EWMA 2020, 18-19 Nov

EQF level 7 curriculum for nurses: development and validation

The EQF level 7 curriculum has been developed by senior educationalists and healthcare professionals working within institutions and has been validated by members of the Teacher Network of the European. Wound Management Association who are responsible for teaching and learning in wound management in their respective countries.

The curriculum extends the scope of the previous curricula to reflect the expectations at Level 7. The focus is on the evidence underpinning practice and requires the student to interrogate existing research and question current approaches to the prevention, assessment, management of wounds. The curriculum also introduces the notion of evidence-informed practice in recognition of the gaps in the evidence base for managing individuals with wounds. The content of the curriculum reflects the need for students to be able to deal with complex situations and utilise problem-solving techniques. 

The curriculum has been expanded to incorporate leadership and management skills development as these are deemed to be fundamental to level 7 clinical practice. A core requirement of the Level 7 curriculum is the submission of a final thesis/project/dissertation, the criteria for which needs to be defined at a local level. The intention of this curriculum is that it could be implemented or adapted depending on the local context, according to the professional scope of practice and code of conduct. 

The curriculum is designed in a modular structure. It is important to note that the units are in no particular order, rather they are designed to be fluid and flexible allowing them to be presented and undertaken as appropriate for each learning institution. The suggested number of ECTs, hours and work experience are provided only as a guide and these can be changed and reviewed to meet the educational needs of Institutions. The curriculum is Level 7 as such we encourage learners to take responsibility for their own learning and to understand and be actively involved in self-directed learning. 

The curriculum includes:

• 21 units of study with a minimum total of 162 hours of lectures / face-to-face teaching (of 45 minutes duration).

• Self-directed learning based on structured tasks within a healthcare related environment, equal to 50 hours of workload.

• Supervised practice in the workplace. This must take place in different healthcare institutions with clinical experience in the management of individuals with chronic/non-healing wounds.

Validation Survey

An invitation to take part in the survey for the proposed Level 7 curriculum was sent to 87 members of the Teacher Network from which we had 27 responses. The respondents represented 15 different countries and the majority (60%) worked in a University and provided both Degree and Masters level courses (n=17 respectively). Twenty-two respondents went on to rate their level of agreement with aspects of the curriculum including: scope, aims, structure, progression, learning outcomes, content, estimated hours, learning methods and suggested reading. A threshold of >80% was set as the level of agreement. The ‘Agree’ and ‘Strongly Agree’ categories were collapsed providing the following levels of agreement:

Scope 91%, n=18

Aim 91%, n=20

Learning Outcomes 82%, n=18

Progression 77%, n=17

Learning Methods 77%, n=17

Suggested Reading 77%, n=17

Content 73%, n=16

Structure 64%, n=14

Estimated Hours 64%, n=14

The responses showed that there was excellent agreement for the scope, aim and learning outcomes. The free-text comments provided specific comments on the progression and structure of the curriculum that indicated that not all respondents felt the units of study followed a logical order and there may too many units of study. Other comments also showed that the estimated hours of study varied across different countries. Based on these results amendments were made to the content and additional guidance has been provided to indicate that the curriculum can be adapted to suit local needs for example the units of study can be combined and provided in a different order, the estimated hours can also be changed to meet local requirements. 

EWMA look forward to hearing how the curriculum will be used in your respective countries and in time hope you will be able to share your experiences of implementing and evaluating the curriculum.