Exploring Australian undergraduate pre-registration nursing curricula: Where do science subjects fit?

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Despite several attempts to define what foundational science is required by and for the nursing profession, uncertainty has long existed in this area. Several attempts have been undertaken to elicit the appropriate level and depth of foundational science with the only clear result being that science has been recognised as key to good practice. The aim of this research was to review the amount of science content in pre-registration curricula and explore how science was incorporated into educational programs. Two sets of data were obtained: approved curriculum documents supplied by universities, and public university website course subject information. Headsof Schools at Australian universities teaching pre-registration Nursing were invited to provide approved curriculum documents in 2007 and again in 2014. The 2007 documents demonstrated diverse approaches with no convergence towards one theory, philosophy or teaching strategy. In 2014, a clear move to flexible, online, case-based or inquiry learning and simulations strategies was observed. The volume of science was calculated by determining the proportion of science content based on credit point allocations to subjects for all publicly available course descriptions in 2006 and 2012. This calculation was also undertaken for the nine matched 2007 and 2014 volunteered curriculum documents. Results indicate a decrease in overt science content between 2006 and 2012. However, there is evidence of an increase in science content integration into nursing subjects in the 2012 and 2014 documentation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-84
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Learning Design
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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