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critical care, ECCO, nursing, orientation



  1. Peterson, Kristine J. MS, RN, CCRN, CCNS
  2. Van Buren, Krystal BSN, RN, PCCN-CMC, CCRN


Critical care is a specialty area that requires a significant investment of time and money for clinical and classroom learning. One solution for learning that is flexible and cost-effective is the American Association of Critical Care Nurses' Essentials of Critical Care Orientation (ECCO). ECCO lays the theoretical groundwork for nurses to practice safely in critical care. Utilization of ECCO in one community hospital has been a 3-year process, which is continually refined by the critical care education team. Advantages to using ECCO include that it is self-paced, maintained by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, and allows learners to flex their time and location for learning. Obstacles encountered include difficulties associated with computer learning, lack of hard copy notes, lack of face-to-face time interaction between orientees and education staff, increased work load for one education staff member, and keeping learners on track with their time and orientation. This article describes one hospital's experience with implementation of ECCO as the classroom portion of orientation to several critical care units.