Are you a nurse currently working with critically sick children, in any level of health facility, in a paediatric or adult setting?

Would you like to increase your knowledge and confidence, and improve outcomes for critically sick children?

Then consider applying for the next Essentials of Nursing Critically Sick Children short course! 


Course dates
Courses run for 16 weeks twice every year. 

Next course 22nd July - 17th November 2024! Applications open now. To apply click here.


Admission requirements
All applicants need to:

  • Have completed basic nurse training and be registered with the South African Nursing Council (or equivalent) as a Professional or Enrolled Nurse.
  • Be working with critically sick children, either regularly or occasionally, irrespective of clinical setting. You do not need to work in a paediatric intensive care unit to register for this course. 
  • Have access to a computer (not just a smartphone), and be able to perform basic computer skills. Access to a printer may also be required on occasion. 
  • Have access to adequate WIFI / data to allow for connectivity (this will include a need to watch several videos).

Please note places are limited. Apply early as places are allocated on a first come first saved basis.

Learning outcome

Course Content

Learning outcome: To gain insights that will support confidence in the essential practice of nursing sick children, to include: 

  1. An understanding of anatomical, physiological and developmental differences across the age-span of a critically ill child, in contrast to an adult, and how this impacts their response to illness and the required nature of care.
  2. An ability to provide safe, quality, evidence-based nursing care to critically sick children, using the Regul8 Framework as a guide.
  3. A recognition of the important supportive role of the principal caregiver and the ability to provide care for the critically ill child, their family and themselves in acute and stressful situations.
  4. An understanding of their role and the complexity of the critical care environment and what is required to ensure safe and efficient care ensuring the best possible hospital outcomes.

Course weeks:

Block 1 (weeks 1- 9)

Lesson 1

Introduction and context of paediatric critical care

Lesson 2

The Regul8 Framework and mother child interaction

Lesson 3

How children are different

Lesson 4

Cultivating a therapeutic environment

Lesson 5

Autonomic regulation and dysregulation

Lesson 6

The deteriorating child

Lesson 7


Lesson 8

Non-invasive ventilation

Lesson 9  The ventilated child

Break week – no studies this week.

Block 2 (weeks 10 - 16)

Lesson 10

Pain and sedation

Lesson 11

Hydration and fluids

Lesson 12


Lesson 13

Infection control in critical care

Lesson 14

Neuroprotective care

Lesson 15

A system of action: Maintaining care

Lesson 16

Navigating the stressful environment


The courses are all offered fully online asynchronously using Vula (UCT’s electronic learning platform). This means that there is no need to be in class, or even online, at any set time in the week. The course can be completed at a time to suit the participant, scheduled around other family/work/life commitments.

Course offered in English.

A new lesson is released each week, on Monday at 08h00.
Each lesson consists of a set of learning activities and one assignment weekly  – a lesson should take approximately 3 – 4 hours to complete.


A UCT certificate of completion will be awarded to those that have completed all learning activities and completed and submitted the Submission Activity for feedback to a suitable standard.


R7,200 (Includes full online access to course material and support from Specialist Children’s Nurse Educators).

A limited number of African Paediatric Fellowship Programme bursaries are available for nurses from other African countries (not South Africa). 

To apply for a bursary, email the following TWO documents to

1.     A letter of motivation written by yourself explaining why this course will be beneficial to you and your clinical setting
2.    A letter of motivation from your manager explaining why the applicant's completion of the course will be beneficial to the clinical setting

These letters need to be received before the course application closing date. Failure to complete this process will make one ineligible for a bursary. Please note that there are only a limited number of bursaries available and an application for a bursary does not guarantee receipt of one.


To apply

Any queries contact Faiza Pearce or click here to navigate to the CEU website.

Disclaimer statement: This course serves to introduce nurses working with children to essential knowledge and skills. An assessment of clinical skills competence in the participant’s clinical setting is recommended.