient safety.
  • Using technology to demonstrate key techniques and interventions relevant to contemporary paediatric high dependency practice.

What will I study?

Continuing assessment, monitoring and management of:

  • ABC approach to clinical assessment
  • Basic and advanced airway management including high flow oxygen management and non-invasive ventilation.
  • Blood gas analysis, pulse oximetry and oxygen therapy.
  • Haemodynamic monitoring: heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, capillary refill, urine output.
  • Recognition and management of respiratory and cardiac arrest.
  • Trauma, Non-Accidental Injury (NAI), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Polytrauma.
  • Time Critical Transfer, Use of ‘AVPU’, the modified Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) and pupil reactions (PERL).
  • Temperature control
  • Fluid management, circulatory access (IV/IO infusion), types of resuscitation fluids available.
  • Using established recognition and response systems (PEWS) and escalate or de-escalate care delivery effectively using ISBARR
  • Interpretation of common diagnostic tests for the critically ill child (such as blood results and chest x-rays)
  • Assessment and management of pain
  • Revision and update of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in children.
  • Administration of commonly prescribed medicines for critically ill children.
  • Stabilising a child for intra and inter hospital transfers.
  • Ventilation strategies.
  • Applied communication, caring and support skills (to include psychological support of the child and family)
  • Role of the professional nurse advocate, wellbeing and resilience
  • History taking from the child and family and consent
  • Retrieval to tertiary centre, breaking bad news, end of life care and bereavement support
  • Strategies to enable and empower children and their families to become partners in their care.
  • Accountability, legal and ethical issues in relation to professional boundaries and clinical competencies and multi-disciplinary team (MDT) working.
  • Critical appraisal of research and evidence relating to the critically ill child. Critically evaluate and synthesise
  • Sedation withdrawal and delirium, recognition and management
  • Critical reflection and its application to experiential learning

How will I be assessed?

A two-part assessment strategy has been devised, with formative and summative assessment points clearly identified during and at the end of the module. The assessment tasks reflect a range of methods intending to reflect students’ differing strengths and capabilities, including a presentation, assignment and clinical competencies portfolio.

Formative assessment

Formative assessment is an integral component within this module and students will be provided with an number of opportunities which support completion of the summative assessments task. For example students will take part in and receive verbal feedback on various clinical simulations which will be integral in completion of their clinical competencies and which support them in the development of their summative assessment.

Summative assessment

The assessment of this module, benchmarked against the PCCS competencies, comprises the following:

Part one:

Student selected poster presentation (20 minutes) relevant to Paediatric High Dependency Care.

An assignment write-up of poster presentation (1,500 words)

Part two:

Clinical portfolio (Pass/Fail)

Completion of clinical portfolio competencies which are designed to evidence the consolidation of core critical care skills.

On successful completion you will:

Contribute to the quality improvement in services of Paediatric Critical Care Level I & 2 and those children and families that require High Dependency Care. The learning outcomes and clinical competencies for this module are aligned with the PCCS Standards for Nurse Education (2017), PCCS Quality Standards (2021) ensures quality assurance and promotes patient safety within the specialist field and have met the recommendations of the Paediatric Critical Care GIRFT (2022) report.

Study dates and venues

September 2023

Venue: Alder Hey Childrens Hospital

Starts: Wednesday 6 September 2023

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January 2024

Venue: Alder Hey Childrens Hospital

Starts: Wednesday 24 January 2024

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May 2024

Venue: Alder Hey Childrens Hospital

Starts: Wednesday 8 May 2024

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September 2024

Venue: Alder Hey Childrens Hospital

Starts: Wednesday 11 September 2024

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How to apply

Module availability varies from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Due to the popularity of some modules it may be that the module is fully booked when your application is received. We will include your details on a waiting list and allocate you a place on the next available intake.

For details of how to apply, please visit the apply page.

Students also need to download and complete the Additional Information Form. This should be submitted with their application.

If you have any other queries about studying with us, please see the FAQ page.

Contact us

For further information on module content please contact Rachael Kane: Module lead [email protected], Sam Ellis: Paediatric Critical Care Programme Lead [email protected] or Brenda Harris: Academic Partnership Liaison Tutor [email protected].

For any other queries, you can contact the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health on [email protected].