medical professional putting on gloves looking down

Introduction to Critical Care

The critical care units, which are also referred to as intensive care units, are high-stress, fast-paced environments capable of providing care to meet the needs of patients with various critical illnesses requiring advanced support and specialized services. Critical care nurses provide the specialized care for these patients and require advance theoretical knowledge, clinical judgement, problem-solving, and communication skills.

The Introduction to Critical Care program is an introductory course where nursing professionals will learn evidence informed nursing interventions, high-level clinical judgement and professional practice skills required to care for patients in the critical care area. The program provides an overview of cardiovascular, respiratory, neurology, endocrine, renal, gastrointestinal, hematology, immunology, and multi-system problems through independent self-study modules and interactive simulation activities. Through the program, the participants will increase their confidence to provide care to patients in the critical care areas while staying up to date on trends and technology in this practice area.

Program Objectives

At the completion of the program, the participant will be able to:

  • Assess, analyze and monitor data for patients with complex, multi-system problems in order to anticipate early deterioration in patient’s condition, establish priorities and to plan interventions.
  • Plan and implement specialized nursing interventions to achieve optimal patient outcomes in potential or actual critical illness and end-of-life situations.
  • Evaluate the nursing interventions and adapt plan of care based on the response of the critically ill patient.

There are two parts to this program: 

  1. 7 self-paced modules
  2. In-person Critical Care Simulation

Modules

This is the first module of the Introduction to Critical Care program, geared toward Nursing Professionals.  It includes 4 hours of self-directed course content including instructional videos, a quiz and the opportunity to attend office hours with an instructor from the Faculty of Nursing to discuss your questions related to cardiovascular critical care module.

The focus of this module includes the normal anatomy and physiology of the cardiovascular system so that abnormalities and treatments may be identified. 

  • Differentiate normal cardiac anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology to recognize signs and symptoms of atherosclerotic heart disease.
  • Analyze comprehensive health assessment data to inform clinical practice.
  • Interpret hemodynamic data obtained via hemodynamic monitoring to determine when pharmacological, surgical and/or mechanical therapy may be appropriate.
  • Use a systematic approach of ECG interpretation to identify specific arrhythmias and the significance and treatment of each arrhythmia.
  • Provide responsible, accountable, and ethical care in compliance with professional standards.
  • Respond to cardiovascular emergencies using basic and advanced cardiac life support.

Virtual office hours for Cardiovascular Critical Care:  October 21, 8:30am to 10:30am

This is the second module of the Introduction to Critical Care program, geared toward Nursing Professionals.  It includes 4 hours of self-directed course content including instructional videos, a quiz and the opportunity to attend office hours with an instructor from the Faculty of Nursing to discuss your questions related to the Respiratory Critical Care module.

The focus of the module includes the normal anatomy and physiology of the respiratory system to assess, plan, implement and evaluate nursing care in critical care setting for patients with respiratory difficulty, using enhanced knowledge of pathopsychological processes.

  • Analyze ABG’s and manage oxygen delivery including oxygenation and ventilation
  • Care for patients with acute respiratory failure ad acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
  • Administer care for patients requiring endotracheal intubation or invasive mechanical ventilation, and troubleshooting ventilators
  • Manage patients on mechanical ventilation, including spontaneous awakening trials, neuromuscular blockade, prevention of complications, weaning from ventilation and extubation.

 

Virtual Office Hours for Respiratory Critical Care:  October 21, 11:30am to 1:30pm

This is the third module of the Introduction to Critical Care program, geared toward Nursing Professionals.  It includes 4 hours of self-directed course content including instructional videos, a quiz and the opportunity to attend office hours with an instructor from the Faculty of Nursing to discuss your questions related to the Neurologic Critical Care module.

The focus of this module is to provide an overview of nervous system anatomy and physiology, neurological assessment and diagnostics, and the medical and nursing management of a variety of neurological disorders in critical care. The care of clients undergoing neurosurgery will be explored along with pharmacological interventions.

  • Develop a plan of care to perform an appropriately focused and reliable neurological examination in both the ambulatory and hospital settings including mental status, cranial nerves, motor function, sensation, reflexes, coordination, and gait.
  • Examine how to recognize and interpret abnormal findings on the neurological exam; be able to distinguish between upper and lower motor neuron findings, lesions of the hemispheres, posterior fossa, spinal cord, nerve root/plexus, peripheral nerve, neuromuscular junction, and muscle.
  • Identify how to approach and examine the patient with altered level of consciousness.
  • Identify what constitutes brain death and how the determination is made.

