Nurse education

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Nurse education consists of the theoretical and practical training provided to nurses with the purpose to prepare them for their duties as nursing care professionals. This education is provided to nursing students by experienced nurses and other medical professionals who have qualified or experienced for educational tasks. Most countries offer nurse education courses that can be relevant to general nursing or to specialized areas including mental health nursing, pediatric nursing and post-operatory nursing. Courses leading to autonomous registration as a nurse typically last four years. Nurse education also provides post-qualification courses in specialist subjects within nursing.

Nursing Health care profession

Nursing is a profession within the health care sector focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life. Nurses may be differentiated from other health care providers by their approach to patient care, training, and scope of practice. Nurses practice in many specialties with differing levels of prescription authority. Many nurses provide care within the ordering scope of physicians, and this traditional role has shaped the public image of nurses as care providers. However, nurse practitioners are permitted by most jurisdictions to practice independently in a variety of settings. Since the postwar period, nurse education has undergone a process of diversification towards advanced and specialized credentials, and many of the traditional regulations and provider roles are changing.

Mental health Describes a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder

Mental health is the level of psychological well-being or an absence of mental illness. It is the state of someone who is "functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioural adjustment". From the perspectives of positive psychology or of holism, mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life, and to create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health includes "subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, inter-generational dependence, and self-actualization of one's intellectual and emotional potential, among others." The WHO further states that the well-being of an individual is encompassed in the realization of their abilities, coping with normal stresses of life, productive work and contribution to their community. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how one defines "mental health".


Historical background

During past decades, the changes in education have replaced the more practically focused, but often ritualistic, training structure of conventional preparation. Nurse education integrates today a broader awareness of other disciplines allied to medicine, often involving inter-professional education, and the utilization of research when making clinical and managerial decisions. Orthodox training can be argued to have offered a more intense practical skills base, but emphasized the handmaiden relationship with the physician. This is now outmoded, and the impact of nurse education is to develop a confident, inquiring graduate who contributes to the care team as an equal. In some countries, not all qualification courses have graduate status.

Traditionally, from the times prior to Florence Nightingale, nursing was seen as an apprenticeship, often undertaken in religious institutes such as convents by young women, although there has always been a proportion of male nurses, especially in mental health services. In 1860 Nightingale set up the first nurse training school at St Thomas' Hospital, London. Nightingale's curriculum was largely base around nursing practice, with instruction focused upon the need for hygiene and task competence. Her methods are reflected in her Notes on Nursing , (1898).

Florence Nightingale English social reformer, statistician, and founder of modern nursing

Florence Nightingale, was an English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing.

Apprenticeship System of employment

An apprenticeship is a system of training a new generation of practitioners of a trade or profession with on-the-job training and often some accompanying study. Apprenticeships can also enable practitioners to gain a license to practice in a regulated profession. Most of their training is done while working for an employer who helps the apprentices learn their trade or profession, in exchange for their continued labor for an agreed period after they have achieved measurable competencies. Apprenticeship lengths vary significantly across sectors, professions, roles and cultures. People who successfully complete an apprenticeship in some cases can reach the "journeyman" or professional certification level of competence. In others can be offered a permanent job at the company that provided the placement. Although the formal boundaries and terminology of the apprentice/journeyman/master system often do not extend outside guilds and trade unions, the concept of on-the-job training leading to competence over a period of years is found in any field of skilled labor.

A religious institute is a type of institute of consecrated life in the Catholic Church where its members take religious vows and lead a life in community with fellow members. Religious institutes are one of the two types of institutes of consecrated life; the other is that of the secular institute, where its members are "living in the world".

Some other nurses at that time, notably Ethel Gordon Fenwick, were in favor of formalized nursing registration and curricula that were formally based in higher education and not within the confines of hospitals.

Ethel Gordon Fenwick British nurse

Ethel Gordon Fenwick was a British nurse who played a major role in the History of Nursing in the United Kingdom. She campaigned to procure a nationally recognised certificate for nursing, to safeguard the title "Nurse", and lobbied Parliament to pass a law to control nursing and limit it to "registered" nurses only.

Higher education is tertiary education leading to award of an academic degree. Higher education, also called post-secondary education, third-level or tertiary education, is an optional final stage of formal learning that occurs after completion of secondary education. It represents levels 6, 7 and 8 of the 2011 version of the International Standard Classification of Education structure. Tertiary education at non-degree level is sometimes referred to as further education or continuing education as distinct from higher education.

Nurse education in the United States is conducted within university schools, although it is unclear who offered the first degree level program. So far as known Yale School of Nursing became the first autonomous school of nursing in the United States in 1923. [1]

Yale School of Nursing

Yale School of Nursing (YSN) is the nursing school of Yale University, located in West Haven, Connecticut. It is among the top 20 graduate schools in the country, according to the latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report (2017). In addition to the top 20 tier overall ranking, the school’s midwifery specialty had the second-highest score nationally as ranked by peer institutions. Yale School of Nursing’s psychiatric-mental health specialty ranked sixth, and its pediatric nurse practitioner specialty came in at fifth in a three-way tie. Yale’s School of Nursing remains among the most selective in the nation, with only 29% of applicants accepted.

