Postgraduate Certificate in Critical Care

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For healthcare professionals working on the frontline in the fast-paced world of critical care, a systematic understanding of how to manage urgent presentations of life-threatening conditions is essential. A lack of such specialist knowledge can prove fatal.

This newly launched Postgraduate Certificate in Critical Care is designed to equip practitioners with advanced knowledge of how to respond to and treat a range of critical conditions including sepsis, heart failure and respiratory failure.

With a completion time of just six months, you can now upskill in this crucial field faster than ever before, enabling you to really make a difference in the most critical scenarios, and significantly improve patient outcomes.

PgCert Critical Care

Next intake: September 2024Key Facts

Awarding University
University of Buckingham
Exit Points
6 Months
Class Size
15 - 20
Application Deadline
30th August 2024
Course start date
2nd September 2024 (view full module dates)
100% Online
Total Fees
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Critical care is a highly rewarding field of medical care to specialise in, offering the ability to significantly improve the quality of patient care and ultimately save lives.

Unlike competitors who emphasise theoretical learning through extensive reading and essay writing, our advanced certificate in Critical Care medicine focuses on practical, clinically-rich scenarios. We offer a multidisciplinary approach, enabling students to apply their knowledge immediately in real-life situations alongside their day jobs.

On completion of this Critical Care Postgraduate Certificate, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a systematic knowledge of critical care, skills in critical appraisal and application of knowledge for direct patient benefit/service development and future study.
  • Apply life-long learning and advanced problem-solving skills to practice in critical care.
  • Evaluate practice critically in relation to the evidence base.


Next intake: September 2024 Key Facts

Awarding University
University of Buckingham
100% Online
Exit Points
6 Months
6 months
Class Size
15 - 20
Application Deadline
30th August 2024
Course start date
2nd September 2024 (view full module dates)
Total Fees

Why Study a Critical Care Postgraduate Certificate with Learna

We have over 10 years’ experience delivering online courses, giving you access to flexible, affordable distance learning in partnership with world-leading educators.


100% Flexible

Our courses are 100% online. No fixed study times mean you can log in and learn whenever and wherever.

Multidisciplinary - study in a group of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals.


Expert Led

All of our programmes are authored and developed by world leading experts in their field.

Our faculty are selected due to their subject expertise, experience and teaching abilities to ensure the highest standards of educational excellence.


Career Boosting

Get a University Validated postgraduate qualification in just 1 calendar year instead of 2 academic years.

40% of our alumni reported an increase in salary 2 years after studying with us.

Who is this course for?

Our Critical Care Programmes are designed to meet the needs of a multidisciplinary network of healthcare professionals, including Paramedics, Doctors, Nurses, GPs, Pharmacists and Physicians Associates.

If you are a paramedic seeking career advancement opportunities, critical care is a recognised progression path, which this programme will support.

Perhaps you are a nurse working in an ICU setting, seeking specialisation as an emergency care nurse? This programme will ensure your knowledge of critical care is up to date and prepare you for advanced opportunities.

Global Relevance
Our Critical Care programme serves a global demand, welcoming students internationally and addressing crucial gaps in healthcare systems in regions like Africa and India where specialised skill sets are urgently required.

How Will I Learn?

You will be supported throughout your studies by a committed team of internationally recognised educational experts.

Our courses are conducted through our interactive online learning platform, log in daily whenever and wherever you want. No fixed timetable empowers you to study when it suits you

These usually occur within groups of 10-20 students, allowing you to clearly communicate with both your tutor and fellow students.


Our online Critical Care Postgraduate Certificate allows you to study for just six months and is a part-time, distance-learning course. The course is worth 60 credits and comprises three modules of 20 credits, each running over a period of six weeks.

Module Aims
This module addresses the essential topics in respiratory support, along with related ethical decision-making and communication in critical care settings.

