INTRODUCTION: The challenges related to providing continuing education and competence management for emergency nurses are not unique to any one organization, health system, or geographic location. These shared challenges, along with a desire to ensure high-quality practice of emergency nursing, were the catalyst for an international collaboration between emergency nurse leaders in Region Zealand, Denmark, and nurse leaders and educators from a large academic medical center in Boston, Massachusetts. The goal of the collaboration was to design a competency-based education framework to support high-quality emergency nursing care in Region Zealand. The core objectives of the collaboration included the following: (1) elevation of nursing practice, (2) development of a sustainable continuing education framework, and (3) standardization of training and nursing practice across the 4 emergency departments in Region Zealand.
METHODS: To accomplish the core objectives, a multi-phased strategic approach was implemented. The initial phase, the needs assessment, included semi-structured interviews, a self-evaluation of skills of all regional emergency nurses, and a survey regarding nursing competency completed by emergency nurse leadership. Two hundred ninety emergency nurses completed the self-evaluation. The survey results were utilized to inform the strategic planning and design of a regional competency-based education framework.
RESULTS: In 18 months, and through an international collaboration, emergency nursing education, training, and evaluation tools were developed and integrated into the 4 regional emergency departments. Initial feedback indicates that the education has had a positive impact. The annual competency day program has continued through 2021 and is now fully institutionalized within the regional emergency nursing continuing education program. Furthermore, use of this innovative education framework has expanded beyond the emergency department to other regional nursing specialties.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Through this unique collaboration with regional and international participants, a sustainable, regional emergency nursing education program was developed that has elevated and standardized the practice of emergency nurses in Region Zealand, Denmark. This program development can serve as a model for region-wide or health care system-wide collaborations in other countries.