Principles of emergency care for Registered Nurses (PEC RN) | Australian College of Nursing

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Principles of emergency care for Registered Nurses (PEC RN)

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Principles of emergency care for Registered Nurses

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.

Download the enrolment form

Course overview

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.

Mode of delivery

This course is offered over 20 weeks, and conducted fully online. It consists of 150 hours of study and assessment. Students receive support from a tutor and nurse educator.

Course Dates

022 180122 January 201819 February 201810 June 2018$1010.00
022 180416 April 201814 May 20182 September 2018$1010.00
022 18079 July 201825 November 20187 August 2018$1010.00
022 18101 October 201815 October 201810 March 2019$1010.00

*Fees are subject to change without notice.

Course code:022
CPD hours:150 hours over 20 weeks
Mode of delivery:Online
Pre-requisites:Basic understanding of anatomy and physiology
Textbooks and resources: There are no prescribed textbooks for this course. Resources are made available online.


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


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

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 – Shock states
  • Theme 3 – Patient presentations
  • Theme 4 – Specific population / presentations
  • Theme 5 – Stabilisation and transfer

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 1browser
  • I can navigate to a website using a 1browser
  • 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.

Frequently asked questions

What is the purpose of this course?

The RN Principles of Emergency Care course is designed for registered nurses (RN) and is aimed at enhancing a deeper understanding in the assessment and management of rapidly deteriorating patient(s). It promotes increased confidence for improving your current practice.

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 about 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 – Shock states
  • Weeks 9 – 12 : Theme 3 – Patient presentations
  • Weeks 13 – 17 : Theme 4 – Specific population / presentations
  • 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:

  • Build on existing knowledge and understanding of principles of emergency nursing care
  • Demonstrate assessment skills in prioritising care of the critically ill patients
  • Apply problem solving and clinical decision making skills in the management of deteriorating patient conditions
  • Implement communication strategies that support interdisciplinary collaboration and patient-centered care
  • Plan and evaluate patient management using clinical practice guideline and current evidence

What are the course assessment items?

Assessment types include the following:

  • Case analysis
  • Discussions
  • Quizzes
  • Reflective essays
  • Short essays

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 return the Distance Education Enrolment Form, and submit to the Customer Services team via the following ways:

  • Email: ; or
  • Fax: 02 6282 3565 ; Or
  • Post to: Customer Services Australian College of Nursing
    PO Box 650
    Parramatta NSW 2124

You must include a copy of your registration certificate from Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) when you enrol.

Can I claim this course as a tax deductible expense?

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

Can I pay for this course in installments?

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

What are the feedbacks from students

  • “The themes were great and definitely relevant to the learning outcomes. It was a good course, and I learnt an adequate amount from it, now to put it into clinical practice.”
  • “Overall, I have enjoyed the online learning experience, especially the forums and have gained much valuable knowledge.”
  • “A very worthwhile course and I’m glad I have completed it.”
  • “I did struggle to find my way in the online learning environment initially, but once orientated, I found it to be easy to use.”
  • “I thought the way in which the activities and assessments are worded enhanced my critical thinking and directed me to research and improve my clinical knowledge. I have learnt so much. Thank you.”
  • “As this course was delivered entirely online, I was able to study when I had time (whether I was on night shift, day shift etc). It allowed great flexibility.”
  • “Overall the course has made me become more confident and knowledgeable with emergency nursing. I feel that all rural remote emergency nurses should complete this course as the information learnt is so important to know.”
  • “I have loved the study, loved the online discussions, loved the cardiac assignment and enjoyed the case study. The knowledge and skills that I have learnt is fantastic and I know that I will be re-reading the course to consolidate the knowledge.
  • “Thoroughly enjoyed participating in the course. Will recommend to other staff and I now feel more confident in emergency presentations.”
  • “As a midwife this course has helped me to assess my deteriorating patients and implement swift emergency measures with increased confidence and competence.”
  • “This course has boosted my confidence and competence to provide nursing care that is timely and appropriate to the patient. It has stimulated me to think of integrating evidence-based practice protocols, in the clinical setting, (i.e. use of guidelines, research findings etc).”

Contact information

Customer Services

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