A Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing is a postgraduate course for registered nurses. You might consider the program to gain specialist knowledge in the area in which you’re working. Another reason to do the course is to boost your general skills and confidence in nursing practice.
Become a More Confident and Skilled Nurse
For young nurses especially, you may feel the need to return to university study to give you a professional edge in your daily nursing work. A Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing can be the ideal course in this situation. Note that the course is similar to other postgraduate nursing courses, such as a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Nursing Practice.
While a Bachelor of Nursing prepares you for general nursing practice, you may still feel quite untrained when you start working in a new role. Whether you’re in a hospital, clinic or private practice, the actual demands of the job may require skills and knowledge beyond where you’re currently at.
A clinical nursing course skills you up either broadly or in a particular area of specialisation. With the emphasis on clinical nursing, the aim will be to improve your capabilities in practical, hands-on nursing.
About the Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing
A Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing is almost always a 4-subject course, with the subjects coming from a Master of Clinical Nursing program. You should have the option to continue your studies after finishing the grad cert and earn a grad dip in nursing (8 subjects) or a masters (usually 12 subjects).
For more information about masters programs, especially online courses, see this article: Online Masters in Nursing.
You can do the grad cert while working. In fact, that is often preferred or even required so that you can relate what you’re learning to your clinical practice.
Online courses are designed for working nurses. You typically do one subject at a time, with each subject completed part-time over a 6-7 week teaching block. By studying this way, you can complete a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing in 8 months of part-time, online study.
Example Clinical Nursing Subjects
Here are some examples of clinical nursing subjects from various Australian university sources. They may come from general clinical nursing courses or relate to clinical nursing specialisations.
For healthcare consumers with complex clinical issues, team members need to work together collaboratively and professionally. The person-centred care model also prioritises inclusion of the individual and immediate family. This subject focuses on the specialist nursing role and the importance of professional communication, teamwork and shared clinical decision-making. The aim is to prepare students to analyse and evaluate cases, and demonstrate knowledge and clinical competence – for safe personal and family-centred care. Source: Australian Catholic University.
Patient Deterioration in the Clinical Setting
In this subject, you explore clinical assessment and diagnostic reasoning. Appropriate and timely actions are needed to respond to a patient’s deteriorating condition. The subject will expand your knowledge of serious adverse medical events that often follow observable deterioration in the patient’s condition. You’ll build knowledge and skills for early identification of deterioration, followed by prompt and effective responses to minimise consequences, improve outcomes and reduce the level of intervention to stabilise the patient. The subject focuses on the underlying pathology of a patient’s deteriorating condition and how to interpret clinical manifestations in order to apply safe, effective nursing care. Source: CQUniversity.
The 3 Ds Dementia, Delirium and Depression
The subject is for nurses post-registration with experience in aged care nursing. Students learn to compare and contrast characteristics associated with the three diagnoses that commonly affect ageing people. Students examine the anatomy, diagnosis and management of depression, delirium and depression. Contexts include acute health, residential aged care and community. Students consider strategies to help make diagnostic distinctions, and how to approach and manage a person suffering with dementia. Source: Flinders University.
Informing Practice with Evidence
Nursing professionals work in environments where practice must be grounded in high-quality evidence. The subject develops your skills and knowledge to critically evaluate and apply evidence in practice. Students explore different evidence types, evaluate standards and apply evidence to inform interventions, treatments and decision-making. You also review research literature and professional standards and guidelines, critiquing how information could apply to your own nursing practice. Source: Charles Darwin University.
Is a Clinical Nurse the Same as an RN?
No, a Clinical Nurse is not the same as a Registered Nurse (RN) in Australia, although they are both RNs. Clinical Nurses have additional specialised training and experience in specific healthcare fields.
In addition to their advanced education, Clinical Nurses often undertake leadership roles, portfolio work, and quality activities. They serve as resource persons for other RNs, offering guidance and expertise within their specialised areas.
Clinical Nurses not only use advanced knowledge in planning patient care but also perform advanced clinical skills. They act as role models and take an active role in educating less experienced staff in their workplace.
Job titles for clinical nurses: clinical nurse specialist, wound care nurse, diabetes educator, oncology nurse, neonatal intensive care nurse, cardiac care nurse, mental health nurse, palliative care nurse, infection control nurse, perioperative nurse.