Frequently Asked Questions - SURGE Critical Care

What is the aim of the education?

The aim of the education was to quickly and efficiently upskill nurses, to ensure they have the necessary minimum knowledge, and skills, in HDU and ICU nursing.  It is the expectation that nurses transitioning into these settings will be supported by more senior practitioners.

When must the courses be completed by?

The SURGE funded courses must be completed by 10 July 2020.  This is a date that was set by the Department of Health and no further extensions will be granted.  There is no set completion date for the paid Critical Care Courses.

Who is it suitable for?

The education is suitable for RNs that are currently working in the acute care setting and that need to increase their knowledge and skills in High Dependency and Critical Care Nursing, so that they may be deployed to work in:

  • High Dependency Units
  • Critical Care settings including:
    • Intensive Care Units
    • Emergency
    • Coronary Care/Cardiology

Who is allowed to do this course?

The inclusion criteria for participants to complete the Courses are as follows:

  • Registered Nurse (must provide a valid AHPRA number at sign up)
    • requires additional skills and knowledge to assist in delivering care in a HDU; or
    • requires additional skills and knowledge to assist in delivering care in an ICU or other Critical Care areas such as Emergency or Coronary Care/Cardiology.
  • Is employed by an Australian Public Hospital or an Australian Private Hospital that has been contracted by a state or territory, or the Australian Government to provide COVID-19 related healthcare services;
  • have sort support from their manager to undertake the Courses (managers details to be collected at sign up and manager will be emailed to confirm enrolment); and
  • who can commence and complete the Courses within 28 days of enrolment.

What if I don’t meet the criteria?

If you don’t meet the criteria for government funding on these rapid upskilling courses, but you’re still an RN who wants to expand and improve their Critical Care knowledge, we have a number of paid courses, you’re welcome to register for our:

We also have some free nursing education, which can be viewed here.

What is required for manager approval?

Provided you have spoken with your manager, and sought their approval to be enrolled in the SURGE-Critical Care program, there’s nothing more you have to do apart from enrol. We will send your manager an email upon your enrolment, to let them know you’ve enrolled, and will send them progress reports as you complete the course.  However, if your manager replies saying they do not approve of your enrolment, you will be removed from the program and will not receive a certificate for CPD purposes.

How can I access the Clinical Refresher Course? 

The Refresher Program for Registered Nurses is being delivered by the Australian College of Nurses. Please visit the Australian College of Nurses website for more information about the refresher course.

Can I complete this training and the Refresher Course?

Yes you may enrol in this training after you have completed the Refresher Course, have secured employment that meets the eligibility criteria described above.

What about ENs, grad RNs and student nurses?

This program focuses solely on the rapid upskilling of experienced RNs already working in Acute Care areas. The Department of Health has been very targeted in their deployment of this program and as such it is unsuitable for ENs, grad RNs and student nurses.

How is this different from your paid Critical Care course?

The SURGE-Critical Care program is designed as a way to rapidly upskill a targeted group of the nursing workforce via a series of fast self-directed units. This is being released to support our health workforce amidst the increased demand caused by COVID-19.

Our existing 4 day Critical Care and 10 Week virtual classroom courses are more in depth and more interactive with face-to-face or live virtual learning.

The face-to-face programs are perfect if you prefer fully catered courses with a chance for socialising and networking and these will be conducted as soon as possible.

The virtual classroom option is a great way to combine a combination of self-paced and instructor-led learning and enables you to cover more topics in greater detail.

What if I have paid to do a Critical Care Nursing course?

If you have already paid to attend either the 10 week or 4 day Critical Care Nursing Course and are subsequently nominated as someone who should do the Critical Care Course under the SURGE-Critical Care package, we are confident you will still get more out of completing the 10 week or 4 day course. However, if you would like to discuss a refund please contact us.

How is the course content delivered?

