2023 Intensive Care Nursing

This course aims to prepare registered nurses to work as Specialist Nurses in Intensive Care. The course provides opportunities for students to expand their knowledge and skills by integrating theory and intensive care nursing practice in order to engage in clinical decision making.

St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney offers students the opportunity to undertake a structured Intensive Care Nursing Course over one year. It incorporates three units of study that articulate with University programs.

  • Intensive Care Nursing 1
  • Intensive Care Nursing 2
  • Clinical Practice

Clinical Practice (CP)

The aim of this unit is to provide opportunities for students to expand their knowledge and skills by integrating theory and Intensive Care nursing practice, in order to engage in clinical decision making.  The unit focuses on enabling students to utilise a multi-conceptual approach competently when caring for the patient.  Students will be required to reflect upon practice and to critically evaluate nursing interventions in terms of evidence based practice. Content includes;

  • Structured Clinical Rotations: students may gain clinical experience in the following areas: General Intensive Care Unit; Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit; Emergency Department; Aneasthetics; and Acute Coronary Care.
  • Educational and Clinical Support: Emphasis is placed on adult learning principles, which encourage individuals to take responsibility for personal and professional development.  All clinical areas have Clinical Nurse Educators to provide guidance and support.  The Nurse Educator’s responsibility is in teaching participants effective learning strategies such as independent and/or self-directed learning.  This type of learning contributes to personal and professional growth, promotes lifelong learning and enables the individual to pursue excellence in patient care.
  • Clinical Study Days: 112 hours have been allocated as Study Days for clinically focused learning.  Content of these Study Days is designed to complement the theoretical content of tertiary programs.  Teaching and Learning strategies may include lectures and tutorials, clinical visits, literature appraisal, discussions, assessments, self-directed learning opportunities and presentations.
  • Clinical Assessments: Student progress throughout the Clinical Practice Units will be assessed on an individual basis utilising a variety of assessment methods and tools.  Assessments will include specialty clinical competencies; standardised learning contracts for clinical rotations, professional performance reviews, and written assessments such as clinical incident analyses, and a procedure development portfolio
  • Clinical Leadership/Management: Following consultation with Nurse Managers, experience may be gained in leadership within the Intensive Care Unit.

Intensive Care Nursing 1 (ICN1)

The aim of this unit is to prepare students to provide holistic care in intensive care nursing.  Students will examine and apply knowledge and skills for safe, competent person and family-centred care relevant to intensive care nursing.  The unit focuses on enabling students to perform a comprehensive health assessment and prioritise, implement and evaluate appropriate nursing care.    

Intensive Care Nursing 2 (ICN2)

This unit builds on and extends the knowledge and understanding acquired in previous units. The aim is to prepare students to develop further their skills in providing holistic care, including person and family-centred health promotion in intensive care. The focus of the unit is on enhancing skills to work within the collaborative team on planning care for people and families experiencing complex health problems. The students’ ability to articulate the evidence base for clinical decisions will be facilitated.

Course duration

The SVH Postgraduate Intensive Care Nursing Course commences February and concludes December of each year; units are undertaken concurrently throughout the year;

  • Clinical Practice runs over 10 months with lectures conducted during eight hour study days that occur once a month.
  • Each Intensive Care Nursing unit runs over 16 weeks with lectures conducted during eight hour study blocks that occur once a month.

All lectures are delivered in a face to face format.

Affiliation with Australian Catholic University (ACU)

The Intensive Care Nursing units attract 10 credit points (cp) each towards ACU’s Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing.  To complete a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing offered by ACU (a 40cp course) students may undertake two (2) remaining online theory units.

The Clinical Practice Unit attracts 10cp towards the Graduate Diploma in Clinical Nursing and 10cp towards the Masters of Clinical Nursing  at ACU. (Click here for link to ACU Website).

Nomenclature of Award

Successful completion of Intensive Care Nursing 1, Intensive Care Nursing 2 and Clinical Practice will enable the student to graduate from SVH Postgraduate Intensive Care Nursing Course; graduates are awarded a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Intensive Care Nursing.

Student Selection

The selection of SVH Postgraduate Intensive Care Nursing Course students is based on academic and employment suitability. Applicants must meet the following criteria:

Currently registered as a Registered Nurse (Division 1) with the Australian Health Professionals Regulation Agency. 
Currently employed on a minimum 32 hour basis within the intensive care unit of St Vincent’s Hospital or St Vincent’s Private Hospital. 
Have a minimum of 6 months Intensive Care nursing experience (excluding Registered Nurse Transition Program also known as Gradstart  in NSW Health or Pathways to Practice rotations) by the course commencement date.
Have a satisfactory appraisal and managerial support to complete the postgraduate course from their current nurse unit manager in the last 3 months.
St Vincent’s Public ICU applicants have completed the following training requirements by course commencement date: all SVH mandatory training, SVH ICU Level 1 Clincial competency book and Cytotoxic level 1 accreditation.
St Vincent’s Private ICU applicants have completed the following training by course commencement date: SVPH mandatory training, all stage 1, 2 & 3 ICU competencies, ALS accreditation and cytotoxic workshop (desirable).



There are no costs associated with the Clinical Practice unit. Intensive Care Nursing 1 and Intensive Care Nursing 2 are fee-paying units and attract a cost of $900 per unit. 

Fees may be eligible for tax deduction and Intensive Care nursing education funding may be available for course fee purposes.



Applicants are required to complete an online application form via https://form.jotform.com/222788584987885
Applications close on the 20th of November, 2022 at 11.59pm



To financially assist students, St Vincent's Hospital Division of Nursing offers a defined number of scholarships in an endeavour to support RNs to undertake tertiary based Post Graduate study that relate to clinical specialties at St Vincent’s Hospital.

For further information, please contact the Nurse Manager of Education Tel: 02 8382 2322

Scholarships are also available through various other organisations, such as the NSW Department of Health and the NSW Nurses Association.

For further enquiries please contact:

Intensive Care Nurse Educator

Isabel Hawken

Tel: 02 8382 2609

Email: Isabel.Hawken@svha.org.au

For general enquiries please contact the Manager of Nurse Education Tel: 02 8382 2322