Short Report: Nursing education in Norway
Aim. The aim of this paper is to describe nursing education in Norway and some essential questions and challenges regarding the undergraduate and newly graduated nurses' competencies and functionally preparedness.
Background. The first formal training of nurses in Norway started in Oslo in 1886. Since then the education has changed considerably. As long as society is changing, and nurses are going to meet and adapt to societies needs, the education of nurses will also have to change continuously. The present general plan of nursing education has gone through a long process. The discussions have concerned the content of medical and natural science subjects, the practical part of the training and the relation between theory and practice.
Challenges. There are challenges in nursing education in Norway today. We have seen that recruitment has decreased, and that nurses seek jobs where they are better paid. To increase the accessibility distance and part-time education has been established. The theory–practice gap will always exist. Therefore we should aim to prepare the students to minimize this gap in a way that they can combine training of nursing with training in improvement. The demand of a masters degree to be a nursing teacher has reduced the teachers' ability to keep up their practical skills. The government pays nursing teachers who want to practice as nurses for several months to maintain their salary level during that period.
Conclusions. There are many possibilities to improve nursing education in Norway. We are on our way with highly qualified teachers and students, and we still have enough good applicants. The new general plan and new law for universities and university colleges offer great opportunities. However, the shortage of nurses is a great challenge for further quality improvement both in clinical practice and in education.