Undergraduate research in nursing and health sciences: Curriculum design from first principles

Joanne Bradbury


Background/Objective: Multidisciplinary learning within the framework of undergraduate education has recently been recognised as essential in developing an integrated and resilient healthcare system for the future. This inquiry seeks to derive common learning outcomes for a new multidisciplinary foundation research methods unit for undergraduate health sciences students. 

Methods: An outcomes-based design was used to determine the learning outcomes from first principles. All academics across multiple health disciplines at a regional university in Australia were invited to a series of meetings to brainstorm a set of common graduate capabilities and the scaffolds required to achieve them. Meetings were carefully documented and agreed to by consensus after member checking. A thematic analysis was undertaken to identify emergent themes. The capabilities themes were checked for alignment with the institutional graduate attributes and the thresholds of learning outcomes (TLOs) set out by the Australian Government Office of Learning and Teaching.

Results: Three broad theoretical constructs emerged from the thematic analysis for the graduate capabilities: (i) health practitioners as evidence consumers (i.e. knowledge translation); (ii) health practitioners as evidence producers, (i.e. knowledge creation) and; (iii) ethical practice.

Conclusions: This study derived a set of learning outcomes from first principles, while applying an outcomes-based curriculum design methodology. This may be a useful approach for finding common learning outcomes within a multidisciplinary health educational framework. Such structures and processes may not only help to provide students with a solid foundation for learning content that they have in common with other disciplines, but may also to facilitate interprofessional communication in future practice.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v9n4p29

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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