Home > Critical Care Nursing

Critical Care Nursing Program


This exceptional course prepares registered nurses to work in critical care settings. Whether you are new to, or are very experienced in, critical care… or have never worked a moment in this environment… the Critical Care Nursing Program (CCNP) will stretch your understanding of critical care theoretical concepts and best practice guidelines. By gaining a broader insight of factors which influence safe care and by increasing sensitivity in relation to interprofessional team work and patient centered care, you will become more proficient in providing the patient/family with quality care in the critical care setting.

Ensuring that many have access to this stimulating program, you can choose from three study options to get the one that works best for you and your employer. Each study option is designed to meet the learning needs of a variety of nurses based on their personal and work commitments. The program includes self-directed study of web-based lessons supported by a high-level of interactive on-line learning using our e-learning platform Brightspace by Desire2Learn. Discussion board assignments include case studies that appropriately mirror the uniqueness of critical care nursing. A study schedule and regular communication with faculty will keep you on track with your studies.  

Group discussion, either face-to-face or via webconferencing, along with skills and simulation sessions are woven throughout the program. Depending on the study option and the experience level of the nurse, clinical in a critical care setting maybe integration throughout the program or done in blocks at designated times. This clinical learning, lasting approximately 168 hours, is provided in critical care areas at selected hospitals in Nova Scotia. You will be matched with a designated preceptor who will supervise the clinical experience under the guidance of the CCNP faculty.

All of these learning strategies provide for more adaptability for learning pathways that are specific to your needs.


The Regular Part-time CCNP (35-42 weeks) - January 15, 2018 – September 14, 2018 / November 2 , 2018 Program in Session
The Regular Part-time CCNP (35-42 weeks) - January 7, 2019 -  October 26, 2019 (end date dependent on clinical model)                                                                                                                                                   Registration deadline November 30, 2018

  • This program is designed for nurses who will be working on their home nursing units while studying in the program.
  • It is also an option for integrated clinical if hired into the Critical Care setting during program.

The Full-time CCNP (14 weeks)

September 4 - December 7, 2018; Program in Session
February 4 to May 10, 2019 (Registration deadline January 11, 2019)

  • Interested candidates should apply to the expression of interest job posting with the employer, only those with confirmed clinical seats should register for the program.
  • This study option is designed for nurses who are studying full-time and not working.
  • This study option will only be offered when requested by the employer.

Accelerated Part-time CCNP (PACU) -    (24 weeks)  – September 04, 2018 - January 25, 2019  
                                                                   (Registration deadline date: July 20, 2018)

  • This study option is designed for nurses who will be employed in the Critical Care setting at the beginning of the program (e.g., orientation/transition completed or in process).
  • This study option requires employer support to ensure learner success that would include time to participate in on-line learning activities/study, exam writing, skill labs and simulation sessions, and clinical.

Dates are subject to change, if you miss the deadline date please contact the program faculty.

  • Independent study time varies by study option; the shorter the study option the more hours per week - range is 7.5-15 hours per week
  • 40 hours skills lab and 168 hours clinical time
  • 4 sections of faculty-supported lessons
  • Clinical practicum follows completion of all lessons or, if working in critical care, can be integrated throughout the program.
  • Every effort is made to provide required clinical learning experiences at the site closest to the learner’s home; however, traveling might be required
  • Criminal Record Check with Vulnerable Sector Search may be required before clinical placement.
  • Registered nurses with prior knowledge, skills, or experience fundamental to the practice of critical care nursing may qualify to receive credit towards program requirements.
  • Preceptors supervise the clinical learning experiences under the guidance of CCNP faculty.



It is recommended that nurses interested in the Critical Care programs should have a minimum of six months (preferably one year) of recent experience on an acute care inpatient unit.

An active-practicing RN license with the CRNNS.

Registered Nurses in any of RNPDC programs which have clinical components require active BLS(c) for HCP.  The course can be readily obtained from St. John Ambulance or Heart and Stroke of Nova Scotia. RNPDC requires a copy of your active card on file.

If your BLS (c) is going to expire during the program, faculty recommends you recertify PRIOR to entering the program. 

Registrants must either scan or send a photocopy of any and all current certifications (such as BLSC, ACLS certifications) to the RNPDC office. 

Clinical Placements:

Criminal Record Check with Vulnerable Sector Search may be required before clinical placement. Please check with the program admin if you are unsure if a CRC is required for your clinical placement.

Contact Information:

Erica Smith  902-473-1966

Program Costs

Academic Fees (for payment options, click here):

Course materials: $200.00
Tuition: $400.00

Additional Expenses:
Textbooks (approximately): $400.00
(available at the Dalhousie University Bookstore or online from bookstores such as Amazon.com)