Implementation of a PEI-Based Critical Care and Emergency Nursing Programs

Prince Edward Island

There are currently no Critical Care Nursing Programs (CCNP) or Emergency Nursing Programs (ENP) delivered in Prince Edward Island. Currently, nurses seeking certification are required to travel to Halifax to attend programs offered through the Registered Nurses Professional Development Centre (RN-PDC).

Nurses see education and skills-upgrading as the most important measures to improve quality of patient care and nurse well-being.(1) They find it difficult to leave their homes and families to participate in the 3-month programs. Employers, moreover, often do not have the resources or the capacity to release nurses to take training in Halifax for up to 15 weeks.

With the support of Nova Scotia’s RN-PDC, the PEI Nurses’ Union, the PEI Department of Health and the University of PEI have begun implementing these programs in PEI. The courses provide new skills and competencies, open up new work experience, and help PEI address the shortage of critical care and emergency nurses. They also enhance the learning culture and promote quality practice environments. 

1. Tomblin Murphy, 2005.

Project Objectives: 
  • To develop a PEI-based emergency and critical care nursing program.
  • To help nurses acquire the skills they need without having to leave PEI.
  • To assist in standardized provision of emergency and critical care practice.
  • To increase retention of emergency and critical care nurses.
  • To positively impact job satisfaction indicators within the project site.
  • To develop the capacity to ensure sustainability of a PEI-based program through the training of nurse educators.
  • To increase evidence-based research on ENP and CCNP programs in rural areas.
Project Description: 

Two nurse educators and the project coordinator have participated in the Halifax training to develop the knowledge and skills needed to deliver the CCNP and ENP programs in PEI. The educators have begun providing the course at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown.

  • There will be two sessions of the 14-week CCNP with six nurses in total and a 14-week ENP with 11 nurses in total over the 18-month project period.
  • The program will be evaluated at completion of both sessions. A strategy for a sustainable and PEI-based CCNP and ENP programs will be developed.

In addition, approximately 10 senior nurses will be chosen and trained to act as preceptors for nurses new to CCNP and ENP.

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