Congrats! Charlottetown, The Guardian: Local News | Seven graduate from critical care, emergency nursing program

Seven nurses from three Island hospitals have graduated from the first-ever critical care and emergency-nursing program offered on Prince Edward Island.

The 15-week pilot program gives nurses the knowledge, equipment, comfort and confidence to be able to deliver the best possible quality care to patients, says Dr. Kim Critchley, dean of nursing at UPEI.

“I mean that’s ultimately important that the patients will benefit,” she said.

“Better patient care and also better job satisfaction from the nurses because if they are comfortable and confident in what they are doing they are more apt to stay in those areas.”

Dana Hood of Charlottetown, who picked up her certificate Friday for graduating from the critical care nursing program, feels better prepared now for her work in the intensive care unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

“I just thought it was a really good opportunity to learn and grow,” she said of her decision to take the program.

Hood, who has been a nurse for eight years including the past two at the QEH, believes a lot of nurses will want to take the program.

Seven more nurses are slated to participate in the program beginning in February.

Critchley says the program was a long time coming.

An advisory committee spent the past three years trying to establish some formal education in critical care and emergency before funding was finally secured from Health Canada with matching dollars coming from the province.

That funding of nearly $950,000, however, ends this summer. If only 14 nurses end up going through the program, that will only scratch the surface, said Critchley.

She is hopeful future proposals will be approved to allow more nurses to receive intensive critical care and emergency nursing instruction similar to that covered in the pilot program.

“It’s a luxury to have nurses to be able to be paid full time to go to school for 15 weeks,” she said of the pilot.

“If they could do it even one day a week and do it over a longer period of time, we could still offer the program in a more sustainable way.”

Pamela Condon of Gaspereaux, who just graduated from the emergency nursing program, says the course is excellent.

“It was an opportunity to expand our practice and expand our knowledge and become more knowledgeable nurses in our field,” she said.

Health Minister Doug Currie said in a statement that his department is pleased to partner in this program along with the School of Nursing, Health Canada and the P.E.I. Nurses Union to help provide Island nurses with an opportunity for professional development in critical care.

“Nurses play an essential role in the delivery of health care on Prince Edward Island, and providing this program for both new and experienced nurses will result in direct benefits for Islanders,” he said.

This program is one of 10 pilot projects across Canada that is part of a pan-Canadian initiative called Research to Action: Applied Workplace Solutions for Nurses. The projects are led by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions and funded by Health Canada.

The pilot projects are aimed at testing retention and recruitment strategies to address the nursing shortage.