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Principles of Emergency Care for Registered Nurses (PEC RN)
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This course is designed for RNs working in any clinical setting in metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas. It equips RNs with the knowledge underpinning the skills needed in order to render first-line emergency care in emergency/critical situations. This subject aims to enhance nurses’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and their confidence in decision-making when providing care to patients during emergency situations.


January, April, July, October


20 weeks

Study mode


Why study this course

Are you ready for more knowledge and understanding in the assessment, prioritising and management of patients who are ill and quickly deteriorating? This course is designed for RNs working in all clinical areas across a variety of health care settings. The course aims to provide the knowledge underpinning the skills needed for attending to first-line assessment and management of patients in an emergency / critical situation.

Course overview

Course structure

The course is conducted fully online through guided study and online activities. The online learning environment used at ACN is called CNnect. It is recommended that students study for approximately 8–10 hours a week. The amount of time will be determined by an individual’s learning needs. Students are supported by the nurse educator and tutors, and are encouraged to maintain regular contact.

Networking between students is also encouraged through the use of online forums and activities.

Course content

The themes covered in this course include:

  • Theme 1 – Health assessment and immediate management
  • Theme 2 – Patient presentations
  • Theme 3 – Specific populations/presentations
  • Theme 4 – Shock
  • Theme 5 – Stabilisation and transfer


Applicants need to hold a current registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA).

Online skill check

To get the most out of your experience on CNnect, you will need to have confidence with working online. If you can do the things in the list below, you should be fine – if not, you may need to seek some support from a friend or colleague.

  • I have internet access
  • I can send an email
  • I can attach a file to an email
  • I can open a browser1
  • I can navigate to a website using a browser1
  • I can download a file to my computer
  • I can save a file to my computer
  • I can use Microsoft Word and Microsoft Powerpoint
  • I can cut/copy and paste from one document to another document
  • I can change my screen resolution (make the page appear bigger or smaller on the screen)

1 A browser is a software application used to navigate the Internet. CNnect works best with updated versions of Firefox and Google Chrome.


Students who have successfully completed this course will be awarded with a Statement of Attainment and 150 CPD hours.

Course dates

022 180125 January 202113 June 2021$990.00$1,100.00
022 180419 April 20215 September 2021$990.00$1,100.00
022 180712 July 202128 November 2021$990.00$1,100.00
022 18104 October 202127 March 2022$990.00$1,100.00

*Fees are subject to change without notice.

Frequently asked questions

What is the purpose of this course?

The purpose of this course is to prepare registered nurses (RNs) to care for patients requiring emergency intervention. It is designed for nurses working in any clinical setting, including the emergency departments (EDs); the outpatient setting; the smaller regional, rural and remote hospitals where nurses are expected to work in all areas of the hospital. Some of these clinical areas have varied medical support, and the nurses are often required to intervene with limited or no medical support on-site. Medical support may be at the end of a telephone, within driving distance or off-site. Expedient and accurate assessment and management reduces morbidity and mortality. Therefore, it is imperative that nurses are able to manage patients who have life or limb-threatening conditions, and provide time-critical interventions, especially in relation to pain relief. This course will provide the knowledge underpinning the skills needed for attending to first-line assessment and management of patients requiring emergency care.

How will this course benefit my practice?

Regardless of your work environment, you need to have knowledge and skills to be able to respond in a timely and appropriate manner to a variety of emergency situations. This course will guide you in searching and reading the most current guidelines in the management of many different emergencies. You will be prompted to practice essential skills within your work environment, including critical engagement with policies and protocols. Past students have reported enhanced understanding of patient assessment and management in emergency clinical situations. They also developed improved confidence and competence in providing emergency care that is safe, effective and appropriate to suit individual client needs.

How is this course delivered?

This course is completely online – all information and resources can be accessed via CNnect. This means that you will have the freedom to study and access the course content at a time and location that is convenient to you. You may also choose to print out the online course materials and resources if you prefer to read from a paper-based copy.

Will I have support?

As an enrolled student, you will have access to:

  • a tutor who is highly experienced in the field of emergency management of patients; who can answer your questions, help and guide you through the course, mark your assessments and provide you with feedback
  • a nurse educator/course coordinator who can provide additional assistance
  • IT support when you encounter issues associated with the technical aspects of CNnect.

What is the expected workload for this course?

This course will take you approximately 150 hours to complete. This includes reading, completing online activities and completion of assessments. It is estimated that you will spend approximately 8–10 hours a week on this course. As with any course, and given that no two individuals learn in the same way, you may find that some weeks may demand more hours than others.

How is the course structured and what content do you cover?

Students will be guided by the study and assessment timetable for this 20-week course. Specific themes will be covered as outlined in the study and assessment timetable. Week 1 is an orientation week whereby students are encouraged to explore in CNnect, and to become familiar with the online learning environment. Below is a typical example of the schedule:

  • Week 1: Orientation
  • Weeks 1 – 4: Theme 1 – Health assessment and immediate management
  • Weeks 5 – 8: Theme 2 – Patient presentations
  • Weeks 9 – 12: Theme 3 – Specific population / presentations
  • Weeks 13 – 17: Theme 4 –  Shock
  • Weeks 18 – 20: Theme 5 – Stabilisation and transfer

What are the learning outcomes of this course?

On successful completion of this course, it is anticipated you will be better able to:

  • review the principles of emergency nursing needed to optimise health care delivery for acute and emergency presentations
  • apply problem solving and clinical decision-making skills in the assessment, care planning and management of acutely ill patients
  • demonstrate critical thinking and reflective practice skills in prioritising care for patients from diverse population groups and across the life span
  • explore clinical evidence-based guidelines and professional practice standards to promote effective patient-centred care
  • discuss the clinical processes and communication strategies that support team work and collaborative approach to health service delivery.

What are the course assessment items?

Assessment types include the following:

  • Online discussions
  • Essay
  • Reflective essay
  • Guided case analysis
  • Multiple choice quiz

There will be a study and assessment timetable to help you plan and manage the workload in this course.

How do I enrol?

To enrol, you will need to complete and submit the appropriate form in the Enrolment form section above. There are two enrolment forms available:

  1. Fee-paying students – for all applicants paying their own fees
  2. Bulk purchases – for local health districts only

Please ensure you complete and submit the appropriate form. Failure to do so will mean your application will not be processed. Please contact Customer Services if you require any assistance.

Can I pay for this course in instalments?

Full payment must be received prior to the commencement of the course.

Am I entitled to a refund?

If the student withdraws after the course commences, or fails to meet the course requirements, the course fees are non-refundable.

Can I claim this course as a tax deductible expense?

It is best to speak to your accountant or contact the Australian Taxation Office.

Meet your Nurse Educator

Kirsten Masters

Kirsten Masters, Nurse Educator – Higher Education

RN, BN, MN (Critical Care), Cert IV TAE


Kirsten has been nursing for 10 years and has experience working in critical care settings, as well as experience as a nurse educator within other educational providers. You can see Kirsten on the TV show Kings Cross ER!

She is passionate about delivering quality education that will empower nurses to provide care that is of the highest standard.

Student testimonials

Hear straight from our students about their experiences with ACN’s Principles of Emergency Care for Registered Nurses (PEC RN) course.

Contact us

Customer Services
T: +61 2 9745 7500 or 1800 265 534 (charges may apply)