The purpose of this study was to record the historical development of ‘integrated’ nursing courses, which were an innovation in nursing education, and also to attempt to identify any differences existing between health visitors who trained on ‘integrated’ courses and those who had trained on the 3-year SRN courses, with an additional year for health visiting. The ‘integrated’ courses, first established in 1957, aimed to attract intelligent candidates to nursing and to offer a more appropriate method of preparation for health visiting between hospital and university or college, integrating hospital nursing with health visiting.
The original area of investigation was carried out by means of unstructured questionnaires to all health visitors completing the ‘integrated’ courses in 1972, and a comparable group of health visitors completing the 1-year course at the same point in time. Certain significant differences were identifiable between the two groups in terms of expectations, values and satisfactions in nursing and health visiting, and differences also emerged between the stereotypes of nursing and health visiting held by both groups.
A further study carried out among employers revealed some interesting attitudes held by their professional colleagues towards those trained on ‘integrated’ courses, and gave some indication of the ways in which their performance was evaluated by nursing officers and others. The concluding discussion outlines some of the possible implications of diese findings in the context of present day nursing education in the United Kingdom and an integrated health service.