A formula for diversity: A review of critical care curricula

Julie Scholes, Ruth Endacott, Annie Chellel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This paper is based on a documentary analysis and literature review of critical care nursing commissioned by the English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting. Five critical care programmes were included in the analysis: END 100, 124, 199, 176/183, and 415. In total, 105 curricula were reviewed from 30 institutions. Data were extracted and analysed using an adapted grounded theory approach. The documentary analysis was supplemented by two telephone surveys with lecturers (n = 84) and clinical managers (n = 81). There was great diversity in the programmes in terms of the academic level at which the courses were set, module configuration, approaches to practice assessment and the amount of student effort for the same professional award. Diversity arose because of different university module formulae, different methods to differentiate level 2 and level 3 practice, different views about the purpose of the course, and an attempt to make the programmes increasingly flexible to accommodate a heterogeneous student population. Documentary analysis has its limitations, and although the research team were able to check out issues with lecturers throughout the analysis, they were unable to capture the lived experience of the curriculum. A second study has been commissioned by the ENB to explore how these issues influence practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-390
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Academic levels
  • Competences
  • Critical care
  • Curriculum analysis
  • Levels of practice
  • Practice assessment

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