The Future Of Undergraduate Nursing Education In Canada: Reflection I

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The 2013 intake of undergraduate nursing students at the University of Adelaide School of Nursing commenced their studies at the end of February 2013. As Head, my role is to welcome them to the School, the University, and, most importantly, to commend them for choosing to become nurses. The lecture theatre was overflowing. Young and not so young faces looking at me. I began by congratulating them for their good judgment in selecting one of the most rewarding, challenging and important professional roles to which they could commit their talents. Our job, as educators and researchers, was to equip them, firstly, with the powers of critical thinking, followed by a deep and working knowledge of the nature of compassion and how it is demonstrated in a professional role. Next is the understanding of the role of personal courage in tackling the many challenges facing them as students and novice professionals. My commitment to our students was that in our role as mentors, guides and companions in their learning, we would build upon these three foundations – critical thinking, the nature and exercise of compassion and the development of personal resilience and courage to create in our students that ultimate goal, the ability to care.

This induction to nursing is played out in multiple contexts all around the world. We have chosen to make explicit the importance of combining the intellectual with the emotional and moral development of our nursing students. This is a theme that runs through all the discussion points in the proceedings of the Think Tank on the Future of Undergraduate Nursing Education in Canada. It reminds us that we have not yet got the balance or the perspective right in our undergraduate nursing programs. This is not surprising: we are one of the youngest and largest professional groups in the world, and our own systematic understanding of the complexity and diversity of care is only just developing. Equally, the amount of research devoted to understanding what works in terms of undergraduate interventions is also very limited. A recent umbrella review undertaken for the Department of Health and Ageing in Australia (Kitson et al. 2013c) showed that there was a paucity of good studies helping us to know which sorts of programs produce the best sorts of students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-11
Number of pages4
JournalNursing Leadership
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Nursing education
  • Undergraduate nursing programs
  • Nursing curricula
  • Training
  • Healthcare


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