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What respiratory teaching is currently being delivered to pre-registration nurses in the United Kingdom?

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


Lindsay Welch

Carol Kelly

Kate Lippiett


The content of respiratory teaching and learning in pre-registration United Kingdom (UK) nursing programmes is unknown. This descriptive study examines taught respiratory skills/knowledge in UK universities.

75 Universities offering pre-registration nursing in the UK were identified. Freedom of information requests were emailed asking for details on time spent teaching specific respiratory topics and skills.

Data was entered from 74/75 UK Universities [58-England, 11-Scotland, 4-Wales, 2-Northern Ireland]. Within the curriculum universities spent >4 hours on respiratory anatomy and physiology (61%), respiratory pathophysiology (74%) and long- term respiratory conditions (59.5%). Less than half (43%) spent >4 hours on respiratory health and prevention of respiratory disease. Just under a third spent >4 hours on respiratory pharmacology (32%), local and national guidelines (32%) and information on pulmonary rehabilitation and other interventions (34%). Most universities reported that skills labs were used to teach respiratory skills: respiratory rate (91.9%), pulse oximetry (92%), oxygen administration (91%), and peak flow (78%). Fewer universities included blood gas analysis (37%), chest examination (62%), chest drains (30%), NIV (27%) or spirometry (24%). Competence in these respiratory skills was not always assessed. Most respiratory learning could take place during practice placements but this is variable depending on placement.

Updating the nursing curriculum is underway in the UK to embed new NMC standards. Key respiratory skills need to be embedded to ensure nurses are adequately trained to care for respiratory patients on qualification.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Abstract
Conference Name 2020 ERS International Congress
Acceptance Date Apr 6, 2020
Online Publication Date Oct 28, 2020
Publication Date Sep 7, 2020
Deposit Date Jul 26, 2023
Print ISSN 0903-1936
Electronic ISSN 1399-3003
Publisher European Respiratory Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 56
Issue suppl 64
Article Number 587