Critical Care Science

Last updated: 11th May 2021

A healthcare scientist in critical care will have an expert knowledge of physiology and technology and the role they play in critical care.

Healthcare science staff specialising in critical care are responsible for a range of life support monitoring and therapeutic systems.  They need an understanding of relevant and up-to-date clinical, scientific and technical principles and practice and their application to broad areas of patient care (including complex and often non-routine intervention).

They perform a number of key roles:

  • undertaking complex scientific and clinical roles, including those working directly with patients
  • providing advice to medical, nursing and other staff working in a critical care setting about the safe and effective use of critical care technologies,  from monitoring and supporting critically ill patients to diagnostic and therapeutic techniques
  • providing a maintenance and troubleshooting service supporting the critical care team at the bedside, with respect to all aspects of medical technology such as ventilators, renal replacement therapy equipment, physiological measurement monitors etc
  • establishing and managing satellite laboratories and point-of-care testing, covering areas such as blood gases, co-oximetry, electrolytes, metabolytes, and haematology including coagulation profiles
  • setting up and providing a renal replacement therapy service within the critical care areas including setting up equipment and contributing to patient care programs
  • providing software and hardware support for electronic patient databases in critical care areas
  • providing scientific support for the transfer and transport of critical ill and anaesthetised patients

They are also likely to be involved in:

  • quality assurance of diagnostic and therapeutic techniques and technologies including decontamination systems
  • providing on-call services as a lone worker requiring the autonomous working including emergency call-outs to any critical care area, supporting patients on life support systems, and troubleshooting equipment essential to the safe running of each area
  • training other staff working in a critical care environment and the wider health setting
  • analysing and reviewing scientific, technical and medical literature
  • clinically evaluating new critical care technologies and managing their introduction into clinical use