Reforming the Swiss nurse education system: A policy review

Ada Spitzer, Béatrice Perrenoud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Western Europe has been swept in the last three decades by ongoing reforms within the nurse education systems. Within the Western European region, Switzerland is one of the last countries initiating the integration of nursing programs into higher education institutions. Objectives: This article examines the nurse education reforms recently enacted in Switzerland. The specific aims of the analysis were to: (a) examine modes of reform implementation and the current status of the Swiss nurse education system; (b) compare between two new Swiss nurse education models developed in the various linguistic regions. Method: A documentary search for policy documents, reports and studies related to the implementation processes of reforms was conducted through websites of various legal institutions and the Swiss university library system. Findings: The analysis indicated that although a fit between environmental pressures and the reform agenda exists, the implementation of the nursing reform varied considerably between the various Swiss linguistic regions. This variation resulted in two newly created models of nurse education programs revealing a high level of variability and inconsistency. As such, the development of a unified system of nurse education, which was set as the primary goal of the reformed system, was not achieved. Conclusions: Overall, Switzerland is contributing to the widening heterogeneity rather than to the aspired homogeneity across Western European countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)624-634
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the FORESO—Foundation for Research in Nursing, Lausanne, Switzerland.


  • Health care reforms
  • Nurse education reforms
  • Nursing professionalization
  • Switzerland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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