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Acute Care: Seriously Ill Patients

  • : Glenelg SA 5045


Includes: Physical Assessment; Delirium; Sepsis; Acute Respiratory Failure, Oxygen Therapy, Arrhythmias; Chest Pain; Acute Kidney Injury; Arterial Blood Gas Interpretation; and much, much more...


The growing prevalence of high acuity patients across a range of clinical settings demands that all nurses have up-to-date knowledge of the evidence-based assessment and care of acutely ill patients. Attend this two-day seminar and discover:

  • Why is assessment so important in an acutely ill patient?
  • What is delirium and how is it best managed?
  • The importance of early recognition in sepsis
  • Signs of acute kidney injury and its management
  • Basic interpretation of arterial blood gases
  • Recognising common arrhythmias and electrolyte disturbances
  • What is the difference between ventilation and oxygenation and why does this matter?

Gain knowledge and apply it to your practice immediately. Book now!


Need for Program

Growing numbers of high acuity patients are increasingly being cared for across a wide range of clinical settings, not just in acute care units. The more acutely unwell a person is, the greater the risk of poor patient outcomes including increased morbidity and mortality.
Nurses are essential to the prevention, early detection and management of developing problems that can increase such morbidity and mortality. The ability to interpret clinical cues and the implement appropriate, evidence-based interventions in a timely manner has a significant positive impact on patient outcomes. Therefore, the level of knowledge of nurses must continually be upgraded to match the acuity of the patient.

Purpose of Program

The purpose of this seminar is to provide all nurses with the opportunity to update their knowledge and gain new skills in the care of high acuity patients wherever they are located within the healthcare service.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this program it is expected that the participants will be able to:

  • Relate principles of the stress response that occurs in acutely ill patients to prioritise assessment in a patient who is deteriorating
  • Correlate clinical assessment findings with pathophysiological processes occurring across a range of body systems
  • Apply a range of appropriate and timely evidence-based nursing interventions for a person who is acutely ill and whose condition is deteriorating
  • Recognise and respond to early signs of sepsis by implementing evidence-based interventions, improving patient outcomes
  • Schedule Day One

    8:30am - Registration and Refreshments


    Coping with the Stress of Acute Illness - A Nursing Perspective

    Acute illness can trigger an array of psychological and physiological responses that have the potential to be either beneficial or harmful. This introductory session considers what happens to the body during illness and the nursing implications. Includes:

    • How does the body respond to illness?
    • How can these responses be mitigated?
    • How can nurses use this knowledge to provide holistic care?


    Essential Physical Assessment Skills and the Acutely Ill Patient

    Nurses are essential to the early detection of clinical triggers that may suggest a patient is deteriorating or has already become acutely unwell. Appropriate and timely assessment is known to reduce morbidity and mortality, thus improving patient outcomes.This session reviews important assessment considerations.

    • Why do we assess our patients?
    • Vitally important ‘vital signs’ - are some clinical cues neglected?
    • Overview of Australian Commission on Safety and Quality Health Care Standard 9
    • Top tips for quick recognition of acute deterioration
      • Assessing consciousness
      • Assessing perfusion

    10:30am - Morning Tea and Coffee


    Delirium – A Death Threat?

    Delirium commonly occurs in acutely ill patients and increases morbidity and mortality. Yet this condition is often poorly understood, resulting in inadequate assessment and management. This session provides an evidenced-based guide to the assessment and management of delirium. Includes:

    • What is delirium?
    • Pathophysiology of delirium
    • Which is the most common type of delirium and what are the most common causes?
    • How is this differentiated from other conditions?
    • What nursing actions will create best patient outcomes?


    Sepsis and the Significance of Early Recognition

    Did you know that sepsis is one of the leading causes of death around the world? However, evidence-based care of sepsis, beginning with early detection, significantly improves patient outcomes, reducing morbidity and mortality. This session uses a case scenario to explain the pathophysiological mechanisms by which sepsis develops, assisting you to understand the evidence-based management of this potentially fatal condition. Includes:

    • What is the relationship between infection and sepsis?
    • Early recognition - what are the clinical signs?
    • Pathophysiology of sepsis - how does this lead to multi-organ dysfunction?
    • Surviving sepsis - evidence-based principles of management

    12:45pm - Lunch Break and Networking


    The Respiratory System - Back to Basics

    The respiratory system is often thought of as a difficult system to assess, especially when a patient is acutely unwell. However, the importance of this assessment cannot be underestimated. This session will provide a comprehensive overview of the anatomy and physiology of the respiratory system and explain what respiratory failure means. Includes:

    • Respiratory anatomy - what lies where?
    • Respiratory physiology - what is the difference between ventilation and oxygenation, why does this matter?
    • Respiratory pathophysiology - Type II respiratory failure versus Type II respiratory failure


    The Respiratory System - When Things Go Wrong

    Problems associated with the respiratory system often result in acute deterioration and may be the cause of a patient becoming acutely unwell. Building on your knowledge from the previous session, this interactive session uses case studies to highlight how to recognise (including CXR interpretation) and manage the following conditions:

