Acutely unwell adult


Acutely unwell adult

In recent years there has been a shift towards providing critical care in general wards, which has changed the way acutely unwell patients are identified, treated and managed in the acute hospital environment.

Staff are required to have appropriate knowledge and skills to identify the deteriorating patient and provide prompt, timely and appropriate interventions to prevent further deterioration. This module uses a flexible blended learning approach to enable practitioners to develop this skill set to enhance the care provided to this group of patients.

This course is also available as an undergraduate (level 6) award.

Learning outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate critical awareness of the specialist knowledge, skills and approaches required to provide a comprehensive assessment of the acutely unwell adult.
  2. Critically evaluate clinical assessment findings with reference to the underlying pathophysiology and using relevant comparisons for age, gender, co-morbidities, and normal values.
  3. Review and justify a range of appropriate data sources to identify the acutely unwell adult, including consideration of limitations of approaches used.
  4. Prioritise and implement a range of appropriate evidence and research based interventions for the acutely unwell adult.
  5. Critically appraise the effectiveness of chosen interventions and suggests further evidence-based measures as necessary.
  6. Work effectively and proactively in multidisciplinary teams to resolve potential conflicts and negotiate solutions within the context of acutely unwell patients.
  7. Critically appraise the ethico-legal and economic implications of caring for acutely unwell patients.

Who is the module for? Nurses and other registered healthcare practitioners, such as paramedics, who wish to develop their knowledge and skills in caring for acutely ill patients. Students must be working in an appropriate clinical area, caring for patients who are already, or are at risk of becoming acutely ill.

Module code: HP7002Y

Entry criteria:

Applicants will be required to meet all of the following criteria:

  • Hold a recognised health-related professional qualification and current professional registration.
  • Hold an Honours degree 2(ii) or above from a UK or Republic of Ireland university. An Honours degree equivalent to a 2(ii) or above from an approved institution of higher education outside the UK and Republic of Ireland will be accepted. Advice on equivalence of overseas awards will be obtained from the National Recognition and Information Centre for the UK (NARIC).
  • Normally have a minimum of one year’s post-qualifying practice experience. Module specific practice related requirements and additional entry criteria will apply to some modules and these will be indicated in the module outlines.

Non-standard applicants

Applications will be considered from non-standard applicants who can demonstrate the following certificated learning:

  • a DipHE from a UK or Republic of Ireland university or equivalent qualification from an approved institution of higher education outside the UK and Republic of Ireland

and one of the following completed within the last five years:

  • successful completion of a standalone module at level M OR
  • a minimum of 30 credits from standalone modules at level 6, at or above grade B (60%).

Proficiency in English language

Evidence of English language testing will be required from all applicants for whom English is not their first language and who have not previously undertaken studies in English. The required level of proficiency will be a minimum overall International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score (or equivalent) of 6.5, with no section achieving less than 6.0. Evidence of proficiency must be dated within the last two years. Applicants who have taken the examination more than twice in one year will not be considered.

International applicants

All international applicants must satisfy the requirements of the UK Border Agency in relation to St George’s responsibilities as a Highly Trusted Sponsor for students (Tier 4).

Advanced practice route

Applicants for this route will be required to meet all the following additional requirements:

  • a minimum of two years full-time experience (or the equivalent in part-time hours) in health or social care employment
  • be employed in a senior role
  • demonstrate they are working in a practice setting which enables the achievement of the specialist compulsory module outcomes relating to the Advanced Practice competencies (Great Britain, Department of Health, 2010).


Number of credits and level of study: 30 credits at level 7. This course is also available as an undergraduate (level 6) award.

Assessment: Exam and clinical competencies

Location: St George’s, University of London

Pattern of Delivery: 10 teaching days

Module dates:*
(9am – 4.30pm)

  • 29 September, 6, 13, 20, 27 October, 3, 10, 17, 24 November , 1 December 2017, 5 January (exam) 2018
  • 12, 19, 26 January, 2, 9, 16, 23 February, 2, 9, 16 March 2018, 20 April (exam) 2018
  • 27 April, 4, 11, 18, 25 May, 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 June 2018, 3 August (exam) 2018

*Dates may change

Fee: £1600

Programme: This module is part of Healthcare Practice PgCert/PgDip/MSc