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Critical Care Nursing Specialty (Combined Critical Care/Emergency Option)

Advanced Certificate Part-time/Distance & Online Learning School of Health Sciences


Critical care courses and clinical experiences prepare you to care for patients who are seriously ill, with health challenges such as acute coronary syndrome, cardiac failure, advanced hemodynamic monitoring, and acute respiratory failure. Emergency courses provide skills to assess and support the different illnesses and injuries found in an emergency care setting.

Program delivery mode: blended

  • This program will be delivered for the coming semester as a combination of online and on-campus learning. While some of your coursework will take place online, there will also be in-person sessions.
  • Faculty will notify students of when their attendance on campus will be required.
  • We have put measures in place for your safety and well-being, ensuring that all safety protocols are addressed. Please see the BCIT COVID-19 page for details on the mandatory procedures that have been implemented.

Your education is our priority and we will continue to deliver the applied instruction, collaborative experience, and industry connections that you expect from BCIT.

About the program

A highly unique program, the BCIT Combined Critical Care and Emergency advanced certificate is specifically designed for registered nurses (RNs) working in a community hospital in the intensive care unit with some shifts in the emergency department.

  • Part-time, advanced certificate program that takes an average of 2.5 years to complete
  • Distance and online learning gives you flexibility to learn while meeting your work and life needs
  • Three clinical experiences in an ICU/CCU and ER setting

Who it’s for

This program is for individuals who:

  • Are RNs or are completing their specialty BSN in combined critical care and emergency nursing
  • Are undergraduate nursing students currently completing an accredited BSN program
  • Have six or more months of work experience in an acute care setting
  • Are able to make effective decisions while managing fast changing patient situations
  • Are able to communicate well with their team, patients, and patients’ families

Interested in enrolling in our program? See Program Entry to learn more about entry requirements and how to apply.

Are you looking for more emergency expertise with a foundation in critical care nursing? See BCIT’s Combined Emergency and Critical Care specialty option.

Your work experience matters

At BCIT, we value your work experience. If you’ve been working as a critical care or emergency nurse, take advantage of our Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR) process and fast track your advanced certification education.

What grads can do

We prepare you to work in two dynamic nursing environments. Visit Graduating and Jobs to learn more.

Entrance Requirements

Costs & Supplies

Face respirator fit testing – approx $25 per year; annual re-fitting required.


Program Details

The combined Critical Care and Emergency nursing certificate is designed for nurses who work in a community hospital and spend the majority of their time working in the intensive care unit with some responsibilities in the emergency department.  The program melds a curriculum that focuses on providing the knowledge, skills and judgement to assess and care for patients experiencing an imbalance in oxygen supply and demand for acute coronary syndrome, cardiac failure, hemodynamic instability, respiratory insufficiency to acute respiratory failure. The emergency courses focus on assessment frameworks, pathophysiology to enable nurses to serve clients with a diverse range of illness and injury from a wide age spectrum.

The program is composed of five theory and three clinical courses. The courses focus on pathophysiology and comprehensive assessment of patients’ with a diverse range of illness and injury. The critical care nursing courses focuses on common health issues in community Intensive Care units (i.e., ACS, heart failure, hemodynamic instability, respiratory insufficiency and acute respiratory failure). The courses also include; dysrhythmia monitoring, arterial and central line monitoring, arterial blood gas analysis and interventions such as antidysrhythmic and vasoactive medications, as well as mechanical ventilation. Alongside the complex aspects of physiologic care, nurses are challenged to humanize the illness experience for patients and families.

Learning within the program explores various aspects of critical care and emergency nursing practice including; understanding and supporting patients and families through their experience, evidence informed practice, ethical challenges and collaborative practice.

Clinical courses are typically offered as instructor led experiences in 3-5 week full time blocks. Applicants for clinical are required to provide proof of current nursing registration in a Canadian Province or Territory and current basic cardiac life support (BCLS) within the previous 2 years. In selected situations precepted clinical experience may be arranged.

Graduates of the program are prepared to begin practice in a community intensive and cardiac care with beginning responsibilities in a community emergency department.

Graduating & Jobs

Our grads are ready

Our combined program equips you to enhance your skill set in your current workplace or transition to working in community intensive and cardiac care units with some responsibilities in a community emergency department.

If you are interested in a tertiary combined certificate, contact us for more information.

Career opportunities

Registered nurses with this combined specialty work in hospital critical care and intensive care units with some shifts in the emergency department. Salaries start at approximately $32 per hour.

Canadian Nurses Association

CNA logo

Graduates of the BCIT program are eligible to write the Specialty Nursing exam for Critical Care Nursing through the CNA Certification Program. CNA views certification as a method of validating nurses’ competence in an area of specialization within the field of nursing.  BCIT Specialty Nursing graduates can receive a credit of up to 1,000 hours towards their initial certification examination.

Keep learning

Looking to get your BSN? Use your advanced certificate toward completing our Specialty Bachelors of Nursing program.

Beginning in 2018, BCIT Specialty Nursing Advanced Certificate Graduates can apply to receive transfer credits towards the online, two-year UVIC Master of Nursing program. Applicants can chose from the Advanced Practice Leadership of Nurse Educator option

Join the Canadian Association of Critical Care Nurses (CACCN). This non-profit organization works to maintain and enhance the quality of care provided to critically ill patients and their families.

Health Match BC

Health Match BC is a new service that helps recent specialty nursing graduates find work within BC.  Funded by the provincial government, Health Match BC prioritizes the hiring of BC nursing graduates. For more information, download the Health Match BC [PDF].

Faculty, Advisors & Staff

Lara Parker
Program Head

Jenna Coroliuc
Program Assistant

Toll-free: 800-663-6542 x 7103

Contact Us

Jenna Coroliuc
Program Assistant
Toll-free: 800-663-6542 x 7103

Questions or comments?


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