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Critical Care Nursing

Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated October 2015

Questions and answers for Critical Care Nursing program.

  1. Why should I consider the Critical Care Nursing program?
    The Critical Care Nursing (CCN) program:
    • Was developed in collaboration with clinical and academic critical care expertise from both rural and urban critical care perspectives – it’s about leadership and working together to achieve excellence, ultimately for best patient outcomes.
    • Follows the standards set out in the Canadian Association of Critical Care Nurses (CACCN) Standards for Critical Care Nursing Practice and the competencies listed in the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) Critical Care (Adult) Nursing Certification.
    • Provides positive challenges – registered nurses will obtain specialized knowledge, skill and expertise in critical care.
    • Encourages learning in a supportive environment – experienced critical care nurses will act as preceptors and support students to learn how to care for critically ill patients and families and to work within a critical care team.
    • Combines multiple approaches to enhance adult learning – through textbook readings, video integration, discussion posts, practice questions, labs, simulation, and clinical experiences.
    • Builds on concepts from basic to complex, recognizing how everything is interrelated.
  2. What are the program highlights? 
    The Critical Care Nursing program offers:
    • a variety of modes of learning
    • distance and self-directed learning that is combined with face-to-face labs, an ECG tutorial and clinical experiences.

  3. As a new grad, can I apply to take the program? 
    While it may be preferable to have RN experience in a high acuity clinical practice setting prior to entering the program, it is not required.

  4. How will I progress through the program? 
    Each course is divided into learning outcomes and steps. Learning steps will guide you through the use of resources and will include learning activities to support learning regarding the subject material.

    Each course has specific strategies for evaluating knowledge, such as exams, case studies, quizzes and assignments.

    The program builds on concepts from basic to complex.

  5. What is the cost to take the program? 
    The annual cost varies according to the current tuition rate and the credit units for each course that you are taking. Tuition for the entire program is due by the first day of orientation.

  6. Where can I buy my books and other materials?
    Information on purchasing textbooks and course manuals will be provided when you register. Material is available for purchase saskpolytech.ca/bookstore, by phone or in person.

  7. What completion document do I receive after completing the program? 
    Upon completion, you will receive an advanced certificate in Critical Care Nursing.

  8. What other recognition will I receive after completing the program?
    Graduates are credited with 360 practice hours towards eligibility to maintain registration with the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses’ Association (SRNA).

  9. When can I start courses in the program?
    Before you apply, please contact criticalcarenursing@saskpolytech.ca or call Heidi Kirk, office assistant, at 306-775-7445 (toll-free at 1-866-467-4278) to determine the next available intake based on clinical capacity.

    You must first successfully meet the admission requirements for the program. Once you are admitted into the program, you will receive a welcome package with further orientation and program information. 

    There are five intakes a year: 
    Full-time – 11 weeks
    Part-time – 18 weeks 
    In the part-time intakes, students complete the course-work on a part-time basis and the clinical portion on a full-time basis.

    Health regions with critical care beds may sponsor students to take the Critical Care Nursing program and have an agreement with the student for a return-in-service. Please contact the human resources department in your health region for further information regarding sponsorship.

  10. Do I need to come to Saskatchewan to complete the program? 

    Currently the labs and clinical components are completed in Saskatchewan. For more information, please email criticalcarenursing@saskpolytech.ca  or contact Heidi Kirk, administrative support, at 306-775-7445.

  11. How likely am I to get a job in the critical care setting after I complete the program?
    Extremely likely. The majority of graduates who choose to apply to work in the critical care setting have been successful in getting a job. This high success rate is facilitated by regions sponsoring students to take the program and work in their critical care setting upon successful program completion.

  12. Can I continue to work while enrolled in the program?
    If you are enrolled in the 11-week delivery option, you will find the workload very demanding and it would not be ideal to work and take the program at the same time.

    If you are enrolled in the 18 week part-time option you could continue to work. You will be required to attend orientation, tutorials, labs and clinical.

  13. I have always attended formal classroom education. Distance learning seems like it would be a lonely experience. Is there any way I could have contact with my classmates? 
    You will have contact with your fellow students during course discussions, labs, the ECG tutorial, and clinical experiences.

  14. I already have considerable critical care nursing experience. What options are available to me? 
    Please contact criticalcarenursing@saskpolytech.ca or call Heidi Kirk, office assistant, at 306-775-7445 (toll-free at 1-866-467-4278) to ask for an assessment of your request.

  15. How will I communicate with faculty?
    Program faculty are available to support you via the telephone, email and in some situations, in person. We encourage you to discuss any difficulties you encounter throughout the program with the faculty so that you can work together on strategies for success.

  16. Where will my clinical practice education take place?
    Your clinical practice education will occur on critical care units, primarily in urban critical care centres. You will receive your clinical schedule prior to program orientation. Your clinical practice education is completed with experienced registered nurse preceptors.

  17. When do I participate in the clinical practice education courses?
    There are two clinical practice education courses within the program. The first clinical practice education introduces you to the critical care setting and to build a strong foundation on intensive care assessments, skills and abilities. The second clinical practice education course focuses on patients with multi-system challenges and builds on your knowledge from your first clinical experience.

  18. Where do I write my exams?
    An approved test site will be assigned to you when you are registered in program courses. Exams are written online and test centre staff will orientate you to the test-writing software. You must schedule an extra 15 minutes before your first exam for your orientation. The exams are multiple choice and require the writer to know how to use a mouse and read onscreen instructions.
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