Development of a Collaborative Competency-Based Emergency Nursing Education Program  in Region Sjaelland, Denmark

Emergency nurse skills-based education in Region Sjaelland, Denmark is not standardized between its four hospitals, resulting in variability of emergency nursing practice. To address this lack of standardization and raise overall competency levels, emergency nursing leaders from Region Sjaelland partnered with nurse specialists from Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, forming a task force to develop a standardized approach to regional ED nurse education. 290 nurses who staff the four EDs in Region Sjaelland, which serve a population of 817,000, participated in the regional program.

Initially, a needs assessment was conducted to assess nurse competency in 202 essential ED nurse clinical and administrative skills. Nurses and their supervisors were asked to rate skills competency on a scale of 0 to 4, with proficient being a score >=3. On average, nurses scored themselves proficient in 20.8% of skills; while leadership scored their nurses as proficient in 30% of skills. At the time of the survey, 26% of staff nurses felt they were not adequately prepared to perform their job without supervision.

The task force identified the AACN’S Synergy Model as a theoretical framework for their work. Synergy occurs when emergency nurses competencies align with the needs of the patients they care for. To address the regional competency gap, the task force decided to implement a standardized educational program, that uses skills stations, taught during “nurse competency days,” to review and validate skills. In the first year, 34 competencies and assessments were validated through 5 themed skills stations, taught during competency days scheduled at each hospital. A team of 32 nurse trainers completed a regional train-the-trainers course and facilitated the education. Additional basic or lower risk competencies will be addressed through eLearning, simulation, and frontline education.

Through the empowerment of the task force, Region Sjaelland has developed the first standardized, competency-based emergency nursing education program in Denmark.