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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


10 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 12-15 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 – 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 230123 January 20232 April 2023$1,021.50$1,135.00
022 230417 April 202325 June 2023$1,021.50$1,135.00
022 230710 July 202317 September 2023$1,021.50$1,135.00
022 23102 October 202310 December 2023$1,021.50$1,135.00

*Fees are subject to change without notice.

Enrolment form

We strongly encourage applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health care professionals to study this course. If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person we encourage you to let us know in your application. If you require assistance with completing your application or support during the course, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

We strongly encourage applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health care professionals to study this course. If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person we encourage you to let us know in your application. If you require assistance with completing your application or support during the course, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Frequently asked questions

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 12-15 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.

Students will be guided by the study and assessment timetable for this 10-week course. Specific themes will be covered as outlined in the study and assessment timetable. Below is a typical example of the schedule:

  • Weeks 1 – 2: Theme 1: Health assessment and immediate management
  • Weeks 3 – 5: Theme 2: Presentations
  • Weeks 6 – 8: Theme 3: Specific populations / presentations
  • Weeks 9: Theme 4: Shock
  • Weeks 10: Theme 5: Stabilisation and transfer

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 individuals
  • demonstrate critical thinking and reflective practice skills in prioritising care for individuals from diverse population groups and across the life span
  • explore clinical evidence-based guidelines and professional practice standards to promote effective person-centred care
  • discuss the clinical processes and communication strategies that support teamwork and collaborative approach to health service delivery

Assessment types include the following:

  • Online discussions
  • Goal setting
  • Development of a learning package
  • Reflection
  • Multiple choice quiz

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.

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

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

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

Meet your Nurse Educator

Sally Byrne, Nurse Educator – Higher Education
RN, BN, Graduate Certificate in Nurse Practice (Emergency), working towards Masters of Advanced Nursing Practice (MANP)

Sally has been nursing for 8 years and has extensive experience working in paediatric and adult critical care settings. She is passionate about delivering quality education that will empower nurses to build on their current knowledge and practice in order to provide the highest standard of care to all patients.

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: 02 9745 7500 or 1800 265 534 (charges may apply)