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Informing future nursing: An exploration of respiratory teaching in the pre-registration nurse curriculum

Roberts, Nicola; Welch, Lindsay; Kelly, Carol; Lippiett, Kate


Lindsay Welch

Carol Kelly

Kate Lippiett


The aim is to examine and map the respiratory skills taught in the pre-registration nursing curriculum (2010).

Respiratory assessment and care are fundamental clinical skills enabling nurses to treat and care for people with acute and chronic respiratory diseases. The incidence of respiratory disease is rising, globally and most nurses will care for respiratory patients during their career.

The extent of pre-registration respiratory specific education delivered in UK NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) approved education institutions (AEIs) is currently unknown. The move to the 2018 revised NMC standards for pre-registration nursing offers AEIs the opportunity to review provision of respiratory education. This study describes respiratory education delivered to pre-registration nurses in UK AEIs prior to implementation of the new NMC standards. Curriculum re-design can be adapted for the global nursing community.

This is a freedom of information survey; to gather, examine and map curriculum content.

A survey of UK AEIs was conducted to initially scope provision of respiratory education for pre-registration nursing programmes. AEIs were emailed a freedom of information (FOI) request and provided information about the curriculum between April-June 2019.

Seventy-five UK AEIs providing pre-registration nursing programmes responded. Over half of AEIs dedicated over 4 h of teaching respiratory anatomy and physiology (60.8%), respiratory pathophysiology (75.3%) and long- term respiratory conditions (60.3%). Less than half (44.4%) spent over 4 h teaching respiratory health and prevention of respiratory disease. Just over a third spent over 4 h on respiratory pharmacology (33.8%), local and national respiratory guidelines (33.3%) and information on pulmonary rehabilitation and other interventions for the management of respiratory conditions (35.2%). In most AEIs, skills laboratories were used to teach respiratory skills. Student competence was not always assessed. Respiratory learning was reported to take place during practice placements, but this was variable.

Variation exists in provision of respiratory education in pre-registration nursing programmes across the UK. Whilst some respiratory topics appear to be covered adequately, others have limited time on knowledge and skills teaching. New standards and curricula offer AEIs the opportunity to enhance this provision. Adaptations can be made and the curriculum transferred to the global nursing workforce.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 8, 2021
Online Publication Date Nov 15, 2021
Publication Date 2021-11
Deposit Date Aug 30, 2022
Journal Nurse Education in Practice
Print ISSN 1471-5953
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 57
Article Number 103254
Keywords Respiratory education, Nursing education, Curriculum development, Education review, Respiratory care
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