Module Content

  • Fundamentals of respiratory failure
  • Mechanical ventilation modes and strategies
  • Ventilator-associated complications and prevention
  • Weaning and extubation protocols
  • Non-invasive ventilation techniques
  • Management of acute exacerbations of chronic respiratory diseases

Module Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of the aetiology, classification and ethical consideration of acute respiratory failure, including the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms that contribute to different respiratory support needs in critical care settings.
  2. Systematically analyse and critically evaluate current research and guidelines related to the aetiology, classification and management of patients requiring respiratory support in the critical care setting.
  3. Apply effective communication and collaborative skills within multidisciplinary teams to optimise respiratory support and ethical management for critically ill patients, demonstrating proficiency in the recognition of patient-centred care, communication of ethical decision making, and promoting of interdisciplinary teamwork.

Module Aims
To equip students with a systematic understanding of sepsis, including the pathophysiology, and the crucial aspects of diagnosis and early management to improve patient outcomes in critical care settings.

Module Content

  • Fundamentals of sepsis
  • Pathophysiology of sepsis
  • Diagnosis and risk stratification in sepsis
  • Management of sepsis: early interventions
  • Antimicrobal therapy in sepsis
  • Fluid resuscitation and haemodynamic support in sepsis

Module Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of the aetiology, pathophysiology, and management of sepsis in critical care settings.
  2. Analyse and critically evaluate diagnostic criteria, risk stratification methods, and early management strategies to identify and manage sepsis promptly in a range of clinical settings.
  3. Apply effective communication and collaborative skills within a multidisciplinary team environment to support the implementation of evidence-based interventions that would aim to prevent complications and optimise patient outcomes in sepsis cases.

Module Aims
To provide a comprehensive exploration of the delivery of cardiovascular support in critical care settings, and also the pathophysiology and management of heart failure, to include related ethical decision-making and discussions.

Module Content
This module will explore cardiovascular monitoring techniques, some of the most common invasive methods and the use of vasoactive agents and mechanical circulatory support devices, to optimise patient outcomes in high-acuity situations. Topics will include:

  • Pathophysiology of heart failure
  • Clinical presentation and diagnostic evaluation
  • Pharmacological management of heart failure
  • Cardiovascular monitoring
  • Advanced cardiovascular support devices
  • Multidisciplinary approach to heart failure management, including ethical decisions

Module Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of the pathophysiology and clinical manifestations of heart failure and other cardiovascular issues in patients in need of critical care.
  2. Critically evaluate current research and guidelines relating to the pathophysiology, presentation and management of patients in critical care requiring cardiovascular support.
  3. Apply effective communication and collaboration skills within multidisciplinary teams to coordinate cardiovascular support and heart failure management for critically ill patients, ensuring an ethical, patient-centred approach aimed at improved outcomes.

Assessment Methods

The Postgraduate Certificate in Critical Care places assessments at the heart of the learning process through the employment of real life scenarios to enhance problem-solving, critical analysis and evidence-based practice. Since the scenarios act as a focus for learning and assessment, the two are intrinsically linked.

The three modules on the course have the same assessment format and for all modules, you will be assigned a dedicated expert tutor. Your tutor will then facilitate case discussions with the group, whilst monitoring, assessing and marking your work throughout. You will also participate in a combination of module activities that may be group and/or individual based, dependent on the module.

These innovative teaching methods enable you to envisage the translation of your studies into your every day work and practice. Due to the online nature of the course, you will be expected to regularly login and participate in the course - ideally on a daily basis. Students are recommended to spend around two hours per day on their studies. Our dedicated Student Support Team are also available to help with any problems you may face. From navigating our online platform to advising you on deadlines, our team can assist with any questions or challenges you may have along the way.

The online reflective journal is a learning portfolio that requires the students to record and critically reflect on their learning. Reflection is an important aspect of the programme as the professionals will be able to spend time considering how their practice compares to the themes being discussed in the module. The tutor provides regular feedback to the student and marks it at the end of the module.

Reflective practice is a requirement for healthcare professionals for both professional re-validation and professional development.

Case problems in the form of a one-hour timed examination with multiple-choice ‘single best answer’ questions directly test the reasoning and knowledge objectives of the module. The online examination is marked automatically. The examination tests Anti-Ageing Medicine related theory and problem-solving skills.

The group activity is designed to stimulate and test the students’ ability to work as a team in taking the subject area forward. A group task is set, the group elects a leader using the online forum (designed to put leadership skills into practice) and the leader allocates tasks to group members.

