Designing and developing core physiology learning outcomes for pre-registration nursing education curriculum

Alison Wood, Colin Chandler, Siobhan Connolly, Gabrielle Finn, Catherine Redmond, Jim Jolly, Andrew Powell, Carmel Davies, Allison Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Physiology is a key element of ‘bioscience’ education within pre-registration nursing programmes, but there is a lack of clarity on what is included. Physiology and bioscience content and delivery is highly varied across both higher education institutions and the related programmes in the UK. Despite evidence highlighting concerns over nurses lack of bioscience knowledge and unsafe practice, there is no universally agreed curriculum with detailed outcomes of minimum levels of knowledge to support nurses in practice and patient care. This study aimed to inform the construction of discipline specific physiology learning outcomes to clarify relevant physiological topics required in pre-registration nursing. Initially, 360 learning outcomes were identified from various sources. Using a modified Delphi approach, an expert panel from the Bioscience in Nurse Education group reviewed and modified the list to 195 proposed outcomes. These were circulated to Universities in the UK who teach Nursing (n=65). Outcomes which had 80% consensus were automatically included to the next round with others recommended with modification (response rate 22%). The panel reviewed the modifications and 182 outcomes were circulated in the second questionnaire (response rate 23%) and further panel review resulting in 177 outcomes agreed. These learning outcomes do not suggest how they should be delivered but gives the basic level required for qualification as a nurse commensurate with the Nursing and Midwifery Council new standards for the 'future nurse'.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-474
Number of pages11
JournalAdvances in Physiology Education
Issue number3
Early online date14 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • nurse education
  • curriculum design
  • nursing
  • pre-registration
  • Delphi


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