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Critical Care Nursing (e-learning) (graduate certificate)

Critical Care Nursing (e-learning) (graduate certificate)

Critical Care Nursing (e-learning) (graduate certificate)

Critical Care Nursing (e-learning) (graduate certificate)

Critical Care Nursing (e-learning) (graduate certificate)

Critical care nursing: fast-paced, high-tech and challenging

Despite the time, commitment and hard work nurses contribute to the medical community, many continue to look for ways to extend the important impact they have on the lives of men and woman. Responsible for the most vulnerable of patients, critical care nurses vigilantly monitor, assess and treat the critically ill, ready for the next challenge and thriving on change.

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Program Description

This program is designed for students with previous education. Please see the entrance requirements section of this page for more detail.

Designed for registered nurses (RNs), it consists of an introductory course to e-learning, five theoretical courses offered online via the Internet, a critical care simulation component held at Durham College or a partner site and hands-on preceptored experience in an intensive care unit (ICU).

Related information:

If you are a new critical care nurse; experienced critical care nurse desiring recognition and a certificate in critical care; or a nurse interested in working in the ICU, this program offers a flexible professional development opportunity by enabling you to access continued learning regardless of your location, shift pattern or other commitments.

The program begins with a brief course on study methods and learning in an e-learning environment to familiarize you with e-learning and promote your successful navigation through five mandatory e-learning critical care courses.

 A measurement of your knowledge and competency will occur throughout and/or at the end of each e-learning course. Following successful completion of six online courses, you will complete the 39-hour simulation component of the program.

This will take place in a simulation lab where you will have an opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge learned online to integrated case-based scenarios. High-fidelity patient simulators will be used to replicate the needs of critically ill adult patients. Your critical thinking and application of knowledge will be facilitated and evaluated under the supervision of nationally certified critical care nurse experts in small instructor-to-student ratios.

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Admission Requirements

  • Proof of registration as a registered nurse (RN) with the College of Nurses of Ontario (RNs from other provinces should contact the Recruitment and Admissions Services office at 905.721.3000)

Practicum Completion Outside of Ontario

For students living and working outside of Ontario, practicum placements outside of the province of Ontario (but in Canada) MAY be accommodated if an affiliation agreement between Durham College and the out-of-Ontario organization can be arranged.  If you are considering an out-of-Ontario placement, you will need to self-identify yourself to Durham College prior to confirming your acceptance to the program.

Please send an email with your intent to complete an out-of-Ontario placement to: 

Margret Campkin, Program Coordinator 


Carol Connor, Administrative Coordinator 

Bachelor of Science in Nursing Students

Fourth-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing students can also apply to the program but will not be able to complete the practicum portion until proof of RN registration is provided.

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Career Options

Following completion of the program, you will be prepared to work in a critical care practice area.

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Course List & Descriptions

Semester 1


This course prepares students for learning online through the Critical Care Nursing Hub. It introduces selected basic computer and information literacy and technological, Internet and research skills. Students are required to learn through a variety of online media and interactive activities and are provided opportunities to practise their research and information literacy skills. A strong focus is placed on engaging learners with the WebCT learning platform.

This course explores the fundamentals of pathophysiology and related disease processes. The underlying concepts of homeostasis, cellular changes, inflammation, infection, healing and abnormal immune responses will be examined. Concepts of fluid - electrolyte and acid - base balance are analyzed along with how imbalances can promote disorder in the body. Knowledge gained provides critical care nurses with foundational knowledge of homeostasis and related dysfunctions that can be applied in a critical care practice setting. 

In this course the skills required to care for a critically ill neurologic patient will be discussed in detail and will include key nursing management including advanced neurological assessment, common diagnostics, pharmacology and neurological emergencies.

This course teaches the core cardiac skills required to practice in a critical care unit including arrhythmia and 12 lead interpretation, pacemakers and hemodynamic monitoring. In addition, the care of a cardiac patient experiencing a myocardial infarction with associated pharmacology, lab and diagnostics is explored.  Advanced cardiac topics such as intra-aortic balloon augmentation, percutaneous cardiac interventions (PCI) and cardiac tamponade are discussed. Case studies and interactive learning activities assist students with learning these essential skills. 

In this course the skills required to care for a mechanically ventilated patient will be discussed in details and will include key nursing management for patients with advanced pulmonary disorders such as Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome and pneumonia.

This course introduces critical care nurses to related physiological and psychological principles and theories in a critical care setting. It concentrates on dysfunction within gastrointestinal, endocrine and renal systems. Learning activities are utilized to apply the homeostatic principles and concepts discussed in Foundations: Critical Care to the above-mentioned systems and related disease entities. 

This 39-hour program is conducted in the simulation lab with high-fidelity simulators. Case-based scenarios and focused learning stations are utilized to teach the application of content and students develop skills in caring for the critically ill patient. Points of emphasis include mechanical ventilation; hemodynamic monitoring; arrhythmia interpretation; and priority setting and decision-making in a critical care setting. Team communication, ethical/legal implications, pharmacological and diagnostic implications are also included.

As part of this 120-hour preceptored experience, students have an opportunity to apply the essential skills required to care for patients in a critical care setting. The clinical competencies assessed are based on the standards for critical care in Ontario. Upon completion of the practicum, students complete a comprehensive virtual examination. Clinical competencies are assessed at Level 2 or 3 based on the nature of the clinical experience and opportunities within that environment. Prerequisites: all critical care e-learning courses and critical care simulations.

Courses and course descriptions are for the next academic year and are subject to change.

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Program Costs

 YEAR ONE FEESDomesticInternational
Compulsory Ancillary$121N/A
Program Incidental$0N/A
Total Fees:$1,649N/A

Please note: fees are based on the 2014-2015 academic year and do not include textbooks. For more information please see Other fees to consider.

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Field Placements

The final component of the program is an integrated practicum, which includes 120 hours of clinical practice in an adult critical care practice environment.

 You will demonstrate competency in the Standards of Practice for Critical Care Nursing in Ontario under the direct preceptorship/mentorship of an experienced critical care nurse and the facilitation of a Durham College faculty advisor.

Upon successful completion of the program, a critical care certificate will be awarded. Transfer credit, advanced standing or challenge will be considered on an individual basis. Please visit or contact the program co-ordinator at 905.721.2000 ext. 2064 for more information.

 Please note: You will be required to adhere to and meet the pre-placement documentation requirements of the host agency.

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  • Program length: Eight-month
  • Credential awarded: Ontario College Graduate Certificate
  • Location: Oshawa
  • School: School of Health & Community Services (HCS)
  • Domestic tuition: $1,649 (CDN)
  • Intake Statuses
    • Program intake status is Open Open: May 2015
    • Program intake status is Open Open: September 2015
    • Program intake status is Open Open: January 2016
    • Program intake status is Open Open: May 2016
  • International Intake Statuses
    • Program intake status is Closed Closed: May 2015
    • Program intake status is Closed Closed: September 2015
    • Program intake status is Closed Closed: January 2016
  • code: CCH
  • Diploma to degree icon Diploma to Degree Opportunities
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