Reforms in Nursing Education Across Western Europe: Implementation Processes and Current Status

Ada Spitzer, Beatrice Perrenoud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this review was to provide a comprehensive outlook on nursing education reforms enacted in Western Europe in the last three decades. Specifically, this analysis aimed to describe major trends in the implementation processes of nursing education reforms and the current academic status of nursing programs across Western Europe. A critical analysis of the scientific literature and policy documents was conducted. The results indicate that two major phases of reform were initiated in nursing education over the last three decades. The first phase was geared at creating a unified European platform of solid preregistration programs. The second phase was predominantly geared at integrating nursing programs into higher education institutions. In contrast to the first stage of reform, which yielded unity, the second phase resulted in a notable variation among existing structures, levels of education, duration of studies, and the titles (degrees) awarded. As a result, Western Europe today represents a myriad of arrangements for preregistration nursing programs. Nursing has viewed these reforms in the education system as vital in promoting the profession and crucial for responding to the reforming health care system. This research indicates that nursing goals have only been partially obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-171
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Professional Nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Health care reforms
  • Nursing education reforms
  • Nursing in higher education institutions
  • Western Europe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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