In November 1955, a World Health Organization (WHO) study group on the education of nurses met in Brussels and made several recommendations, including that "At least one experimental school of nursing be set up in each country." [2] In the UK, the first department of Nursing Studies at the University of Edinburgh was established in 1956, with a five-year integrated degree programme introduced in 1960. [3] Several other universities across the UK during the 1960s. In 1974 La Trobe University commenced the very first nursing course in Australia. [4]

World Health Organization Specialized agency of the United Nations

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. It was established on 7 April 1948, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO is a member of the United Nations Development Group. Its predecessor, the Health Organization, was an agency of the League of Nations.

University of Edinburgh public research university in Edinburgh, Scotland

The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1582, is the sixth oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's ancient universities. The university has five main campuses in the city of Edinburgh, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university. The university played an important role in leading Edinburgh to its reputation as a chief intellectual centre during the Age of Enlightenment, and helped give the city the nickname of the Athens of the North.

Nursing qualifications

There are multiple entry levels into nursing. This has led to confusion for the public, as well as other healthcare professionals. The earliest schools of nursing offered a Diploma in Nursing and not an actual academic degree. Community colleges began offering an Associate of Science in Nursing degree, and some diploma programs switched to this model. Universities then began to offer Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Nursing degrees, followed by Master of Science in Nursing degrees, and Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees. A Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Nursing (PhD) is also available, although this degree tends to focuses more on research than hands-on patient care.

A Diploma in Nursing or Nursing Diploma is an entry-level tertiary education nursing credential.

An Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) is a tertiary education nursing degree which typically take 2–3 years to complete. In the United States, this type of degree is usually awarded by community colleges or similar nursing schools. Some four year colleges also offer this degree. Students awarded an Associate of Science in Nursing are qualified to sit for the NCLEX-RN and apply for licensure as a Registered Nurse.

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing also known in some countries as a Bachelor of Nursing (BN) or Bachelor of Science (BS) with a Major in Nursing is an academic degree in the science and principles of nursing, granted by an accredited tertiary education provider. The course of study is typically three or four years. The difference in degree designation may relate to the amount of basic science courses required as part of the degree, with BScN and BSN degree curriculums requiring completion of more courses on math and natural sciences that are more typical of BSc degrees and BN curriculums more focused on nursing theory, nursing process, and teaching versions of general science topics that are adapted to be more specific and relevant to nursing practice. Nursing school students are generally required to take courses in social and behavioral sciences and liberal arts, including nutrition, anatomy, chemistry, mathematics, and English. In addition to those courses, experience in physical and social sciences, communication, leadership, and critical thinking is required for a bachelor's degree. BSN programs typically last 3–4 years. With a BSN you can work in private medical and surgical hospital, a physician's office, public medical and surgical hospitals, home health care services, and nursing facilities. Having a BSN can result in more opportunities and better salary than just an associate degree.

Nursing degrees in the UK

Pre-registration nurse training and education in the UK is now via a bachelor's degree (a UK Level 6 qualification) [5] following the phasing-out of the Diploma of Higher Education (a UK Level 5 qualification) [5] in Nursing which was previously offered at universities and colleges.

To become a student nurse, individuals must apply through the University and Colleges Admissions Service (commonly referred to as "UCAS") to their nursing degree choices, choosing from one of the four nursing fields: Adult, Children, Mental Health and Learning Disabilities. Requirements for entry to a pre-reg nursing degree are usually five GCSEs (including mathematics, English language and at least one science subject) at Grade C or above, along with three A-Level subjects (preferably but not essentially science-based) at Grade C or above, although the majority of universities will seek higher grades due to the competition for places. Key Skills courses are generally no-longer accepted as an alternative to GCSEs, however science or healthcare-based BTEC Level 3 Extended Diplomas and Access courses are most oftem accepted in lieu of A-Level qualifications.

If successful following interview, the student will study a "core" first year, learning basic nursing competencies essential to all four of the above fields. It is then from second year and onwards that the degree will begin to focus on the student's chosen field. Following completion of the degree, the applicant will be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as a Registered Nurse in their field of practice, using the post-nominal RNA, RNC, RNMH or RNLD as appropriate to their degree qualification.

Nursing degrees in Western Australia

There are two specific pathways individuals can take if they wish to become a nurse in Western Australia (WA). They can decide to study at university to become a registered nurse (RN), alternatively they can study at Technical and Further Education (TAFE) to become an enrolled nurse (EN). Both pathways require a variety of entry requirements whether it be passing year 12 Maths, English and Human Biology along with receiving a specific Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) also known as a score for university or providing prior learning experiences and legal clearances for TAFE. Either way individuals need to be aware these requirements can vary year to year and that is why they are recommended to contact each university or institute to find out entry requirements.

In WA there are four universities where individuals can choose to attend if they are wanting to complete a nursing degree.

