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Scope of Practice

Broad Overview

Critical care is a high technology area and utilises applied science. What defines a Critical Care Scientist (CCS) as a unique professional is, the combination of equipment management, patient/technology interface and training of other professionals. CCS’s as healthcare scientists require a significant depth and breadth of knowledge. Their primary role is to provide the scientific and technological services and solutions to support organ function and maintain life. 
With the patient’s life being dependant upon the application of science, CCS’s utilise monitoring and diagnostic procedures, including Point of Care Testing, plus organ support technologies and therapies, to diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions, including trauma and multi organ failure. This is further underpinned by the bedside training and supervision of staff in the use, application and the management of the technologies that are required during a life threatening event.
CCS’s are responsible for the supply, efficacy, quality assurance and application of critical care technologies. This includes the introduction of new technology which leads to improved quality of care for critically ill patients at all levels of dependency. CCS’
s may be employed in any location where a patient requiring critical care is to be found, this includes locations external to the hospital and areas of physiological extremes or stress.  

A newly qualified Critical Care
Scientist must be familiar with all critical care areas, have the following skill mix and be able to perform :

Physiological Support , Measurement and Clinical Intervention 

  • Be able to decontaminate, calibrate and set up technological systems used in critical care.
  • Be able to assess patients physiology taking into account the complexity of the patients condition, the technology and resources available.
  • Be able to plan within unit protocol , deliver and evaluate treatments to take into account interactions between different support systems and the effect on, and of patients pathophysiology, as part of a multi-disciplinary team to improve the quality of care.
  • Be able to set up and attach to patients non invasive diagnostic and physiological monitoring equipment, generating and interpreting the data and its clinical significance to the patient and technologies in use plus take appropriate action.
  • For example: 12 , 5 , 3 lead electrocardiograms’, Respiratory movement, Pulse oximeters.
  • Non-invasive blood pressure including Brachial, Radial, Posteria Tibial, Dorsalispedis and Popateal.
  • Transcutaneous Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide sensors Temperature sensors.
  • Be able to set up and attach arterial and venous pressure monitoring.
  • Assist in the provision of diagnostic, monitoring and support therapies by being able to set up and take measurements of critical care patients physiological systems, including: Respiratory, Cardio-Vascular, Renal , Hepatic, Neurological and Gastro- Intestinal.
  • Be able to set up and assist with clinical procedures for example resuscitation, intubation and cannulation.
  • Participate in the safe transfer of critically ill patients. Ensuring safe functionality of technology and availability of resources, during the transfer ensuring appropriate use.

 Point of Care Testing (Near Patient Testing):

  • Be able to take and analyse samples with the ability to interpret the results and their clinical relevance to the patients condition and the support therapies being used. For example: Blood gases and electrolytes, Co-oximetry and Haemoglobin, Blood clotting, Metabolites, Lactate, Glucose, Urea and Creatinine.
  • Perform internal Quality Control Assessment plus preventative and remedial maintenance of POC devices in line with local Chemical/Bio Pathology and National Recommendations and be able to interpret the data and take appropriate action.
  • Assist with microbiological surveillance of POC systems.
  • Maintain Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) procedures, in accordance with agreed protocols.

 Management of Critical Care Technology:

  • Be able to perform pre-use checks on equipment.
  • Be able to undertake preventative and day to day maintenance of technological systems to ensure accuracy and reliability in the clinical environment.
  • Be able to follow a systematic approach in the assessment of errors of technology in use in critical care.
  • Engage in Quality Control and Quality Assurance to ensure adherence with National and International legislation and local policies and procedures.
  • Understand health service economics and budgets to ensure cost effective use of current technology.
  • Be responsible for the safe condition and use of technology.

 Training and Development:

  • Undertake Critical Incident reporting procedure.
  • Be involved in a continuous personal development of the knowledge and skill required to practice as a Critical Care Scientist.
  • Maintaining effective records of delivered teaching/training for the end-users of technology, to maintain compliance with institutional and national procedures, with respect to the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts (CNST) outlines.
  • Be part of a multi-disciplinary team.

 Research and Development 

  • Be able to use information technology databases and logs.
  • Be able to perform and understand the importance of clinical audit.
  • Be able to demonstrate an understanding of clinical governance to ensure adherence to clinical governance protocols and policies.
  • Be able to demonstrate knowledge of research processes, including relevant guidelines and legislation

 Health and Safety, Risk Assessment and Clinical Governance:  

  • Comply with Health and Safety legislation and guidelines.
  • Participate in risk assessment procedures. 


  • Be able to assist with effective appraisal and re-validation of all issues concerning critical care technology to, ensure the highest standard of treatment for all patients and to protect the health and well-being of people who use the services of the health professionals.