The impact of the Bologna process on nursing higher education in Europe: a review

Int J Nurs Stud. 2014 Jan;51(1):150-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2013.07.005. Epub 2013 Aug 5.


Background: Changes are occurring in global higher education. Nursing is not exempt from these changes, and must adapt in order to be competitive in a global market. The Bologna process has been integral in the last decade in modernizing European higher education. However, modernization does not occur without challenges. This paper addresses the Bologna process and the challenges it presents to nursing higher education in Europe.

Objective: To describe the Bologna Process as it relates to European nursing education.

Design and methodology: Literature review via searches of the following electronic databases: Academic Search Premier, MEDLINE, PubMed, ERIC, and CINAHL. Search criteria included Bologna process, European higher education, nursing education, quality assurance, and ECTS.

Results: Twenty-four peer-reviewed articles were included as well as one peer-reviewed presentation, one commission report, and one book.

Conclusion: Further investigation is required to address the complexities of the Bologna process and its evolutionary changes as it relates to nursing education in Europe. Change is not always easy, and is often complex, especially as it relates to cross-border education that involves governmental regulation. Bologna-member countries need to adapt to the ever-changing higher education environment or fall behind.

Keywords: Bologna process; ECTS; European higher education; Nursing education; Quality assurance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Education, Nursing, Graduate / organization & administration*
  • Europe