Critical Care Science

Critical Care Science is about caring for patients who are critically ill.


Healthcare science staff working in this field 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).

Key roles include:

  • 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
  • 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/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

More about critical care science

Stefanie is a critical care scientist at Royal Papworth Hospital. She talks about the role of healthcare scientists across the NHS, providing direct patient care and supporting, training and educating colleagues.


Last updated on 15th February 2024