Pushing boundaries in paediatric intensive care: training as a paediatric retrieval nurse practitioner

Nurs Crit Care. 2007 Mar-Apr;12(2):74-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1478-5153.2006.00200.x.


Traditionally in the UK, the transportation of the critically ill child to a paediatric intensive care unit has been carried out by a medically led team of doctors and nurses. However, in countries such as the USA and Canada, appropriately trained nurse practitioners have proven to be competent in the transportation of these vulnerable children. This nurse-led team model has also been shown to be successful in the speciality of neonatal care in the UK. The impact of changes in the National Health Service (NHS) has led to an increased demand for the transportation of the child requiring paediatric intensive or high-dependency care, the lifting of restrictions on nursing practice and the reduction of doctors' hours in keeping with the European Working Time Directive. This has led to one NHS Trust in the UK developing the role of paediatric retrieval nurse practitioners (RNP): nurses who lead the retrieval team. The purpose of this article is to describe a pilot initiative to develop the role of RNPs. The comprehensive process of recruitment, training and assessment of competency will be detailed. Personal reflection on the project will also explore the pertinent nursing issues around; role impact and definition, conflict and change management, communication, legislation and personal and professional growth. Recommendations for future initiatives will also be explored.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Education, Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric*
  • Nurse Practitioners / education*
  • Patient Transfer*
  • Program Development
  • United Kingdom