Learn to deliver safe, effective, individualised care for Level 3 patients.

Join our Critical Care Nursing courses and gain the credits you need to be a qualified practitioner in critical care.

Our courses are linked to critical care competencies, so completing them means you’ll meet the National Education requirements for critical care practitioners.

These blended courses combine online and work-based learning with in-person training at our Foresterhill Health Campus in Aberdeen.

Course one

  • Achieve CC3N Step 3 Competencies as a registered nurse in adult critical care.
  • Develop advanced theoretical knowledge and skills as a critical care practitioner.
  • Take an evidence-based approach to the holistic care of critically ill patients.

Course two

  • Build on your knowledge and skills in critical care delivery.
  • Choose an area of critical care to specialise in.
  • Gain theoretical and practical training in your chosen specialism and progress in your clinical career.

You’ll learn as part of a team, building on each other’s learning and experience, supported by our expert critical care faculty.

Who can join our Critical Care Nursing courses?

These courses are for registered nurses who:

  • are currently working in critical care, with core knowledge in critical care practice
  • are required to complete the CC3N Step 3 Competencies
  • have successfully completed the NHS Grampian Critical Care Education Pathway or equivalent from outside NHS Grampian.
Laura Reid, Practice Educator

Our teaching team leads the way in the delivery of Critical Care education linked to the National CC3N Competencies.

Laura Reid, Practice Educator

What you’ll study

Course one

In this first blended-learning course, you’ll cover:

  • assessment of the complex patient
  • decision making in critical care nursing through critical analysis and evaluation
  • enhanced knowledge of anatomy and physiology related to conditions commonly seen within critical care.

You’ll learn to critically analyse and improve practice by applying knowledge and understanding to relevant policies, procedures and guidelines.

And you’ll reflect on your own experiences of working in critical care to support your continual professional development.

Step 3 Competencies

You’ll also complete the Step 3 Competencies of the CC3N’s Steps Framework for Adult Critical Care Nurses. Read about the CC3N’s Steps Framework.

You’ll achieve your Step 3 Competencies as part of the portfolio you’ll complete as part of the course, demonstrating your clinical and theoretical knowledge and competence.

By the end of course one, you’ll be able to...

  • Critically analyse, discuss and apply the underpinning theory of evidence-based critical care practice.
  • Demonstrate safe and competent evidence-based practice in caring for the critically ill patient.
  • Demonstrate effective communication strategies with the patient, their families and colleagues in the critical care team.
  • Critically reflect on your experience as a practitioner in critical care to inform and develop your practice.

Course two

In this second blended-learning course, you’ll:

  • build on the skills and knowledge gained in Part one
  • further develop your knowledge in critical care delivery
  • focus on your own professional development, with learning tailored to your career goals and aspirations within critical care

In this course, you’ll pursue knowledge and skills related to your chosen speciality.

Areas you could specialise in include:

  • cardiac care
  • extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) uncovered
  • hyperbaric care
  • leadership
  • management
  • quality improvement
  • transport of critically ill.

By the end of course two, you’ll be able to...

  • Discuss your individual learning needs and how these can be addressed and evidenced.
  • Demonstrate safe and competent evidence-based practice in your chosen area of professional development.
  • Apply quality improvement methodology to your individual area of practice.
  • Evaluate your learning and identify how you’ll apply it in your clinical practice, including you’ll maintain and further develop your learning.

How you’ll study

Blended learning

Our Critical Care Nursing courses are delivered part-time via blended learning. You’ll learn via a mix of online, on-campus and work-based learning.

These courses are taught at undergraduate level (SCQF 10). See a guide to SCQF levels.

Online learning

Your online teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of resources at your fingertips, including:

  • videos and audio clips
  • video lectures to stream or download
  • online one-to-one tutorials
  • slide shows
  • quizzes
  • reading materials
  • discussion boards with colleagues and tutors
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library.

On-campus learning

Your on-campus learning will take place at our Foresterhill Health Campus in Aberdeen.

Foresterhill is one of the largest clinical complexes in Europe. It’s home to one of the leading medical schools in the UK, a large teaching hospital, maternity and children’s hospitals, and the Rowett Institute. Find out about our Health Campus.

Your on-campus learning will include:

  • lectures and tutorials
  • seminars
  • set exercises
  • simulated clinical scenarios
  • experiential learning in Clinical Practice with experienced practitioners.

Work-based learning

You’ll reflect on your existing experience within critical care. And you’ll learn to apply new and existing knowledge within your own work environment. We’ll use the National CC3N Steps Competency Framework and you’ll complete a portfolio as part of your work-based learning.

Your tutors

You’ll be taught by the NHS Grampian Critical Care Education Team as well as other experienced clinicians from both the University and clinical practice, such as Medics and Specialist Nurses.

Your course coordinator

Where this will take you

Towards a Masters

On successful completion of both courses, you’ll earn 60 credits at honours degree level (SCQF 10).

This could enable you to progress to our blended-learning Masters degree:


The National Critical Care Standards state that 50% of the nursing workforce requires to have a post-registration critical care award.

By completing both of our courses, which map to the National Standards and include the national competencies, you’ll have achieved the academic level (SCQF 10) and number of credits (60) required for a practitioner in critical care.

You’ll be qualified to deliver safe, effective Level 3 patient-centred care.

Step 3 Competencies

By completing course one successfully, you’ll have achieved advanced CC3N competencies in your role as a critical care practitioner.

As well as enhancing your knowledge, skills and professional network, these courses will:

  • open opportunities for your career development in critical care
  • evidence your expertise and competency within your current role.

Free career support

Access our free careers service while you study.

  • 1:1 appointments
  • CV checks
  • Interview prep
  • Job opportunities

See how our careers service can help you.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for course one

To apply for course one, you should:

  • be a current registered nurse working within Critical Care Level 2 and/or 3
  • have evidence of foundational knowledge in critical care nursing, eg, NHS Grampian Critical Care Education Pathway completion or equivalent.

You also need to:

  • have a nursing degree, or
  • be able to demonstrate evidence of equivalent experience in healthcare practice.

Entry requirements for course two

To apply for course two, you should:

  • be a current registered nurse or allied health professional working within Critical Care Level 2 and/or 3, and
  • have evidence of foundational knowledge in critical care nursing, eg, NHS Grampian Critical Care Education Pathway completion or equivalent, and
  • have completed Professional and Clinical Development in Critical Care Nursing Course One, or equivalent learning.

Apply for this course

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