Developing skills and a collaborative culture in paediatric critical care

Jane Cichero1, Catherine  Sumsky,2, Kylie  Furness3, Lisa  Sealey4, Nerralie Shaw5

1Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, Randwick, Randwick, Australia, 2Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, Randwick, Randwick , Australia, 3Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, Randwick, Randwick, Australia, 4Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, Randwick, Randwick, Australia, 5Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, Randwick, Randwick, Australia


At the beginning of the millennium two critical care areas at Sydney Children’s Hospital were working in isolation. Registered Nurses (RN) in the Emergency Department (ED) were often involved in the rapid resuscitation of patients. These resuscitations required skills that were difficult for the ED nurse to acquire. Conversely, RN’s from the Children’s Intensive Care Unit (CICU) would provide support for the resuscitations in an environment they were unfamiliar with.  It was conceived that creating a culture of collaboration between two nursing teams would enhance skill development in paediatric critical care.


The Nurse Educators from both areas developed and piloted the ED – ICU rotation program in 2005. Specific learning objectives were developed to align with the National Standards for Critical Care Nurse Education.


More than ten years on, the ED-ICU rotation program is ingrained in the roster and a number of collaborative innovations in education and quality and safety have resulted. Innovations that include combined simulation team training, ED representation on the ICU Access Nurse Study day, shared education for advanced skills development and collaborative quality projects such as the recently endorsed ED-CICU Handover Checklist and accompanying policy document in 2016.


This paper outlines the benefits of a nursing rotation for staff between a paediatric emergency department and a paediatric intensive care unit and the subsequent impact on skill development and staff retention.  The resulting progression of skill acquisition and development of a collaborative culture between units will also be outlined along with the vision for future combined Paediatric Critical Care post graduate learning.


Jane Cichero has been a Paediatric Nurse Educator since 2002. Jane holds a Graduate Certificate of Paediatrics, Paediatric Critical Care and a Graduate Diploma of Clinical Teaching. Jane has extensive experience in general paediatric nursing, paediatric intensive care and paediatric emergency nursing. Her passion for education incorporates a passion for simulation. Jane completed the Harvard Medical Simulation as a Teaching Tool Instructor Course in 2011. Jane currently works in the Emergency Department at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick as Nurse Educator and the Nurse Lead for Simulation.