Has the pandemic response entrenched a pathogenic emphasis in education?
The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the emphasis on preparing nursing graduates for secondary care. This trend is evident in many countries, where the pandemic has reinforced a focus on acute care, with less emphasis on primary and social care (Williams et al, 2020; National Council of State Boards of Nursing, 2021). In the UK, the fields of nursing in mental health and children and young people, together with community-based placements for all learners, have been significantly impacted by pandemic-related health service closures and placement capacity, carrying the risk that a generation of well-equipped acute care nurses will dominate and perpetuate the focus on pathogenesis - a retrospective approach that determines how individuals can avoid or manage disease. We suggest this approach may not impart the knowledge and skills needed for students to be proficient in a system that must move beyond disease-focused pathology. Nurse education should reclaim the humanity of caring.
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