What is it about?

The World Health Organisation, 2000. Nurse and Midwives for Health: A WHO European Strategy for Nursing and Midwifery Education. WHO Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen] European Strategy for Nursing and Midwifery Education calls for the explicit inclusion and application of health promotion in all nursing curricula. This article evaluates that position.

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Why is it important?

Overall, the literature, both included in this review and its supporting discussion, presents a picture suggesting that the call for effective inclusion of health promotion has in many cases gone unheeded. The literature also identifies that the educational delivery of broader elements of health promotion is muted in comparison to the ‘traditional’ constructs of health education. Considerations for wider reform, born out of the literature, are presented.


The findings of many of the studies investigated in this review indicate that the health promotion delivery witnessed in many nursing curricula is actually that of health education delivery and prac- tice. A long-continuing tradition of many nursing curricula, notably at the under-graduate level, is that they remain predominantly grounded within behavioural, disease-focused, life-style-orientated determinants of health, often failing to represent and incorporate the broader societal, economic, ecological and political dimension of health promo- tion. This perhaps stands as a testament to many nursing curricula remaining out-of-step with wider health promotion agendas and the wider health promotion community. This may appear discon- certing to some, given the length of time that nurs- ing curricula have had to contextualise and engage in effective health promotion activity, both at the theoretical and practical level. Nursing education then, it is argued here, has some way to go if it is to effectively and universally implement health promotion reform at the educational level and, subsequently, produce practitioners that are capable and credible in the eyes of the wider health promotion community and who are able to effectively engage in and navigate a range of broad health promotion arenas.

Dr Dean Whitehead
Flinders University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Reviewing health promotion in nursing education, Nurse Education Today, April 2007, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.nedt.2006.05.003.
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