Transition to intensive care nursing: establishing a starting point

Aust Crit Care. 2008 Nov;21(4):190-8. doi: 10.1016/j.aucc.2008.06.001. Epub 2008 Jul 16.


Introduction: There is a shortage of intensive care (IC) nurses. A supported transition to IC nursing has been identified as a key strategy for recruitment and retention. In 2004 a discussion document relating to transition of IC nurses was presented to the New South Wales (NSW) Chief Nursing Officer (CNO). A workshop was held with key stakeholders and a Steering Group was established to develop a state-wide transition to IC nursing program.

Aims: To survey orientation programs and educational resources and develop definitions, goals, learning objectives and clinical competencies relating to transition to IC nursing practice.

Methods: A questionnaire and a draft document of definitions, target group, goals, learning objectives and clinical competencies for IC transition was distributed to 43 NSW IC units (ICUs). An iterative process of anonymous feedback and modification was undertaken to establish agreement on content.

Results: Responses were received from 29 units (return rate of 67%). The survey of educational resources indicated ICUs had access to educational support and there was evidence of a lack of a common standard or definition for "orientation" or "transition". The definitions, target group, goals and competency statements from the draft document were accepted with minor editorial change. Seventeen learning objectives or psychomotor skills were modified and an additional 19 were added to the draft as a result of the process.

Conclusion: This work has established valid definitions, goals, learning objectives and clinical competencies that describe transition to intensive care nursing.

MeSH terms

  • Critical Care*
  • Education, Professional, Retraining / organization & administration*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training / organization & administration*
  • Needs Assessment*
  • New South Wales
  • Program Development
  • Specialties, Nursing / education*
  • Workforce