Practice expectations for Australian graduate emergency nursing programs: A Delphi study

Tamsin Jones, Kate Curtis, Ramon Z. Shaban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: Practice standards in nursing provide minimum expectations to enable the provision of high quality and safe care. There are currently no practice standards for post-registration graduate emergency nursing programs in Australia, leading to variation in graduate attributes and clinical expectations on completion of their program. Objectives: The aim of this study was to establish consensus-based practice standards for graduate emergency nursing programs in Australia. Design: Delphi approach. Participants: Australian nurses who identified as an emergency nurse and currently worked, or previously worked, in an emergency care environment. Methods: A modified two-round Delphi method was used. The survey was divided into four sections of data collection, including demographics, graduate emergency nursing course entry requirements, graduate expectations, and clinical care capabilities. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics including calculation of content validity index (CVI). Results: There were 204 respondents in Round One and 153 respondents in Round Two. Respondents agreed that nurses wanting to undertake graduate studies in emergency nursing require prior experience in the emergency care environment and should be working a minimum of 0.5 full time equivalent (FTE) whilst completing their studies. Thirty-nine statements presented under graduate attributes achieved a CVI of >0.8. All 70 clinical care capability statements presented in Round Two achieved a CVI of >0.8. Conclusion: This study generated the evidence to establish minimum practice standards for Australian graduate emergency nursing programs. The standards centre around three key areas: graduate entry requirements, graduate attributes and clinical care capabilities. The standards provide a clear guide for employers, educators and clinicians, and inform capabilities for early career emergency nurses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104811
Number of pages7
JournalNurse Education Today
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Clinical care capability
  • Delphi
  • Emergency nursing
  • Graduate attributes
  • Graduate education
  • Nursing education
  • Practice standards

Cite this