Intensive Care units or critical care units are areas of the hospital that provide specialist care for patients who may have life threatening conditions or need extra support beyond that can be provided on other hospital wards. This may be through nursing support or use of specialised machines and medications. They are staffed by teams of doctors and nurses who are specialists in Intensive Care medicine. In addition there is a comprehensive team of allied health professionals who provide holistic care for patients and support for family, through this often difficult time.

The length of admission to ICU will depend on many factors, including how unwell the patient is, how extensive their nursing needs are and whether they are expected to undergo any further procedures or surgery, through which we will need to support them.


The Royal North Shore Hospital ICU is a 58 bed unit made up of four ‘pods’ – two general and two specialist surgical: one cardiothoracic and one neurosurgical. The ICU is managed by a team of senior clinicians and nurses. There will be a senior specialist doctor and a senior nurse co-ordinating patient care in each pod, as well as a number of other doctors and nurses. There are more doctors and nurses per patient than on a general hospital ward. RNSHICU is an accredited training centre for the College of Intensive Care medicine of Australia and New Zealand and has a world renowned reputation for research and innovation.

RNSHICU is also supported by a hospital with a comprehensive range of clinical specialities which means we are equipped to care for patients with a huge range of problems including major illness and surgery, cancer, burns, trauma, spinal injuries and stroke.

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