Primary health care as a philosophical and practical framework for nursing education: rhetoric or reality?
Mackey, S and Hatcher, D and Happell, B and Cleary, M, Primary health care as a philosophical and practical framework for nursing education: rhetoric or reality?, Contemporary nurse, 45, (1) pp. 79-84. ISSN 1037-6178 (2013) [Refereed Article]
At least three decades after primary health care (PHC) took nursing by storm it is time to re-examine the philosophical shift to a PHC framework in pre-registration nursing curricula and overview factors which may hinder or promote full integration of PHC as a course philosophy and a contemporary approach to professional practice. Whilst nurse education has traditionally focused on preparing graduates for practice in the acute care setting, there is continuing emphasis on preparing nurses for community based primary health roles, with a focus on illness prevention and health promotion. This is driven by growing evidence that health systems are not responding adequately to the needs and challenges of diverse populations, as well as economic imperatives to reduce the burden of disease associated with the growth of chronic and complex diseases and to reduce the costs associated with the provision of health care. Nursing pre-registration programs in Australia and internationally have philosophically adopted PHC as a curriculum model for preparing graduates with the necessary competencies to function effectively across a range of settings. Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests that when adopted as a program philosophy PHC is not always well integrated across the curriculum. In order to develop a strong and resilient contemporary nursing workforce prepared for practice in both acute and community settings, pre-registration nursing programs need to comprehensively consider and address the factors impacting on the curricula integration of PHC philosophy.