Edith Cowan University (ECU) is located at Joondalup and South West (Bunbury) campus. ECU offers the Bachelor of Science (Nursing) degree which individuals can choose to study for three years full time or six years part time both on campus. [6]

Curtain University is located in Bently, WA. This university offers an Undergraduate Nursing degree additionally referred to as Bachelor of Science (Nursing). This degree runs on campus for three and a half years full time however, students can request to study this degree part time. [7]

Murdoch University also offers offer a Bachelor of Nursing degree with a three year completion date. The university offers this degree at Peel or South Street campus in Murdoch, WA. [8]

The final university that offers a nursing degree in WA is located throughout Fremantle and is known as the University of Notre Dame. This university offer a Bachelor of Nursing degree which will take three years to achieve. [9]

When students graduate from one of the four universities listed above they will be fully qualified as an RN and have a wide variety of job opportunities available. However, if individuals discover that university is not for them or can not gain entry into university, it is not the end of the world because there are alternative pathways available.

Attending TAFE is an alternative career pathway for individuals that still wish to pursue this profession. There are six institutes spread across WA which offer a Diploma of Nursing (Enrolled-Division 2 Nursing). These institutes include C.Y.O’Connor Institute, [10] Great Southern Institute of Technology, [11] Goldfields Institute of Technology, [12] Pilbara Institute, [13] South West Institute of Technology [14] and West Coast Institute of Training. [15] All institutes in WA roughly take eighteen months to complete the diploma when studying full time. Once a student successfully graduates from the Diploma of Nursing (Enrolled-Division 2 Nursing) they will be qualified as an EN.

Overall, there are alternative pathways available however an RN holds higher qualifications than an EN. There are key similarities of an RN and an EN as they both desire to fulfil their dreams of becoming a nurse and they must be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, [16] by complying with the Board’s registration standards.


Nursing education includes instruction in topic areas. These are nursing assessment, nursing diagnosis, and nursing care planning. In the United States, nursing students learn through traditional classroom and lab instruction. Nursing education also involves clinical rotations and simulation, throughout their schooling, to develop care planning and clinical reasoning. At the end of schooling, nursing students in the US and Canada, must take and pass the NCLEX, National Council of Licensure Examination to practice.

Nursing specialties

There are a variety of areas where nurses can specialise in and they may decide they want to be qualified in one or several specialities over the course of their career. Here are an array of some of the nursing specialty fields available: [17]

Present aims

Among nurse educators, arguments continue about the ideal balance of practical preparation and the need to educate the future practitioner to manage healthcare and to have a broader view of the practice. To meet both requirements, nurse education aims to develop a lifelong learner who can adapt effectively to changes in both the theory and practice of nursing.

While it is clear that the use of Medical simulation in nursing education is important for improving practice, patient safety, and interprofessional team skills, the balance of simulation to clinical time remains in the hands of the institutions. [18]

This is an image of Florence Nightingale in 1870 Florence Nightingale .png
This is an image of Florence Nightingale in 1870

See also

Reference list

  1. "About YSN". Yale School of Nursing. 2015.
  2. "Medical News. Education of nurses". British Medical Journal. 1: 122. 14 January 1956. doi:10.1136/bmj.1.4958.121.
  3. Hookson. "History makers: nursing ambition | Edit". Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  4. "Nursing". La Trobe University. 2016.
  5. 1 2 "Compare different qualifications". GOV.UK. 2015.
  6. "Bachelor of science (nursing)". Edith Cowan University.
  7. "Undergraduate nursing". Curtin University.
  8. "Nursing bachelor of Nursing (BNurs)". Murdoch University. 2016.
  9. "Nursing". The University of Notre Dame. 2016.
  10. "Diploma of nursing (enrolled-division 2 nursing)". Government of Western Australia Central Regional TAFE. 2016.
  11. "Nursing (enrolled/division 2) (diploma)". Government of Western Australia South Regional TAFE. 2016.
  12. "Diploma of nursing (enrolled/division 2 nursing)". Government of Western Australia Central Regional TAFE. 2016.
  13. "Diploma of nursing (enrolled-division 2 nursing)". Government of Western Australia North Regional TAFE. 2016.
  14. "Diploma of nursing (enrolled-division 2 nursing)". Government of Western Australia South Regional TAFE.
  15. "Diploma of nursing (enrolled-division 2 nursing)". Government of Western Australia North Metropolitan TAFE. 2016.
  16. "Regulation & Endorsement". Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. 2016.
  17. "Specialising – information for nurses and midwives". Government of Western Australia Department of Health.
  18. Alexander M, Durham CF, Hooper JI, Jeffries PR, Goldman N, Kardong-Edgren S, Kesten KS, Spector N, Tagliareni E, Radtke B, Tillman C (2015). "NCSBN Simulation Guidelines for Prelicensure Nursing Programs". Journal of Nursing Regulation. 6 (3): 39–42. doi:10.1016/s2155-8256(15)30783-3 . Retrieved 2015-12-27.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)

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