Tensions related to implementation of postgraduate degree projects in specialist nursing education

Nurse Educ Today. 2011 Apr;31(3):283-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2010.11.012. Epub 2010 Nov 26.


In conjunction with the introduction of the Bologna process in Sweden, specialist nursing education programmes were moved up to the second cycle of higher education with the opportunity to take a one-year master's degree, which also meant that students would undertake a degree project carrying 15 ECTS. The purpose of this study was to examine the introduction of postgraduate degree projects on the second-cycle level into Swedish specialist nursing programmes in accordance with the Bologna process. Five universities were involved and the study design took the form of action research. Problem formulation, planning, evaluation and follow-up with reflection led to new actions over a period of 2 1/2 years. Through a review of local curriculum documents, the implementation of a postgraduate degree project was monitored and these reviews, together with field notes, were analysed by means of constant comparative analysis. The results revealed a variety of tensions that arose when postgraduate degree projects were introduced, taking the form of differing views on the relationship between research, clinical development, specific professional objectives and academic objectives. These tensions were reflected in six areas of change. In summary, it can be noted that implementation of the postgraduate degree projects highlighted tensions related to basic views of learning.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Education, Nursing, Graduate / methods*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Educational Status
  • Faculty, Nursing
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Nursing Evaluation Research / methods*
  • Nursing Research
  • Program Development
  • Specialties, Nursing / education*
  • Sweden