Recruitment and retention of an experienced critical care workforce has been identified as a significant issue across Australia in general and particularly in rural areas (NSW Rural Health Report, 2002). Within this context The National Review of Nursing and Nursing Education 2002 - Our Duty of Care (recommendation 14, p22) identifies a need for consistency and quality in the development and delivery of transition programs. This part of the recommendation and the establishment of transitional support for nurses have been supported by all Australian Health Ministers.
Registered nurses in emergency departments (EDs) or intensive care units (ICUs) require specialised knowledge and skills to safely and effectively care for their patients. Individual intensive care and emergency department services have developed orientation or transition programs to provide a structure for the development of nursing practice to meet the standard of safe and effective care. These programs are directed at the transitional needs of:
- New employees with little or no ED or ICU experience
- New employees with ED or ICU experience but without formal qualifications
- Experienced nurses wishing to make a transition to ED or ICU nursing
- Nurses returning to ED or ICU
- Individual nurse professional development.
The Transition to ED nursing working party prepared an outline for a 'Transition to ED Curriculum' and finalised their report in June 2007. The report was reviewed by the NSW Area Directors of Nursing and Midwifery in November 2007 and representatives from the working party met with the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer on 28 February 2008 to discuss their recommendations. Further information about decisions made to progress this work will be available here soon.