University of Technology Sydney

090024 Professional Practice in Critical Care

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject aims to further develop students’ understanding and application of core critical care concepts in the Australian context including: situational awareness, clinical leadership, cultural capability and moral courage, across a variety of problem and case-based scenarios. Students reflect upon and analyse their clinical decision-making skills and ability to adapt their own behaviour to respond effectively in rapidly changing clinical environments. Drawing upon a range of professional and ethico-legal concepts, students develop the requisite communications skills to engage with confidence in the difficult conversations often experienced in the critical care setting. A range of contemporary challenges including violence in healthcare, organ and tissue donation, withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment and self-care are also examined.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Apply professional and ethico-legal concepts and guidelines to a range of complex critical care scenarios
B. Defend the use of a range of evidence-based communication approaches to patient and family centred care within critical care environments
C. Appraise and apply relevant strategies to support patients and their significant others, with reference to Indigenous Australians, to minimise the psychological impact of the critical care environment
D. Appraise and apply relevant strategies to support fellow members of the health care team to minimise the psychological impact of the critical care environment
E. Develop collaborative, reflexive and responsive clinical leadership that promotes safe and effective practice

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • Demonstrate clinical judgement and clinical reasoning that is based on evidence and reflects relevant professional codes and guidelines (1.2)
  • Appraise approaches for building own capacity for clinical leadership (2.1)
  • Apply ethico-legal principles to the critical care environment (3.2)
  • Engage with patients, significant others and the healthcare team using a range of interpersonal and professional skills (4.1)
  • Develop a commitment to excellence in lifelong learning and continuing professional development (5.1)
  • Demonstrate professional cultural capability which contributes to the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians. (6.0)
  • Advocate for, respect and value Indigenous Australians, their ways of knowing, being and doing and integrate cultural practices in the critical care setting (6.1)
  • Apply a strengths-based approach in addressing issues facing Indigenous Australians (6.3)

Teaching and learning strategies

Orientation activities
Preparation for the session - You are expected to undertake activities during orientation week. These activities are designed to introduce you to the subject and your peers, and will assist you to prepare for the subject's assessment tasks.

Independent learning activities
Relevant readings, videos and activities will be made available online relevant to the topic of the week. This will support your ability to progress successfully throughout the subject and complete assessment items effectively. The online material aims to enhance your understanding of the topic or delve deeper into a more specific area, compare experiences and ideas with others and gain feedback. Information and links to all these learning activities can be accessed via Canvas as well as the subject outline.

Zoom meetings
You are strongly encouraged to attend all scheduled Zoom meetings as they will prepare you for the subject’s assessment tasks. Additionally, they provide opportunities for group activities, discussion, self-assessment, peer review and formative feedback from the subject coordinator and your teaching team. The schedule for this subject’s zoom meetings is below in the program section.

Feedback in this subject takes several forms including self-assessment, peer review, automatic feedback from interactive activities and from the teaching team. Formative feedback throughout the subject aims to increase your performance in summative assessments.

Feedback and changes from previous subject offering
This is the fifth offering of this subject. Feedback from previous offerings have led to redesign of the assessment tasks and your feedback at the end of this subject is very welcome in order for us to evaluate the success of these changes.

Content (topics)

This Subject will cover the following topics:

Module 1:

  • Assessment item 1 plan
  • Professional practice
  • Ethico-legal concepts in critical care

Module 2:

  • Communication in critical care
  • Situational awareness
  • Advocation and moral courage
  • Violence and agression management

Module 3:

  • Cultural considerations in critical care
  • Trauma informed care and practice
  • PTSD and the patient and family experience
  • Negotiating difficult conversations
  • Organ donation

Module 4:

  • Professional Quality of Life
  • Compassion satisfaction and fatigue
  • ?Clinical leadership
  • PTSD and staff experience
  • Shared decision making
  • Well-being and self-care


Assessment task 1: Portfolio plan


This assessment provides a platform to guide your study and assessment in this subject. Here you are prompted to reflect on your professional practice and knowledge and assist you to identify specific learning needs as they relate to the subject learning objectives. In doing so, you will create an action plan to assist you to achieve and evaluate those needs by the end of this session.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

B, C, D and E

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.2, 2.1, 4.1, 5.1 and 6.0

Type: Portfolio
Weight: 20%

800 words +/- 10%

Assessment task 2: Ethical Case Study


This assessment enables you to apply some of the concepts you have learned in the first four weeks of this subject to two ethical case studies. Presentation of your analysis of a case study scenario of complex ethico-legal concepts in the critical care setting, will evaluate your knowledge, or the application of it, across given topics.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A and C

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

3.2, 6.1 and 6.3

Type: Presentation
Weight: 40%

Length: Maximum presentation length is 15 minutes (after which, the marker will stop listening, and content beyond 15 minutes will not be marked)

Assessment task 3: Final portfolio submission


This assessment allows you to present, evaluate and reflect on the evidence of the learning you have undertaken as identified in your first assessment. This assessment contributes to your learning by completing a range of relevant experiences to facilitate your professional development.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

B, C, D and E

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.2, 2.1, 3.2, 4.1, 5.1 and 6.0

Type: Portfolio
Weight: 40%

2000 words +/- 10% (This includes the 400-500 words for each learning need using a recognised model of relection).

The practice context and experience narrative (assignment 1 sections of the template) is excluded from the word count in assignment 3.

Required texts

Aitken, L., Marshall, A., & Chaboyer, W. (2019). ACCCN’s Critical Care Nursing (4th ed.). Elsevier.

We strongly recommend the purchase of the text as it will be a resource for your career as well as for your critical care subjects while studying with us here in post-grad at UTS.


University of Teachnology, Sydeny (UTS). (2020). Assessment of coursework subjects policy and procedures, UTS.

A comprehensive list of references and other resources are available in this subject in Canvas.

Other resources

UTS Student Centre Building 10
Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm
Tel: 1300 ASK UTS (1300 275 887)

Details for student centres:

For other resources/ information refer to the Faculty of Health website ( and Canvas at:

UTS Library
The Library has a wide range of resources, facilities and services to support you including textbooks, subject readings, health literature databases, workshops and bookable study rooms. There is also a team of librarians to help you with your questions available via online chat, phone and in person. W:, Facebook: utslibrary, Twitter: @utslibrary Tel: (02) 9514 3666.

Improve your academic and English language skills
Marks for all assessment tasks such as assignments and examinations are given not only for what you write but also for how you write. If you would like the opportunity to improve your academic and English language skills, make an appointment with the HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support) Service in Student Services.

HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support)
HELPS provides assistance with English language proficiency and academic language. Students who need to develop their written and/or spoken English should make use of the free services offered by HELPS, including academic language workshops, vacation intensive courses, drop-in consultations, individual appointments and Conversations@UTS ( HELPS staff are also available for drop-in consultations at the UTS Library. Phone (02) 9514 9733.

Please see for additional information on other resources provided to students by UTS.

The Accessibility and Financial Assistance Service
The Accessibility Service can support students with disabilities, medical or mental health conditions, including temporary injuries (e.g., broken limbs). The Accessibility Service works with Academic Liaison Officers in each Faculty to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ such as exam provisions, assistive technology, requests and strategies for managing your studies alongside your health condition. If you’re unsure whether you need assistance, we recommend getting in touch early and we can provide advice on how our service can assist you. Make an appointment with an Accessibility Consultant (AC) on +61 2 9514 1177 or

The Financial Assistance Service can assist you with financial aspects of life at university, including Centrelink information, tax returns and budgeting, interest-free student loans and grants to assist with course-related costs. Check eligibility and apply online and make an appointment on +61 2 9514 1177 or