 

Virtual Office Hours for Neurologic Critical Care:  November 4, 8:30am to 10:30am

This is the fourth module of the Introduction to Critical Care program, geared toward Nursing Professionals.  It includes 4 hours of self-directed course content including instructional videos, a quiz and the opportunity to attend office hours with an instructor from the Faculty of Nursing to discuss your questions related to the Gastrointestinal Critical Care module.

This focus of this module includes an overview of GI diagnostic testing and nutritional therapies, including enteral and parenteral nutrition. The learner will explore the diagnosis, management and potential complications of GI bleeding, pancreatitis and liver failure.  Other pathologies include Bowel ischemia and infarction, obstructions, abdominal trauma, and nutritional support.

  • Review the anatomy of the gastrointestinal system.
  • Identify selected diseases and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Examine the pathophysiology of diseases and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Interpret signs and symptoms of gastrointestinal disease processes.
  • Develop appropriate nursing interventions and treatments for selected gastrointestinal diseases.

Virtual Office Hours for Gastrointestinal Critical Care:  November 4, 11:30am to 1:30pm

This is the fifth module of the Introduction to Critical Care program, geared toward Nursing Professionals.  It includes 4 hours of self-directed course content including instructional videos, a quiz and the opportunity to attend office hours with an instructor from the Faculty of Nursing to discuss your questions related to the Essentials of Caring for Renal Disorders module.

The focus of this module includes a deliver kidney care to affected patients across all stages of the kidney care journey, from early detection through dialysis, palliative care and transplant. The module provides nurses with the knowledge they require to promote and deliver competent, safe and ethical care to those at risk for developing or affected by real disease and/or insufficiency.

  • Differentiate between normal and abnormal anatomy and function of the kidney and renal system and related pathophysiology to determine physiological needs and care priorities.
  • Discuss the diagnosis, etiology, therapeutic management and care of individuals living with and families affected by kidney disease in relation to acute renal failure, peritoneal dialysis, hemodialysis, end-stage renal disease, transplantation and palliative/end-of-life care to prioritize patient-centred priorities across the trajectory of chronic kidney disease.
  • Discuss considerations and implications related to nursing care for specific populations at-risk for developing or affected by kidney disease (i.e. older adults, children, individuals living with diabetes and/or hypertension, etc.) to appropriately tailor an individualized plan of care.
  • Examine current and emerging trends in relation to the diagnosis and care of individuals at risk for or living with kidney disease, including movement towards person-centred care in community-based settings and the functional integration of services in order to best achieve desired outcomes at the patent and system levels.

Virtual office hours for the Essentials of Caring for Renal Disorders module:  November 18, 8:30am to 10:30am

This is the sixth module of the Introduction to Critical Care program, geared toward Nursing Professionals.  It includes 4 hours of self-directed course content including instructional videos, a quiz and the opportunity to attend office hours with an instructor from the Faculty of Nursing to discuss your questions related to the Endocrine and Hematological Critical Care Essentials module.

Part I: Endocrine Disorders

Part 1 of this module delivers a review of the endocrine system with an emphasis on the assessment, treatment, management, and care of the patient with Diabetes Mellitus and other endocrine disorders. 

  • Describe and differentiate nursing priorities for managing a patient with critical illness induced hyperglycemia, diabetes, and the diabetic emergencies of: diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), hyperglycemic, hyperosmolar syndrome (HHS), and hypoglycemia.
  • Compare and contrast the interpretation of diagnostic assessment data, management, and nursing priorities for patients with the pituitary disorders of diabetes insipidus and syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone, and the disorder cerebral salt wasting.
  • Compare and contrast the interpretation of diagnostic assessment data, management, and nursing priorities for patients with disorders of the thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal glands.

Part 2: Hematological Disorders

Part 2 of this module delivers a review of the structures and function of the hematologic system and the care and treatment of patients with diseases that arise from various blood disorders.

  • Discuss the management of hematological disorders including sickle cell crisis, transfusion reactions.
  • Foster the development of nursing of care patients with blood cancers, bleeding and cot formation.
  • Discuss nursing care implications in caring or a patient with various blood disorders.

Virtual office hours for the Endocrine and Hematological Critical Care module:  November 18, 11:30am to 1:30pm

This is the seventh module of the Introduction to Critical Care program, geared toward Nursing Professionals.  It includes 4 hours of self-directed course content including instructional videos, a quiz and the opportunity to attend office hours with an instructor from the Faculty of Nursing to discuss your questions related to the Multisystem Critical Care Essentials module.

This module delivers a review of an in-depth review of the different types of shock (hypovolemic, cardiogenic, neurogenic and anaphylactic), the SIRS, sepsis - multisystem organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) continuum, including sepsis screening, international sepsis and septic shock treatment bundles, rhabdomyolysis, necrotizing fasciitis and behavioral issues in critical care, including alcohol withdrawal and substance abuse. Within each topic, you will explore assessments, evidence-based interventions and strategies to prevent complications.

