Clinical major option

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Title Clinical major option: a model for implementing critical care nursing into baccalaureate preparation
Author(s) K. A. Robertson
Journal Dynamics
Date 2000
Volume 11
Issue
Start page 22
Abstract What was initiated as a directive from a provincial government in an attempt to increase the number of critical care nurses has evolved into an exciting educational opportunity for many nurses and student nurses in the year 2000. Between 1993 and 1997 there has been significant downsizing of acute care beds across Canada (Code Blue: Critical Care Nursing in Nova Scotia, 1998). At the same time patient acuity has increased, due to shorter hospital stays, and the number of nurses working full-time has decreased with the increased use of casual nurses. Several studies at both the provincial and national levels report current and future shortages of specialized nurses (emergency, critical care and perioperative). It is expected that this shortage will continue into the future, a shortage that is driven by technological advances, as well as an aging general and nursing population. Continued shortages of these acute care nurses will result in fierce competition for skilled nurses as well as aggressive recruitment and retention strategies (Code Blue: Critical Care Nursing in Nova Scotia, 1998). It is generally agreed within the nursing community that specialty nurses in critical care require a unique body of knowledge that is not acquired in a basic undergraduate nursing program (Fitzsimmons, Hadley, & Shively, 1999). This specialized knowledge can be gained informally through experience; however, it is largely developed in additional formal education programs. The purpose of this article is to outline a strategy for the delivery of specialty education at three educational levels in acute care nursing with three streams: emergency, critical care and perioperative nursing. This clinical major option is to be delivered in partnership among the Queen Elizabeth Hospital II, the Health Science Centre and Dalhousie University School of Nursing, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. This model of offering specialty education in university preparation could be a template for preparing nurses in the new millennium.
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