    • Atelectasis
    • Pneumonia
    • Acute pulmonary oedema
    • Pneumothorax
    • Tension pneumothorax

    3:15pm - Afternoon Tea and Coffee


    Non-Invasive Ventilation (NIV) - Making it Work

    Non-Invasive Ventilation (NIV) is an important strategy for the management of acute respiratory conditions. NIV isn’t just confined to acute care settings. A wider scope of practice and a desire to manage more acutely ill patients away from acute care settings demands that a basic understanding of NIV is part of every nurse’s tool kit. This session will provide a comprehensive review of NIV. Includes:

    • Types of NIV e.g. continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and biphasic positive airway pressure (BiPAP)
    • Indications for use
    • Practical strategies to assist with the introduction and management of NIV in clinical practice

    4:15pm - Close of Day One of Program

    Day Two

    9:00am - Commencement of Day Two


    Cardiac Dysfunction as a Cause of Acute Illness

    Acute illness originates from or eventually compromises cardiovascular function. Are you confident in your ability to accurately interpret cardiovascular assessment findings? This session will add clarity to your knowledge and give you an opportunity to discuss problem areas. Includes:

    • Identifying problems of the cardiovascular system - e.g hypovolemic and cardiogenic shock
    • What is MAP and what is its significance?
    • When more information is needed - indication and interpretation of ECHO (echocardiogram)


    Arrhythmias and Acute Illness

    Non-Invasive Ventilation (NIV) is an important strategy for the management of acute respiratory conditions. NIV isn’t just confined to acute care settings. A wider scope of practice and a desire to manage more acutely ill patients away from acute care settings demands that a basic understanding of NIV is part of every nurse’s tool kit. This session will provide a comprehensive review of NIV. Includes:

    • Risk factors and causes of common arrhythmias in the acutely ill patient
    • Anatomy and electrophysiology explained
    • Identification, interpretation, clinical significance and goals of treatment for:
      • sinus bradycardia and sinus tachycardia
      • atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter
      • junctional (AV) blocks
      • ventricular arrhythmias

    10:45am - Morning Tea and Coffee


    Chest Pain and Acute Illness

    Recognition and interpretation of ECG changes add a huge amount of value to cardiac assessment, particularly when the cardiovascular system is a cause or contributor to acute illness. Knowledge of the clinical significance of certain ECG changes reinforces evidence-based management, enabling appropriate and timely patient interventions. In this session you will review:

    • ST segment changes including ST elevation, depression, T-wave inversion, Q-waves and reciprocal changes
    • Chest pain - differential diagnoses and guidelines for nursing management
    • Is oxygen therapy still indicated in the management of chest pain?
    • Patient assessment and goals of treatment

    12:15pm - Lunch Break and Networking


    Acute Kidney Injury - More Than Just Low Urine Output

    Acute onset of kidney injury ranges from mild impairment of function through to acute kidney failure. The incidence increases significantly with progressive severity of the underlying cause. Topics include:

    • In sickness and in health - what is happening in the kidneys?
    • Potential causes of acute kidney injury and their classification
    • Assessment and treatment
    • When things get worse - an introduction to haemofiltration


    Fluid and Electrolyte Balance

    Failure to recognise and appropriately treat fluid and electrolyte imbalances can have fatal consequences. Knowledge and understanding of normal physiological processes is essential for accurate patient assessment and safe care delivery. This session will check your knowledge and assist you to get up to speed. Topics include:

    • What are the normal physiological processes of fluid balance?
    • What intravenous fluids should be used and when?
    • How do disorders in Na+, K+, Mg and Cl- electrolytes affect the patient’s physiological status?

    2:30pm - Afternoon Tea and Coffee


    Shifting the pH - Acid Base Balance

    A deviation from acid base balance homeostasis can severely affect any organ in the human body. In this interactive and practical session you will develop a better understanding of this complex topic. Includes:

    • Importance and physiology of acid base balance
    • Arterial blood gas analysis
    • Case studies for practice interpretation and management options


    Advanced Life Support - Taking it One Step Further

    While the purpose of clinical assessment is to prevent deterioration and recognise acute illness early, it is inevitable that some patients will become significantly unwell and may arrest. This final session of the seminar will provide an overview of the Australian Resuscitation Guidelines for Advanced Life Support. Using case studies, test your knowledge and validate your skills in a life-threatening situation.

    4:15pm - Close of Seminar and Evaluations


    Renee Di Giuseppe

    Renee Di Giuseppe

    Renee Di Giuseppe is a Critical Care Registered Nurse. She currently works in the Intensive Care Unit at a large private hospital in Melbourne and holds a Master’s degree in Health Science (Critical Care). Renee has a great passion for nursing, with experience as a clinical teacher for undergraduate nursing students, and is heavily involved in clinical teaching in the Intensive Care Unit.

Acute Care: Seriously Ill Patients
Speciality Classification
Provider Type
11 hours 30 mins
Start Date
End Date
11 hours 30 mins
Price Details
Glenelg SA 5045
Comfort Inn Haven Marina, 6-10 Adelphi Terrace
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