The course content will include:

  • Recorded presentations incorporating interactive case based learning activities, and short videos.
  • Quiz to apply the knowledge both during the topic, and at the end of each topic.
  • Resources - comprising handouts, readings and references.
  • Each course will have a discussion forum monitored on an ongoing basis, by a senior critical care educator.
  • A certificate of completion will be issued that states the number of CPD hours claimable for completion of the activity.

How do I get technical support?

There is a discussion forum on the course pages that you can add any content related queries to.  This forum is moderated by educators that can answer these questions.

Standard Service desk operates 5 days per week (Monday to Friday) 9.00 to 5:00 PM AEST excluding public holidays and weekends. You can contact the customer service team on 

What are the courses, how long are they and what do they cover?

The education will be delivered as 2 key courses, across over 50 topics, comprising 32.5 hours of education:

  • Critical Care Nursing (20 hours): This course is designed to provide nurses with current knowledge and skills to be applied to any Critical Care setting. Please see this page to see the topics.
  • High Dependency Nursing (12.5 hours): This course is designed to increase the knowledge and skills of RNs to work in a high dependency unit. Please see this page to see the topics.

The courses include a series of units, divided into short topics between 10 and 60 minutes in length, have been developed that can be flexibly accessed depending on the needs of the individual clinician, the hospital, or health service. The education builds on previous knowledge, skills and experience to prepare nurses to move into higher acuity settings.

How will these courses equip nurses to work in HDU and Critical Care settings?

These courses have been designed to rapidly provide nurses with the minimum knowledge and skills required to work in High Dependency or Critical Care settings, such as Intensive Care Units (ICU).

The education includes theoretical knowledge that is applied in a practical, case based way. This is not designed to replace practical training delivered in the clinical setting nor it is designed to replace formal postgraduate critical care qualifications.

It is the expectation that the nurses who complete this course will go on to be supervised by more experienced HDU and Critical Care nurses and work as part of a team providing patient care.

It is suggested that Hospital educators supplement this training with hands on skills training in the workplace.

Am I eligible for CPD and will I get a certificate?

A certificate of completion will be issued upon completion of the courses.  This states the number of CPD points claimable for completion of the activity.  You will not be issued with a certificate if you don't complete the course.

Is this equivalent to a postgraduate qualification?

No. This program aims to rapidly up-skill RNs to cover the additional demands on the workforce as a result of COVID-19. This is considered ongoing education and does not count as, or towards, an official qualification at this time.

What if I am a retired RN that wants to return to the workforce?

As health services prepare for the expected surge in demand resulting from COVID-19, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and National Boards have announced a new pandemic sub-register to fast track the return to the workforce of experienced and qualified health practitioners. Please visit the AHPRA website for more information about this initiative.

I am an RN working in Aged Care, am I eligible?

This course is for nurses working in acute hospitals who may be required to work in HDU or Critical Care wards. RNs working in Aged Care Facilities are not eligible to enrol in the courses. 

I am an Agency nurse, am I eligible?

Agency nurses are not able to eligible to enrol in these courses, please see the information about our paid courses above.

I am an RN however I am currently unemployed, am I eligible?

You must be employed, and have manager approval, to do this course. If you are interested in working within your local State or Territory health system as part of the response to COVID-19, there is information on Health Department websites. These websites are listed on the AHPRA COVID-19 health workforce page.

I work in Mental Health, am I eligible?

To enrol in this course you must be working in an Australian Public Hospital or an Australian Private Hospital that has been contracted by a state or territory, or the Australian Government to provide COVID-19 related healthcare services. Unless your Mental Health facility fits this criteria, you are unable to enrol in this course.

I provided incorrect Manager details - how can I update this information?

You can update your manager's details via your dashboard. Please go here, scroll to the bottom of your profile, add/ edit the details and click 'update profile'.

I need to update my AHPRA number

You can update your AHPRA number via your dashboard. Please go here, scroll to the additional details section, add/ edit you AHPRA number and click 'update profile'

Please ensure your AHPRA number comprises a prefix of 3 letters and 3 zeros (000).

e.g. Medical Practitioners - MED0001164876 or Nurse - NMW0001528299

If you are unsure of your AHPRA number you can look it up here