• University of Edinburgh
  • Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh logo

COVID-19 Critical Care: Understanding and Application

Learn the principles and practice of critical care to treat and care for critically ill patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

53,252 enrolled on this course

  • Duration

    6 weeks
  • Weekly study

    1 hour
  • Digital upgrade


Learn to manage critical care patients whilst protecting yourself and your peers

“One of the essential qualities of the clinician is interest in humanity: the secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient”
Francis W. Peabody, Harvard Medical School 1925

This education resource will teach you how to effectively care for critically ill patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You’ll learn the daily practice for frontline clinical staff supporting critical care patients with and without COVID-19, and how to apply ventilation and organ support principles to the care of a critically ill coronavirus patient.

Staff and patient safety are paramount. This resource will help you to facilitate your own emotional and physical self-care and wellbeing in this high-stress, high-risk environment.

You’ll learn about the required PPE and reflect on the practices necessary to emotionally support yourself and your colleagues.

Please note that this resource has been created in response to the COVID-19 emergency and does not correspond to the classic structure of a FutureLearn course.

You will not receive a certificate upon completion, and you do not have to follow the week by week approach. You will be able to select the materials that are most relevant to your work.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds Hello. My name is Graham Nimmo, and I’m joint Programme Director for the University of Edinburgh and Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh online MSc in Critical Care Programme. I’d like to tell you about a project which our Edinburgh Critical Care online team are working on right now. We’re developing a COVID-19 critical care education resource. This online learning resource is aimed at frontline clinical staff, a wide range of healthcare professionals who are caring for critically ill patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes those refreshing knowledge and skills, newly qualified doctors, those who are upskilling, and those who are returning to acute clinical services.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds There are a number of themes– COVID-19 Specific Care, the Deteriorating Patient, Ventilation and Organ Support, Daily Practice of Critical Care, and Self-Care and Staff Well-Being. At this unprecedented time, it is our hope that this resource helps us all to effectively manage critically ill patients. Our own well-being is also essential, and this emphasises the need for us to care for ourselves and our colleagues through this difficult time.

What topics will you cover?

• COVID-19 specific critical care

• Ventilation and organ support

• Daily practice of critical care

• Self-care and staff wellbeing

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Apply the current and evolving principles of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the care of COVID-19 patients.
  • Apply evidence-based principles of advanced organ support and monitoring to the COVID-19 critically ill patient.
  • Apply evidence-based daily practices to care of the critically ill patient.
  • Develop a range of specialised self-caring practices
  • Reflect critically on the complex elements required to achieve both self-awareness and self-compassion in a high-tension environment.

Who is the course for?

This learning resource has been designed for frontline clinical staff who are caring for critically ill patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This includes a wide range of healthcare professionals in acute care, from many different clinical speciality backgrounds.

You may have some previous critical care experience or none.

The information in this resource will support those refreshing critical care knowledge and skills, newly qualified doctors, those who are upskilling, and those returning to acute clinical services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who will you learn with?

MSc in Critical Care Programme Lead for Professional Development, Physician, Intensivist, Past President Scottish Intensive Care Society and a Founding Fellow of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine

Olga is the Programme Administrator for the MSc in Critical Care, Linguist, Specialist in Translation/Interpreting (Russian, French and English languages)

Lindsay is the MSc Critical Care programme academic co-ordinator and an Anaesthesia Associate within NHS Lothian. She is Senior Tutor for Postgraduate Taught for the Deanery of Clinical Sciences.

Dorothy is Honorary Nurse Consultant, Honorary Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, Lead Adviser to Scotland's Ombudsman and Director DA Professional.

MSc in Critical Care Programme Director, Reader and Honorary Consultant in Critical Care and Anaesthesia. University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian.

Who developed the course?

The University of Edinburgh

Founded in 1583, the University of Edinburgh is one of the world’s top universities and is globally recognised for research, innovation and high-quality teaching.

Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh has been enabling doctors to pursue their careers in specialist internal medicine through medical examinations, education and training, since 1681.

What's included?

The University of Edinburgh are offering everyone who joins this course a free digital upgrade, so that you can experience the full benefits of studying online for free. This means that you get:

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • A PDF Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you’re eligible
  • Learning on FutureLearn

    Your learning, your rules

    • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
    • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
    • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

    Join a global classroom

    • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
    • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
    • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

    Map your progress

    • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
    • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control

    Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

    Learner reviews

    Learner reviews cannot be loaded due to your cookie settings. Please and refresh the page to view this content.

    Get a taste of this course

    Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

    Do you know someone who'd love this course? Tell them about it...