Introducing a Post Graduate Emergency Nursing Program in a specialist tertiary hospital Emergency Department

Mrs Vanessa Gorman1, Ms Grace Currie1,2, Dr Fleur Llewelyn1, Mr Jason Dakin1

1The Royal Women’s Hospital, North Melbourne, Australia, 2The Royal Melbourne Hospital, North Melbourne, Australia

Purpose:  Introduction of a Graduate Certificate in Nursing Practice (GCNP) – Emergency program into a specialist tertiary hospital Emergency Department (ED) in metropolitan Melbourne.

Problem: An evolving nursing workforce, increasingly complex and diverse patient population and an increase acuity of presentations, prompted nursing leadership to consider how the current workforce could be ‘future proofed’. It was suggested that the introduction of an emergency nursing post graduate certificate would enrich the current skill mix of a midwifery led ED and improve knowledge and skills.  Specialist emergency nurses/midwives ensure high quality and best practice care to patients, future proof the workforce and address challenges around a shortage of postgraduate qualified emergency department staff.

Methodology: The Nurse Unit Manager collaborated with the clinical education team to implement a pilot program for emergency post graduate training of Registered Nurse/Midwives in a specialist ED. The GCNP was advertised to gain a level of interest from nurse/midwives. Two staff were successfully recruited, a single registrant nurse and a dual registrant nurse/midwife. A Clinical Nurse Educator was also recruited.

Results: The GCNP – Emergency commenced in March 2019.  Preliminary qualitative data suggests students feel supported in their role. Opportunities for exposure to diverse patient populations have been sought through external organizational partnerships. This has opened up opportunities to network with other healthcare providers in Victoria. The existing highly skilled staff cohort have supported the introduction of this program. At end of semester one, both students are on track to be successful in their academic and practical assessments.

Implications for practice:  Introduction of this program is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the nursing/midwifery workforce. Into the future, the introduction of this program demonstrates the ability of specialist emergency departments to diversify and provide consumers with high quality healthcare by advanced practice trained nursing/midwifery staff.


An emerging emergency nurse leader combining more than 5 years experience in a designated trauma & tertiary level hospital in Victoria. A passion for positive clinical outcomes for all patients, who is currently studying a Masters of Public Health. Grace has recently been a project lead on apreceptorship programs in the ED and strives to create a positive workplace environment that encourages a supportive environment for learners.