Introducing a Post Graduate Emergency Nursing Program in a specialist tertiary hospital

Mrs Vanessa Gorman1, Ms Grace Currie1,2

1The Royal Women’s Hospital Melbourne, Parkville, Australia, 2The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Australia


An evolving workforce, increasingly complex and diverse patient population and an increase in acuity of presentations prompted nursing leadership to consider how the nursing workforce could be “future proofed”. It was suggested that the introduction of an emergency nursing post graduate certificate would enrich the current skill set of a midwifery led Emergency Department and improve knowledge and skills.

Introduction of Graduate Certificate in Nursing Practice (GCNP) – Emergency in a specialist tertiary in emergency department in metropolitan Melbourne. Future proof the nursing/midwifery workforce by aiming to introduce a skill mix of up to 30% critical care trained staff within a largely midwife led department.

The Nurse Unit Manager collaborated with the Clinical Education team to implement a pilot program for post graduate emergency nursing in a specialist Emergency Department in Feb 2019.

Successful implementation of the pilot program evidenced by both students successful completion of the course with successful recruitment for 2020 completed to continue the program. Collaboration with precinct partners and academic providers resulting in stronger professional relationships, working towards a more diverse staff base across campuses.


Vanessa Gorman commenced her emergency nursing career in 1996 at Austin Hospital, Melbourne. Across her 23 year career in emergency nursing she has held positions such as Associate Unit Manager, Nurse Unit Manager, Project Manager, Senior Policy Advisor – Department of Health & Human Services, Bed Access Coordinator, Nursing Educator and State Trauma Manager. Vanessa holds post-graduate qualifications in Emergency Nursing having completed a Masters in Speciality Nursing (University of Tasmania) and a Graduate Diploma in Health Services Management through Monash University. Vanessa is the Chair of the International Advisory Council for the Emergency Nursing Association (USA), which aims to make improvements within emergency nursing globally. Vanessa is dedicated to improving nursing work conditions with a particular interest in fatigue management. In 2015 she was co-lead in a Worksafe Victoria project with a focus on fatigue management for Emergency Nurses. Vanessa also has a passion for workforce management and importantly around what the future of nursing, and in particular emergency nursing, may look like. She recently presented to the largest Emergency Conference in the world in the USA where over 4000 delegates attended. Vanessa currently works in a speciality emergency department in Melbourne Victoria as she continues her drive to improve emergency care and support emergency clinicians.