The challenge of the Biosciences in nurse education: A literature review

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Aims and objectives
To review relevant literature that address the challenges of the biosciences in nurse education. More precisely the review aims to explore the literature,concerning students’ learning, learning contexts and methodological issues and identify any significant gaps.

Knowledge of anatomy, physiology and biochemistry are essential for the understanding of human beings and for full appreciation of the concepts of illness and disease.The current status would seem to be that the required competencies within bioscience subjects are difficult to acquire and students have high rates of failure.


Integrative review.Methods. The research were performed on Cinahl, ERIC, Medline and British Nursing Index databases in a period from 2013 until 2017. Descriptive analytical methods were used for the initial research trawl.Findings. The search strategy resulted in 23 papers. The results of this review shed light on certain deficiencies in the research field looking at the biosciences in nurse education. There is a distinct lack of intervention studies, and thereby knowledge of how best to support students’ learning in effective ways. Of note is that there are no field study approaches identified in the review sample.

Many of the papers are single studies and course evaluations which may be seen as too narrow and inadequate a perspective. Students appear satisfied with the courses in the biosciences but there seems to be no correlation between satisfaction and achievement.Relevance to clinical practice: Understanding and being able to give coherent rationales for the bioscience content in the nursing curricula is crucial and must be established in relation to its relevance to the dynamic nature of patient care, technological advances and demographic realities. Only on that basis can the primacy of this content be seen as relevant to the aspiring student nurse
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1793-1802
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number9-10
Early online date25 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • nurse education
  • nurse students
  • literature review
  • biological subjects


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