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Nursing programmes in the United States of America are based on a conceptual framework. Not only do faculty and students ascribe to the necessity of such programmes but the national accreditation agency also provides its accreditation approval for the institution only after all criteria are met, including the requirement of a well-defined, operationalized and implemented framework.

Can a nursing programme be developed in other nations utilizing the esoteric, American-based idea of the necessity for a conceptually based curriculum? The author answers this question. The manuscript presents both the process utilized in selecting a conceptual framework for a new junior college programme in Kuwait and discusses the selected framework.

The idea of a conceptual framework to guide the curriculum was as foreign in Kuwait as it was to nursing curricula in the United States 15 years ago. Though initially rejected by the faculty in Kuwait, the idea of a conceptual framework was reintroduced after much faculty discussion and questions related to nursing knowledge vis-a-vis medical knowledge, and what should be included in and excluded from the programme.

By the end of the second year, a definite framework had been operationalized into courses and content. The selection of the framework evolved from faculty participation in the operationalization of the framework. This point is quite significant particularly in an international assignment, as it is the faculty who are left with the monumental task of supporting and continuing the work which has been done.

Strategies used to develop and implement a conceptual framework included confrontation of faculty of the existing situation, lectures, seminars, workshops, and the identification of a critical review board.