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Nurs Crit Care. 2009 Jan-Feb;14(1):11-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1478-5153.2008.00303.x.

Acute care teaching in the undergraduate nursing curriculum.

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The School of Nursing and Midwifery Research Unit, Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast, UK.



To incorporate basic aspects of acute care into the undergraduate nursing programme by providing an opportunity for the development of knowledge and skills in the early recognition and assessment of deteriorating patients on general hospital wards.


Acute care initiatives implemented in the hospital setting to improve the identification and management of 'at risk' patients have focused on the provision of education for trained or qualified staff. However, to ensure student nurses are 'fit to practice' at the point of registration, it has been recommended that acute care theory and skills are incorporated into the undergraduate nursing curriculum. PRACTICE DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE: An 'Integrated Nursing Care' module was incorporated into year 3 of the undergraduate nursing programme to introduce students to acute care theory and practice. Module content focuses on the early detection and management of acute deterioration in patients with respiratory, cardiac, neurological or renal insufficiencies. We used a competency-based framework to ensure the application of theory to practice through the use of group seminars. High-fidelity patient-simulated clinical scenarios were a key feature. The United Kingdom Resuscitation Council Intermediate Life Support course is also an important component of the module.


Incorporating the Integrated Nursing Care module into the undergraduate nursing curriculum provides pre-registration students the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills in acute care.


The provision of undergraduate education in care of the acutely ill patient in hospital is essential to improve nurses' competence and confidence in assessing and managing deteriorating patients in general wards at the point of registration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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