Embedding fundamental care in the pre-registration nursing curriculum: Results from a pilot study

Rebecca Feo, Frank Donnelly, Lauren Frensham, Tiffany Conroy, Alison Kitson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


International evidence suggests nursing is not providing fundamental care consistently or adequately, resulting in poor outcomes for patients and healthcare systems. One possible reason for this inadequate care delivery is nursing education, with fundamental care often implicit or invisible in nursing curricula. To understand how best to teach fundamental care to pre-registration (pre-licensure) students, we developed and piloted a six-week intervention that incorporated into the first-year curriculum a more explicit focus on fundamental care. A conceptual fundamental care framework was used to guide students’ learning, and clinical skills sessions were structured to reinforce the framework's conceptual understanding and enable students to practice delivering fundamental care in an integrated manner. The intervention's impact was explored via a pre-post survey and focus groups. The survey demonstrated that the intervention did not affect students’ ability to identify patients’ fundamental care needs; however, focus groups showed the intervention assisted students in understanding the complexity of fundamental care and its importance to patients’ experiences. The pilot provides preliminary evidence on the importance of embedding fundamental care into nursing curricula early and explicitly, and emphasising the integrated nature of such care, particularly through structured debriefs, consistent terminology, and opportunities for students to experience care as a patient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-28
Number of pages9
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • Basic nursing care
  • Fundamentals of care
  • Nursing education
  • Nursing education research


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