ICU Postgraduate Nursing Course with Graduate Certificate

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 (SVHS) offers students the opportunity to undertake a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing (Intensive Care) in conjunction with the SVH ICU Postgraduate Nursing Course over a 12 or 18 month period. The SVH ICU Postgraduate Nursing Course incorporates two units of study that articulate with the Australian Catholic University (ACU) postgraduate programs. 

  • Intensive Care Nursing 1
  • Intensive Care Nursing 2 

Intensive Care Nursing 1 (ICN1)

This unit aims to prepare students to provide holistic and evidence-based best-practice care in the intensive care setting. Students will examine and apply knowledge and skills for safe and 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. In this unit, students will develop their understanding of pathophysiology and apply this knowledge to patients with chronic, acute and complex life-threatening conditions or injuries. 

Intensive Care Nursing 2 (ICN2)

This unit builds on and extends the knowledge and understanding acquired in Intensive Care Nursing 1. The aim of this unit is to support the progression of critical care theory and complex clinical skills to facilitate professional development and the provision of appropriate and dignified specialist nursing care. The unit focuses on consolidating theory and practice through analysing and evaluating evidence-based concepts to deliver multi-faceted individualised nursing care. The role of the specialist critical care nurse encompasses an awareness of the ethical and cultural considerations in the provision of dignified and respectful person and family-centred interactions. 

Clinical Practice (CP)

The aim of this unit is to bridge the theory to knowledge gap by integrating theory and Intensive Care nursing practice, in order to improve the application of clinical reasoning.  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 and accountability 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: Upon completion of the course requirements, experience may be gained in team leadership and clinical governance within the Intensive Care Unit.    

Course duration

The The SVH ICU Postgraduate Nursing Course commences February and concludes December of each year; Affiliated ACU subjects (NRSG524 and NRSG525) must be completed either concurrently with the SVH ICU Postgraduate Nursing Course within 12 months or within 18 months from the commencement of the ICU Postgraduate Nursing Course.

  • Clinical Practice (Semester 1 & 2) runs concurrently with Intensive Care Nursing units over 10 months with lectures conducted during 2 eight-hour study days per 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 (Intensive Care).  To complete a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing offered by ACU (a 40cp course) students must undertake the two (2) ACU online theory units (NRSG524 and NRSG525).
Students can elect to complete the affiliated ACU subjects via 3 pathways:
  • Complete ACU subjects six months prior to commencing the SVH Postgraduate Intensive Care Nursing Course
  • Complete ACU subjects in the six months after completing the SVH Postgraduate Intensive Care Nursing Course
  • Complete ACU subjects concurrently with the SVH Postgraduate Intensive Care Nursing Course over a 12-month period

Nomenclature of Award

On successful completion of the St Vincent’s Hospital ICU Postgraduate Nursing Course (incorporating three units and rotations), a SVH Certificate of Clinical Competence in Intensive Care Nursing Practice is awarded by St Vincent’s Hospital. Upon completion of affiliated ACU subjects a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing (Intensive Care) is awarded to you by ACU.

Admission Requirements

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 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, SVHS ICU Competencies Progression Book – Advanced beginner level 1B 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).


Intensive Care Nursing 1 and Intensive Care Nursing 2 attract a cost of $1000 per unit of study for non St Vincent’s Hospital students. There are no costs associated with Clinical Practice. Fees may be eligible for tax deduction and Intensive Care nursing education funding may be available for course fee purposes. Students may also be eligible for FEE-HELP, a student loan initiative from the Australian Government


Applicants are required to complete an online application form via this link:
 Early Bird Applications close on the 16th of June, 2024 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 2276

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 Educators

Intensive Care Nurse Educators Rachel Macri & Elizabeth Conquest  Tel: 02 8382 2609 Email: