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Factors that affect curriculum development in nursing education

Factors that affect curriculum development in nursing education


Curriculum development is a process that involves production and implementation of a specific curriculum. This development starts from the initial idea to the monitoring and review of implementation process. It is also vital to understand that the curriculum development process is done through the faculty mission and value statements, as shown by Lammintakanen & Kivinen (2012). Moreover, continuous quality improvement informs the implementation, revision and evaluation processes of curriculum development. As curriculum development process is affected by various factors, the curriculum development in the nursing discipline is affected by specific factors mainly through heath regulatory bodies and the government.

One factor that affects the process of curriculum development is accreditation. Accreditation is normally done by the authorized government regulatory agencies. For instance, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) is responsible for carrying out accreditation of nursing curriculum in universities. As Stein- Parbury (2008) indicates, this accreditation is normally meant to ensure that the nursing educational programs offered by institutions lead to registration or licensing of the nurses, who meet the needed standards for practice. Therefore, accreditation normally shapes the kind of curriculum that is ultimately used in universities for training the nurses. The essence of curriculum development is to ensure quality of education in the given discipline. Accreditation ensures overall quality care for the patients by qualified and properly trained nurses. The curricula that do not fit the required standards put in place by the accrediting bodies are normally blacklisted and disapproved. Accreditation is normally used by the nursing faculties in universities to show stakeholders that the course offered is accountable and of high quality because it is only accredited after demonstrating fulfilment of all the necessary requirements in terms of human and capital resources.

Technology is another major factor that affects the curriculum development process in the nursing discipline. Computer technology normally affects the nursing curriculum development process at every stage of learning. For instance, the use technological multi-media in learning normally influence the goals of education as well as the experiences of the students. It also makes acquisition of technological skills to be part of the curriculum requirements. Today, the use of technological simulations, on-line education and electronic health records has made curriculum development to become digital in nature. The rise of tele-health and e-prescriptions has made the curriculum development process to be sensitive to the integration of technology, as noted by Mannix, Smith & Stewart (2008). Curriculum development process is now changing in order to capture the technological advancements present in the nursing education discipline. This change is necessary because of the need for developing a curriculum that boosts the creative and critical thinking of nursing students.

Another key factor that affects curriculum development is globalization. Today, the items included in a given curriculum are not just the local ones, but also the global trends. The curriculum development process is now changing in order to adapt to the pressure of globalization. It implies that the curriculum developed must be one that enables the nursing students to attain some necessary competencies in the contemporary health care practice such as cross-cultural competence, as indicated by Quinn & Hughes (2007). The curriculum development process is now influenced by global trends like chronic diseases and cross-cultures. The chronic diseases in this case include HIV/AIDs and cancer. The developers of nursing curriculum must consider coming up with courses which prepare the nurses for international duties. It must be noted that the health issues in a given country may significantly differ from the ones in another nation. In conclusion, accreditation, technology and globalization are some of the major factors that shape and affect the process of curriculum development in the nursing discipline.


Lammintakanen, J. & Kivinen, T. (2012). Continuing professional development in nursing:

does age matter? Journal of Workplace Learning. 24, (1), 34-47.

Mannix,J., Smith, A., & Stewart,L. (2008). Establishing and maintaining a professional profile:

issues in the first year of practice. In E. Chang & J. Daly. Transitions in Nursing.

(2nd ed.). Churchill Livingstone: Elsevier.

Quinn, F. & Hughes, S. (2007). Quinn’s Principles and Practice of Nurse Education. (5th ed.).

Nelson Thornes: Cheltenham. (Chapter 4, pp. 107-182).

Stein- Parbury, J. (2008). Communication for effective nursing. In E. Chang & J. Daly.

Transitions in Nursing (2nd ed.). Churchill Livingstone: Elsevier.