Science knowledge needed for nursing practice: a cross-sectional survey of Australian registered nurses

Birks, Melanie and Ralph, Nicholas and Cant, Robyn and Chun Tie, Ylona and Hillman, Elspeth (2017) Science knowledge needed for nursing practice: a cross-sectional survey of Australian registered nurses. Collegian. ISSN 1322-7696


Background: Nursing practice is underpinned by science knowledge. While the literature is consistent in identifying limitations in teaching science content to nurses, there is a lack of consensus regarding what should be taught and to what level of detail. No studies to date have systematically surveyed registered nurses (RNs) for their perspectives about the science knowledge that should underpin nursing practice.
Aim: To establish the relative importance RNs place on science content taught to nurses.
Method: Practicing RNs across Australia were invited to participate in a cross-sectional survey administered online. The survey asked participants to prioritize 179 science topics according to the relative importance of each item to nursing practice.
Findings: A total of 1583 RNs completed the survey. Participants indicated strong support for the inclusion
of foundational science knowledge in undergraduate pre-registration nursing programs. The majority of topics (88%) were rated as a ‘high priority’ (a rating of 4 or 5), particularly anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology. No topic received a rating of less than 3 (of a possible 5).
Discussion: RNs expressed different views about the prioritization of science content areas for nursing practice compared with the views of academics who teach science to nursing students. Identification of the science content areas that RNs regard as high priority for nursing practice can be used to guide improvements in nursing curriculum development.
Conclusion: The results of this study demonstrate that practising RNs place high value on various science topics and the teaching of biological sciences generally. This study suggests the need for greater inclusion of key stakeholders, including practicing RNs, when integrating bioscience within nursing curricula.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published online 26/06/17. Permanent restricted access to ArticleFirst version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Nursing and Midwifery
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2017 03:58
Last Modified: 09 May 2018 01:39
Uncontrolled Keywords: baccalaureate nursing education; bioscience; curriculum design; nursing curriculum content
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1110 Nursing > 111099 Nursing not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9303 Curriculum > 930302 Syllabus and Curriculum Development
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.colegn.2017.05.005

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