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Nurs Crit Care. 2013 Mar-Apr;18(2):93-102. doi: 10.1111/j.1478-5153.2012.00543.x.

Health consumers' experiences in Australian critical care units: postgraduate nurse education implications.

Author information

  • 1Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Child & Adolescent Health Services, Perth, WA, Australia. f.gill@curtin.edu.au



To explore critical care patients and families experiences and seek their input into nurses' postgraduate educational preparation and practice.


There is an inconsistency in the expected standard of practice to 'qualify' Australian critical care nurses. There has also been a lack of health consumer input in the development of postgraduate course curriculum and content.


Following institutional ethics committee approval, purposive sampling was used to select participants for focus groups and individual interviews who had experienced intensive care or coronary care.


Seventeen participants provided data which created two main thematic categories; the role of the critical care nurse and; minimum practice standards for postgraduate critical care course graduates. Both physical patient care and socio-emotional support of patients and family were identified as important for the critical care nurse role. The level of socio-emotional support provided by nurses was reported to be inconsistent. Components of socio-emotional support included communication, people skills, facilitating family presence and advocacy. These components were reflected in participants' concepts of minimum practice standards for postgraduate critical care course graduates; talking and listening skills, relating to and dealing with stressed people, individualizing care and patient and family advocacy.


Health consumers' views emphasize that socio-emotional skills and behaviours need to be explicitly described in postgraduate critical care nursing course curricula and instruments developed to consistently assess these core competencies.

© 2013 The Authors. Nursing in Critical Care © 2013 British Association of Critical Care Nurses.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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