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Nurse education promotes compassion and co-operation

Posted on 23 September 2011

The University of York is marking the launch of its new undergraduate nursing programme with a conference exploring the development of compassionate and competent nurses, which will feature a range of international experts.

The conference, Compassion, Co-operation and Competence in Care - Nurse Education at the University of York, hosted by the Department of Health Sciences, will examine how co-operative approaches to education can promote the development of caring, competent nurses.

The event provides an opportunity for all partners, including health care practitioners, managers and mentors from the NHS, independent and voluntary sector, as well as service users and carers, to contribute to the development of undergraduate nursing programmes which meet current and future client/workforce needs.

York’s new BSc (Hons) Nursing programme, which begins in October, was one of the first in the UK to be approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Developed with health service providers and users, it provides an effective and innovative approach to student nurse teaching and learning, with teaching focusing on instilling qualities of compassion and care among student nurses.

Teachers on the new programme will use a situated learning approach - learning that takes place in the same context to which it is applied. Using this approach, students become immersed in both theory and practice of nursing and the experiences of those they are caring for from the very beginning of the programme

The key speaker at the conference on 28 September is internationally-renowned author and consultant, Etienne Wenger, whose work focuses on social learning systems. His book Communities of Practice has influenced the situated learning approach to the new curriculum and in particular the development of Co-operative Learning Groups.

Ros Brownlow, from the University’s Department of Health Sciences, said: “Based on the work of Etienne Wenger, Co-operative Learning Groups emphasise the social elements of learning and are designed to promote integration of students into the nursing community, helping them build knowledge for clinical practice and develop their professional nursing identity.

“In his key note lecture, Etienne will be discussing how learning can be understood from the perspective of communities of practice - a group of people who share an interest, in this case nursing. Adopting this approach in education allows us to consider learning beyond the acquisition of a body of knowledge to exploring the transformation of the self.”

Professor Andree le May, who has written extensively on communities of practice within nursing, will deliver a seminar on promoting compassion and care in undergraduate nursing curricula.

Ros Brownlow said: “In this session Professor le May will consider how these vital elements of nursing can be taught through curricula that capture and capitalise on innovations such as communities of practice and what the advantages of adopting such approaches might be.”

The conference will also feature workshops which reflect the community approach to education by involving service users and practitioners in debates, including ‘No decision without me’ – a person centred approach to care, and ‘Facilitating communities of learning in practice – the future nurse’, which will examine the responsibility of programme providers to develop caring, compassionate and competent nurses of the future.

Notes to editors:

Contact details

Caron Lett
Press Officer

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