Graduate Certificate in Acute Care Nursing

Speciality Classification
Nurses and Midwives
1 Year Part-time
Australian College of Nursing

The 21st Century has seen shifts in the nation’s health care needs. This has been influenced by an increase in chronic disease, the ageing population, global health care trends and the impact of technology on surgical and diagnostic procedures (ACN White Paper, 2016). Statistics show that 1.4 out of a total 10.2 million Australian public hospitalisations in 2014-15 were for renal dialysis, and 1 in 4 hospitalisations involved surgical intervention the majority of which were day procedures (AIHW, 2016). As health care needs become more complex the role of the acute care nurse has become more diverse as has the need for more specialised post graduate education.

Course overview

Studying the Graduate Certificate in Acute Care Nursing with ACN will provide you with the principles required to meet the diverse needs of patients in the acute care setting, in order to improve your knowledge and skills for the provision and coordination of evidenced based patient centred care. The aim is to encourage professional and ethical understanding of clinical practice development for the improvement of patient outcomes.

The subjects in this course were written by specialist acute care nurses and a team of clinical experts, working within the specialty, provide student support. Our unique range of elective units of study allow students to further explore their area of interest related to medical and surgical nursing.

Understanding the nursing management of adults admitted to acute care settings with acute medical or surgical conditions is the focus of this course. Students analyse and apply their knowledge and problem-solving skills to clinical case scenarios based on commonly encountered acute care presentations. The units of study provide students with an opportunity to extend their ability to undertake increasingly complex nursing activities in a range of acute medical and surgical care settings.

Career outcomes

A Graduate Certificate in Acute Care Nursing is an investment in your future and will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to ensure better outcomes for your patients and progress your career, leading to opportunities in clinical education, management and specialist nursing roles.

Learning outcomes

At successful completion of the course students should be able to:

  • demonstrate provision of competent interpersonal and clinical care to patients through the acquisition, application and communication of specialist knowledge and skills which reflect professional and ethico-legal integrity
  • identify, appraise and apply research evidence to inform nursing practice and develop professional responsibility and accountability commensurate with the specialist role
  • critically evaluate available knowledge in relation to complex situations to guide the assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of evidence based nursing care
  • collaborate with the multidisciplinary team in provision of effective therapeutic relationships and continuity of care within the context of acute care nursing practice
  • consider strategies when caring for a culturally and linguistically diverse population and reflect on the health care team’s ability to meet the nursing and communication needs of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • create an effective clinical learning environment through demonstrating mentorship and the propagation of specialised knowledge and technical skill
  • demonstrate leadership through participation in policy development, service provision and quality improvement within the specialist context.


Tiers 2021

Member price (10% discount) / 2021 Non-member price

  • Tier 1      $2,070.00      /      $2,300.00
  • Tier 2      $2,362.50      /      $2,625.00
  • Tier 3      $2,776.50      /      $3,085.00
  • Tier 4      $3,321.00      /      $3,690.00

Fees are subject to change without notice.

ACN offers a flexible payment option allowing students to pay their fees on a term-by-term basis. Each term’s fees are due upfront, prior to term commencement.

FEE-HELP is also available for eligible students.

Entry requirements

Admission to GC courses is based on academic merit and selection. In addition, applicants must satisfy any prerequisites or additional requirements specified for particular courses, including ACN’s general eligibility criteria.

All applicants seeking admission are required to:

  • hold a Bachelor of Nursing or registered nurse* equivalent qualification
  • be currently registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) or the equivalent registering authority in your country of origin
  • have a minimum of one year postgraduate experience
  • be currently employed in an appropriate clinical setting.

*For some GC units of study, consideration may be given for applicants who are not registered nurses on an individual basis.

Meet your nurse educator

Sinu Thomas, Nurse Educator – Higher Education

RN, BN, Grad Dip (critical care), Cert IV TA, Grad cert (emergency nursing)

Sinu Thomas is the course coordinator for Acute Care Nursing and also Principles of Emergency Care for Registered Nurses (PEC RN) and Principles of Emergency Care for Enrolled/Division 2 Nursing (PEC EN).

Sinu’s 17 years of nursing experience includes age care, medical (cardiac), surgical and emergency nursing (14 years). Sinu has worked in both leadership and educator roles. Sinu is passionate about education as a key component to ensuring quality nursing care, improved patient outcomes and nurse satisfaction.

Graduate Certificate in Acute Care Nursing
Speciality Classification
Nurses and Midwives
Provider Type
1 Year Part-time
Price Details
2021 Non-member price (Tier 1) - $2,300.00 ; 2021 Member price (10% discount)