Influencing Baccalaureate Nursing Students' Perceptions of Community Care with Targeted Curriculum Redesign Strategies


This project studies whether a redesigned baccalaureate nursing curriculum in a University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands can stimulate positive interest for the field of community care. In many Western countries, healthcare is changing from institutional care delivery to caring for patients in their own homes. Problematic is that most nursing students orientate on a career in the hospital and they do not see community care as an attractive option, due to a limited and often mistaken view of the field. Their career choices lead to increasing shortages in the labour market, which in many Western countries is a societal problem urgently needing attention. Providing students with a curriculum with more elements of community nursing could help them build a more positive perception of the field, leading to more students choosing this area as a career.<br/><br/>The curriculum-redesign was based on quantitative and qualitative research about first-year students’ perceptions, placement preferences and underlying assumptions on the field. First, a cross-sectional multicentre survey study (n = 1058) was conducted using the SCOPE (Scale on COmmunity care PErceptions) questionnaire. The findings confirm the hospital’s popularity, with community care being perceived as a ‘low-status-field’ with many elderly patients and few challenges. Students’ perceptions of community care appear to be at odds with things they consider important for their placement (i.e., opportunities for advancement and enjoyable relationships with patients).<br/><br/>To better understand the factors underlying the perceptions, a focus group study with first-year students at the start of their programme (n = 16) was performed.<br/><br/>This led to formulation of eight redesign themes, namely:<br/>(1) variety and diversity,<br/>(2) challenges,<br/>(3) improving people's health,<br/>(4) collaboration,<br/>(5) role models,<br/>(6) patient- or environment-based perceptions,<br/>(7) self-efficacy, and<br/>(8) immediate vicinity.<br/><br/>First-year students have clear ideas about what they see as important in a placement, but their perceptions do not always appear to be realistic.<br/><br/>To remedy these misperceptions, recommendations for curriculum redesign strategies were formulated. Curriculum designers can more prominently highlight the complexity of community nursing in the theory part of the curriculum. As many students strive for challenges, in-depth knowledge about community nursing can be presented about aspects that students lacking experience in the field are not aware of (e.g., working in an interprofessional network). In the courses, patient cases can be presented that do not fit the stereotypical views of community care commonly held. Also, as role models are influential, it is important that students collaborate with mentors in the field with an appropriate level of education, who can act as a source of inspiration, but who also create a structured and supporting learning environment. Finally, it is useful to organise meetings where political developments and labour market issues in healthcare are discussed. This can potentially increase awareness of these topics and contribute to well-informed career decisions. These strategies can potentially foster a more optimistic and realistic career outlook on the community care field.

Reference Van Iersel, M., Latour, C., De Vos, R., Kirschner, P., & Scholte Op Reimer, W. (2019). Influencing Baccalaureate Nursing Students' Perceptions of Community Care with Targeted Curriculum Redesign Strategies. 2335-2339. Abstract from Exploring new frontiers in education, Valencia, Spain.
Published by  Urban Vitality 1 January 2019

Publication date

Jan 2019


M. Van Iersel
R. De Vos
P. Kirschner
W. Scholte Op Reimer


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