Online Courses in Critical Care: Course and Class Descriptions

Web-based critical care courses are available to nursing students, paramedic students, and other health professionals. These classes are commonly offered as part of nursing master's degree and paramedic certificate programs. View article »

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Online Critical Care Courses

Here are some of the more common online options for health professionals interested in critical care courses.

  • Critical Care for Adult Nurses course: This class covers the performance of physical assessments, pharmacological interventions, nutritional measurements, and diagnostic tests in critical care settings. Course topics are often taught in relationship to the body's systems. Examples include the respiratory, gastrointestinal, neurological, endocrine, and hematological components.
  • Critical Care for Paramedics course: This course discusses how to provide care to critically ill patients during inter-facility ambulance transports, often between hospitals and specialized care units. Examples of study topics include chest drainage maintenance and thoracostomy, working with central venous lines, surgical airways, advanced pharmacologic treatment, hemodynamic monitoring, and 12-lead ECG interpretation.
  • Patient Management in Critical Care Settings course: This class emphasizes the management of common problems that arise in critical care hospital settings. Areas of study include current technology related to disease management, current health treatment research, diagnostic assessment, and management skills for critically ill patients.
  • Pharmacology in Acute Care Settings course: The prescription and safe management of pharmaceutics in acute care settings is the focus of this course. Students study pharmacological effects on organ systems, various routes of administration, therapeutic uses, adverse reactions, contraindications, and drug interactions. They also follow a module on legal and professional responsibilities as related to pharmacology.
  • Seminars in Nursing: Introduction to Emergency Nursing: Students learn to provide trauma or emergency care for patients in an emergency situation, including how to make critical decisions instantly. Students also explore vital time management practices and the evaluation of urgent or non-urgent health conditions.
  • Pathophysiology course: In this course, aspiring acute care nurses learn how diseases interfere with normal physiology processes and manifest as diseases. By understanding the link between pathophysiology and patient symptoms, they are better prepared to help formulate diagnoses and develop treatment strategies in critical care settings.
  • Domestic Violence course: This course is intended for nurses and paramedics who could encounter victims of domestic violence. It prepares them to provide effective care of patients by helping them understand the physical, psychological, and emotional effects of abuse, as well as victim service options and reporting requirements.

Program Information

Online courses in critical care teach health care professionals necessary skills for work with critically ill patients. A mandatory on-site clinical practicum is a usual feature of such programs. For online enrollees, this may require campus visits or work at a health care facility local to the student. Most programs also feature open enrollment for professionals who only want to take individual online courses.

Degree- or certificate-seeking students must satisfy prerequisites to enroll in these programs. Those applying to an online master's degree in nursing program need to hold a current nursing license or undergraduate degree with appropriate nursing and science coursework. Paramedic participants must have a current paramedic's license and generally need one year of work experience.

For both paramedics and nurses who want to expand their knowledge in subjects related to the provision of critical care, there are online programs and standalone courses available that cover relevant topics within the medical field.

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