Informing future nursing: An exploration of respiratory teaching in the pre-registration nurse curriculum.  

Nicola Roberts , Lindsay Welch*, Carol Ann Kelly, Kate Lippiett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)



The aim is to examine and map the respiratory skills taught in the pre-registration nursing curriculum (2010).


Respiratory assessment and care are fundamental clinical skills enabling nurses to treat and care for people with acute and chronic respiratory diseases. The incidence of respiratory disease is rising, globally, and most nurses will care for respiratory patients during their career.

The extent of pre-registration respiratory specific education delivered in UK NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) approved education institutions (AEIs) is currently unknown. The move to the 2018 revised NMC standards for pre-registration nursing offers AEIs the opportunity to review provision of respiratory education. This study describes respiratory education delivered to pre-registration nurses in UK AEIs prior to implementation of the new NMC standards. Curriculum re-design can be adapted for the global nursing community.


This is a freedom of information survey; to gather, examine and map curriculum content.


A survey of UK AEIs was conducted to initially scope provision of respiratory education for pre-registration nursing programmes. AEIs were emailed a freedom of information (FOI) request and provided information about the curriculum between April-June 2019.


Seventy-five UK AEIs providing pre-registration nursing programmes responded. Over half of AEIs dedicated over 4 hours of teaching respiratory anatomy and physiology (60.8%), respiratory pathophysiology (75.3%) and long- term respiratory conditions (60.3%). Less than half (44.4%) spent over 4 hours teaching respiratory health and prevention of respiratory disease. Just over a third spent over 4 hours on respiratory pharmacology (33.8%), local and national respiratory guidelines (33.3%) and information on pulmonary rehabilitation and other interventions for the management of respiratory conditions (35.2%). In most AEIs, skills laboratories were used to teach respiratory skills. Student competence was not always assessed. Respiratory learning was reported to take place during practice placements, but this was variable.


Variation exists in provision of respiratory education in pre-registration nursing programmes across the UK. Whilst some respiratory topics appear to be covered adequately, others have limited time on knowledge and skills teaching. New standards and curricula offer AEIs the opportunity to enhance this provision. Adaptations can be made, and the curriculum transferred to the global nursing workforce.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103254
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Early online date15 Nov 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Nov 2021


  • respiratory education
  • curriculum development
  • education review
  • respiratory care.
  • nursing education

Research Institutes

  • Health Research Institute

Research Centres

  • Cardio-Respiratory Research Centre


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