Multiple student nurses treating a dummy patient in a hospital ward

Professional course

Care of the Acutely Ill Adult

20 credit, level 3 or Masters level module

About this course

Course code:
Professional/Short Course
Nursing and Midwifery
Distance learning
Course director:
Diane Standring

Page last updated 14 December 2018


The Acutely Ill Adult Level 3 (UZWR19-20-3) or Master's level (UZWR1A-20-M) module will allow you to critically identify and interpret the appropriate course of action for a client with deteriorating respiratory and/or cardiovascular status.

On completion of this course you should be able to:

  • critically analyse a client's condition using knowledge of altered respiratory and cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology.
  • critically evaluate communication and documentation issues relating to acute care in context of your own work environment.
  • selectively analyse issues relating to the assessment and management of cognitive/neurological deterioration relevant to your own client group.
  • analyse and discriminate between the clinical presentation in relation to the physiological response to infection and possible sepsis.

Entry requirements

Registered health care practitioner working in an environment where you encounter patients with acute physiological deterioration.

Careers / Further study

This module can contribute towards:

  • BSc(Hons) Professional Development
  • BSc (Hons) Specialist Practice
  • BSc (Hons) Professional Studies
  • MSc Advanced Practice
  • MSc Specialist Practice
  • MSc Professional Development



Respiratory deterioration; assessment and management

  • Applied physiology, pathophysiology,
  • Chest X-ray interpretation and  Arterial blood gas analysis
  • Oxygen therapy & Nebulizer therapy
  • Non-invasive respiratory support, Tracheostomy, tracheal suction and other airway maintenance strategies

Cardiovascular deterioration; assessment and management

  • Applied cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology
  • Monitoring cardiac and vascular pressures
  • Cardiovascular drugs & fluid therapy


  • Track and trigger systems and Communication tools
  • Breaking bad news

Host response to Infection

  • Host response
  • Inflammation
  • Sepsis

Detecting neurological deterioration

  • Neurological/ cognitive assessment
  • Acute confusional states & acute severe headache

Above content mapped against:   Department of Health (2009) Competencies for recognising and responding to acutely ill patients in hospital. (Recogniser and Primary responder)

Learning and Teaching

The entire module is delivered online. You will undertake a variety of non-synchronous learning tasks including discussion boards, wikis and guided online reading. Audio visual and Interactive media will be employed where appropriate such as quizzes, exercises, and video tutorials.

Core information will be provided on blackboard and will draw upon and direct you to the wealth of material available via the internet including, videos, webinars, tutorials and simulations. There will recommended but not essential practical learning experiences (for example a visit to the operating theatre).

The module is structured into two large and two smaller themes

a)   Respiratory

b)   Cardiovascular

c)   Communication

d)   Host response to infection

Core material in relation to these topics is provided online and organised according to the theme. There is an inherent progression within respiratory and cardiovascular themes which starts at physiology and ends at management.

You are free to study at your own pace and "surfing" beyond core topics (but with relevance to your own practice) is encouraged. PDF files, links or digitised copies of any essential reading will be provided.

The remaining 18 contact hours will be non-synchronous learning through discussion, collaboration (wiki) and individual communication with allocated team member.

Study time

A total of 48 hours in the form of; online seminars, lectures and activities online contact time with a module team member this maybe synchronous in the form of a Collaborate webinar within blackboard, or text based synchronous discussion board or similar online media.


Formative Assessment

You will be given opportunities to test your understanding and learning in several interactive quizzes and activities with feedback throughout the module. These activities will also prepare you for engagement with the summative elements described below.

Summative Assessment

You will be expected to undertake a series of 5 x 10 minute online activities throughout the module, timed at specific module weeks and embedded in the learning process. These activities will require UWE login to access and will be designed to be marked automatically. The module leader will have full access to up-to-date data to monitor progress and marks. You will be able to see their results immediately after completing each task.

The design of the activity will be such as to allow you only one attempt for each activity, however practice activities (as stated above) will be provided without constraint on the number of attempts.

The design of the activities will be varied, for example:

  • MCQ
  • Drag and drop
  • True/false
  • Label the structure
  • Prioritisation structure
  • Scenario based questions

The 1500 word assignment will allow for application of the knowledge gained in the online activities to the management of the deteriorating patient. The assignment will critically explore the course of action taken to effectively manage the patient in the context of one of the major core themes and must consider communication issues

Core themes

a)   Respiratory

b)   Cardiovascular

Prices and dates

Supplementary fee information

Please visit full fee information to see the price brackets for our modules.

Please note: Priority will be given to applications received through our funded educational contracts.  Places on this module will be limited for applications received outside of this funding.  Please check with your employer as a funded contract place may still be available to support your learning.


Please click on the Apply Now button to view dates.

How to apply

How to apply

You are required to apply online for your CPD modules, which you can take as stand-alone courses or as part of an undergraduate or postgraduate (Masters level) programme.

Please note: Priority will be given to applications received through our funded educational contracts.  Places on this module will be limited for applications received outside of this funding.  Please check with your employer as a funded contract place may still be available to support your learning.

For further information

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