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the various stages and types of shock.
  • Describe the care of a patient progressing along the sepsis continuum.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how to screen and manage a patient at risk for alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how to screen and manage patients admitted for drug overdoses.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the signs and symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis and rhabdomyolysis.
  • Describe the care of a patient with necrotizing fasciitis and rhabdomyolysis.

Virtual office hours for the Multisystem Critical Care Essentials module:  November 25, 8:30am to 10:30am

This class is offered through Blackboard Collaborate. Learners will require access to a computer with high-speed internet access.

Blackboard Requirements

All course details can be accessed through Blackboard. A link will be provided through email and you will have access the first day of class.

Please activate your UWinID. Your UWinID and password are needed to access Blackboard. If you have any issues, please contact continue@uwindsor.ca.

Blackboard.uwindsor.ca works best with Google Chrome. You can also use Firefox or Safari. It is suggested that you avoid using Internet Explorer. There is a “Navigating Your Online Course” module and technical tutorials that you can review for a brief orientation to Blackboard once you log in. Feel free to review the full Blackboard preferred system requirements.

Schedule: Register by September 26, 2022. Modules must be completed by January 2, 2022

Format: online, self-paced

Fee: $57 + HST per module. UWindsor students, staff and alumni are eligible for discounts. Email continue@uwindsor.ca for the discount code.

Modules can be taken individually for personal knowledge, however, participants who complete all 7 modules will receive a Certificate of Participation, and will be eligible to complete the Critical Care Simulation. 


Critical Care Simulation

Once all modules are completed, learners will have the option to attend the in-person Critical Care Simulation. This is the final requirement of the Introduction to Critical Care program, geared toward Nursing Professionals.

The Critical Care Simulation will be completed in-person in the Faculty of Nursing, University of Windsor simulation lab with high fidelity manikins. In small groups, learners will be presented with case-based scenarios that will align with the theory in the 7 self-directed modules. Participants will develop skills in caring for the critically ill patient. Scenarios will focus on mechanical ventilation, cardiac rhythm interpretation and treatment, as well as hemodynamics. Team dynamics, pharmacology, and ethical issues will be threaded throughout each scenario.

Schedule:

Choose one set of simulation dates: 

Section 1:
Friday, Jan. 13 5:00pm-9:00pm
Saturday, Jan. 14 8:30am-4:30pm
Sunday Jan. 15 8:30am-4:30pm 

Section 2:
Friday, Jan. 20 5:00pm-9:00pm
Saturday Jan. 21 8:30am-4:30pm
Sunday Jan. 22 8:30am-4:30pm 

Format: In-person

Fee: $600 + HST

Save $100 by registering for all 7 modules and the Critical Care Simulation. Bundle price: $899 + HST.

Learners will receive a Certification of Participation in the Introduction to Critical Care Program by completing all 7 online, self-directed modules and one in-person simulation.


Prerequisites

The Critical Care Simulation is designed for nursing professionals or senior students (Nursing or Medical) who already have a basic understanding of critical care and wish to learn more about providing care to patients in the critical care areas.

For all modules and simulations, It is expected that learners will have:

  • Basic computer skills or course completion in fundamental computer applications such as Word

  • Experience working with word processing, email and web browsing

  • English language proficiency

Learners must complete all 7 Critical Care modules in the Introduction to Critical Careprogram before attending the Critical Care Simulation. Individuals who do not complete the 7 critical care modules will not be permitted to attend the Critical Care Simulation and will be automatically withdrawn from the Critical Care Simulation course.

Instructor:


 

Debbie Rickeard, DNP; CNE, CCRN, RN is an Experiential Learning Specialist and faculty member at the University of Windsor, Faculty of Nursing. She has a diverse clinical background in the areas of critical care, heart failure, cardiac transplant, and medical surgical nursing. Aside from 40 plus years of clinical practice, Debbie Rickeard has been a clinical educator and faculty at university, and college level as well as an education specialist with a focus on critical care at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Debbie began teaching at the University as a sessional instructor in the 1990's and became a full-time experiential learning specialist in 2010. Content areas taught include medical-surgical classes in the second and third year of the program, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, simulation, and a fourth-year transition into practice class.

Aside from teaching and practical experience, Debbie has been a Certified Critical Care Nurse through the AACN since 1996 and a Certified Nurse Educator through the National League for Nurses since 2012.

REGISTER NOW

 

Email us at continue@uwindsor.ca if you have questions - we are always happy to help. 

Sign up on our Interest List to be notified about enrolment and receive updates from Continuing Education.