The leader is responsible for managing, collating and submitting the activity (online) at the end of the module. The tutor provides formative guidance part way through the module and marks the assessment at the end.
Examples of individual activities might include either a written assignment, poster, blog or social media project.

All students must complete the same assignment for each module that is predetermined by the programme Leader before the modules commence. Students are not provided with an option to choose.

Students are required to critically analyse clinically focused case-based scenarios, discussion threads and weekly questions posed by their tutors via the Academic Forum (an online discussion board) and designed to meet the module learning outcomes. Here, students make their own researched and referenced contributions and interact with the tutor and their fellow students. There is no didactic teaching, instead, students are posed questions and prompted to search the literature, read it critically and respond. Engagement is encouraged by the tutor prompting students to respond and the use of automated activity monitoring software.

At the end of each module, the tutor allocates marks to each student based on a marking rubric. The rubric takes into account the following elements:

· Promptness and initiative
· Delivery of post (spelling and grammar)
· The relevance of post and referencing
· Expression within the post

Entry requirements

Since our PG Cert in Critical Care is conducted entirely online, it is accessible to both UK and international registered healthcare professionals.

Applicants will typically hold a first degree or equivalent (including international qualifications) in a relevant professional healthcare field, such as a medical or nursing degree.

Registered healthcare professionals without these recognised qualifications will be considered for the Critical Care programmes on an individual basis and a wide range of prior experience may be taken into account. In some cases, applicants may be asked to submit a piece of work for assessment in order to confirm that they are able to work comfortably at postgraduate level, and demonstrate the requisite clinical and professional knowledge.

Documents Required

  • A copy of your updated CV including your address and date of birth.
  • A copy of your undergraduate degree certificate.
  • The name and email address of someone who is able to provide a reference, this can be a work colleague, employer or former tutor.
  • A detailed personal statement explaining why you would like to undertake the course.
  • A copy of your proof of English competency (see below).

English Language Requirements
Proficiency in the English language is also essential to completing our courses. If English is NOT your first language, we ask for proof of competency during the application process. We are able to accept an IELTS (with an overall score of 6.5 and a minimum of 6.0 for each band) or an equivalent qualification.

If you do not meet these requirements, please don’t worry. You can also contact our admissions team on for more information on the qualifications we accept.

Course Fees

Total Course Fees for UK & International Students for September 2024:
Application deadline - TBC

Option 1: Upfront Payment in full. Option 2: Interest free payments every other month for the duration of the course.

DateInstalmentsUp-Front Payments
1st November 2024£800
1st January 2025£800

† Deposits are non-refundable

†† Prices are subject to review following each intake

Option 3: Lower your monthly payments by spreading the cost for between 2 and 8 years with a loan from our lending partner Lendwise*.

*Subject to eligibility criteria.


Learna | Diploma MSc has a partnership with Lendwise which is a leading private student loan provider, to help UK students fund their course fees should they require financing. Lendwise is a UK-based education finance platform through which candidates can fund their postgraduate and professional qualification studies at leading educational institutions.

A Lendwise loan comes with a fixed interest rate for the duration of the loan (between 2 and 8 years) and no early repayment penalties. The interest rate offered will depend on the overall applicant profile and the application process is entirely online.*

*Other sources of funding are available.
Learna | Diploma MSc does not offer financial advice, recommend or endorse any financial product. You should always check the suitability of the product that is of interest to you. If you are in any doubt as to its suitability, we suggest that you seek independent professional advice.

Talk To Our Students

Why Learna

We have over 10 years’ experience delivering online diploma courses, giving you access to flexible, affordable distance learning in partnership with world-leading educators.

Our courses are some of the most affordable of their kind, providing value for money without compromising on quality. We also don't apply an international surcharge. No fixed timetable means you can log in & learn on the go, at your convenience.

Being totally online means we can select the very best tutors and resource editors, no matter where they’re located.

Connect with multidisciplinary people around the world to expand your insights & broaden your career prospects.

Our programmes produce 90% fewer emissions than campus-based learning.

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