Background: Specialist graduate emergency nursing education programs are essential to the delivery of high quality and safe healthcare to patients with complex needs in emergency care. Little is known about tertiary emergency nursing programs in Australia. This study aimed to determine the academic and professional characteristics of Australian emergency programs. Method: This embedded mixed-method study examined the academic and professional characteristics of Australian emergency programs in two interdependent phases: (1) document and content analysis of Australian graduate emergency nursing program websites; and (2) semi-structured interviews with the associated convenors. The data underwent framework analysis using eight pre-identified categories of (i) course entry, (ii) fee arrangement, (iii) mode of delivery, (iv) volume of learning, (v) clinical assessment, (vi) employment requirements, (vii) graduate expectations, and (viii) influence of healthcare employers and professional engagement. Results: Prior clinical experience and the requirement for concurrent practising in an emergency care environment influenced were common, however fee arrangements were not clearly articulated. The College of Emergency Nursing Australasia Practice Standards for the Emergency Nursing Specialist featured in part within 12 programs, principally to guide development of clinical assessments. Conclusion: Establishment of emergency nursing graduate practice standards could better inform the design and delivery of emergency nurse programs, and yield benefits in terms of graduate expectations and satisfaction and improved patient care.
- Graduate education
- Nursing education