The development of nurse practitioners via flexible learning: Toward an innovative Master's degree curriculum in Thailand

B. Siritarungsri, Ahmud Jeeawody, J. Grootjans, T. Boontong, W. Srisuphan

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Abstract

The changing health system in Thailand has provided Thai people with more equitable opportunities in accessing health care services. As a result of medical practitioner shortages and a strong desire for nurses to expand their scope of practice, the Thailand Nursing and Midwifery Council (TNC) plans to increase the number of nurse practitioners at master degree level to staff primary care units (PCUs) and Health Centres around the country. Nursing master degree curricula in Thailand are currently offered using the traditional on-campus face-to-face mode of delivery and have low numbers of student enrolments. Furthermore, research indicates that many graduate nurses in Thailand are seeking entry to master degree curricula, but accessibility, convenience and availability of curricula locally are limiting enrolments. Nursing education globally is a dynamic and iterative process. Educational curricula are based on the principles of adult learning, continuing professional education and life-long learning, which advocate flexible and learner-oriented education. Flexible learning, which has the ability to closely match the professional and academic needs of the learner, has the potential to lead nursing education toward meeting the TNC policy and health system reform in Thailand. It is essential that nursing education in Thailand be revolutionised, embracing flexible delivery modes by traditional higher education providers. This paper presents a new model of health care service delivery and the mechanism used to integrate the principles of flexible learning into a new master degree curriculum for nurse practitioners (NPs) in Thailand.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-25
Number of pages9
JournalContemporary Nurse
Volume22
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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