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Undergraduate nursing education reform in France: from vocational to academic programmes


  • No conflicts of interest have been declared by the authors.

Dr Christophe Debout, DSIP-ORIG, Hôpital Charles Foix, 7 Avenue de la République, 94205 Ivry sur Seine Cedex, France; Tel: 33-0-1-49-59-42-19; Fax: 33-0-1-49-59-49-94; E-mail:


DEBOUT C., CHEVALLIER-DARCHEN F., PETIT DIT DARIEL O. & ROTHAN-TONDEUR M. (2012) Undergraduate nursing education reform in France: from vocational to academic programmes. International Nursing Review

Background:  France is currently implementing a number of reforms to the healthcare and education systems. Within this context, a comprehensive reform of undergraduate nurse education was launched in 2009, bringing nurse education closer to the higher education environment. It is likely in future to move from being vocational towards becoming an academic educational programme.

Aim:  In this paper, the 2009 reform of the French pre-registration nursing curriculum will be analysed in light of the European framework.

Process:  The pedagogical approach, methods and content of nursing education in France are undergoing an in-depth reorganization. The main innovation that the reforms introduce is a competency-based approach. France is joining the group of countries that require first degree-level entry to the nursing profession.

Conclusion:  There are still many unanswered questions regarding the competencies and qualifications required by both the academic and clinical educators many of whom have not been previously involved in research or publications. The future status of nursing science is unclear, as is the way in which the nursing profession will be able to retain control over its educational mechanisms.