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Nova Scotia Health announces training and retention initiatives for nurses in EDs

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Three nurses wearing blue scrubs and masks

Friday, January 20, 2023 (Halifax, NS) - Nova Scotia Health is announcing a number of training and retention initiatives for nurses in emergency departments (ED) across the province.

The initiatives, which span nurses’ careers working in emergency departments, include post-secondary programs focused on emergency care for nursing students and professional development opportunities and a nursing innovation fund for practicing Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses.

“Tested and tried best practices are being implemented in rapid timelines to attract more nurses to Emergency Departments across Nova Scotia, while also enhancing work environments for ED nurses already in our system,” says Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy, vice president of research, innovation and discovery and Chief Nurse Executive, Nova Scotia Health.

Key programs that have been implemented and will be accelerated for nurses working in emergency departments across the province include:

  • A just-in-time program will provide nurses working in EDs with evening and weekend access to consult with experienced nurses online.
  • A range of professional development opportunities will be available to optimize scopes of practice for triage nurses working in emergency departments, including the RN prescribing course, leadership and management, clinical competencies and advancing clinical expertise.
  • The Nova Scotia Health Innovation Hub is providing $150,000 in innovation funding to enhance emergency care. Through a call for applications, nurses can apply for $5,000 to $15,000 grants to develop innovations that focus on workplace improvement and contribute to better work environments.

For new ED nurses, Nova Scotia Health has implemented and will be accelerating several programs:

  • The Nova Scotia Health Learning Institute for Health Care Providers offers an emergency nursing program for new nurses and other nurses working within the province to participate in a specialty training program in emergency nursing that provides an employment offer at the end of the program. Five cohorts are currently in place with capacity to support 120 nurses each year, with a goal to increase the number of nurses participating in this program to 200 per year. This education will take place in Halifax, New Glasgow, Sydney and Yarmouth
  • IWK Health is partnering with colleagues from the Learning Institute to create a pediatric-focused emergency nursing program.
  • Clinical nurse educators will help nurses settle into their practice setting – one for new nurse graduates, one for internationally educated nurses, and one for nurses with practice experience.
  • Nova Scotia Health is implementing a peer support program this month for all nurses working in ED settings that will include mentorship, clinical leadership, wellness and professional development support.

"We will continue to work with our nurses in all parts of our healthcare system including in our Emergency Department settings. We are very grateful for their incredible contributions every day and their work throughout the pandemic has been invaluable. This is one way of saying ‘thank you’ and to ensure we bring meaningful supports and resources to improve work experience and working environments for our nurses working in ED and in all care areas across the province.”

-- Karen Oldfield, interim CEO and president, Nova Scotia Health

“These measures will help ensure that our emergency department nurses are set up for success to practice at the top of their scope, providing appropriate care for patients”

-- Dr. Annette Elliott Rose, vice president clinical care strategy and Chief Nurse Executive, IWK Health

About Nova Scotia Health

Nova Scotia Health provides comprehensive health services to Nova Scotians, including some specialized services for the Atlantic provinces. We operate hospitals, health centres and community-based programs across the province. Our team of health professionals includes employees, doctors, researchers, learners, and volunteers who provide quality health care and services for patients. We work in partnership with patients and families, community groups, schools, government, foundations and auxiliaries, and community health boards. Whether we are hosting wellness programs in the community, conducting innovative research in labs, or helping a patient recover in hospital, we are creating a healthier Nova Scotia.

About Nova Scotia Health Innovation Hub

The Nova Scotia Health Innovation Hub, the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada, is our centre of excellence for health research, innovation, and discovery. Through a business development lens, the Innovation Hub team is leading the transformation of health care in our province through strategic partnerships, leading-edge research, and the best available evidence to deliver high-impact, innovative solutions for patients and providers.

About IWK Health: IWK Health is the Maritime region's leading health care and research centre dedicated to the well-being of women, children, youth and families. In addition to providing highly specialized and complex care, the IWK provides certain primary care services and is a strong advocate for the health of families. The IWK is a global leader in research and knowledge sharing, and a partner in educating the next generation of health professionals. Visit for more information. 


For media inquiries:

Communications & Public Relations
Nova Scotia Health
Toll free: 1-844-483-3344

Nick Cox
IWK Health