Vol. 17 No. 2 (2013): Journal of Nursing Pensar Enfermagem
Original Articles

Research challenges in nursing history: visibility in teaching

Ana Paula Gato
Professora Adjunta, Mestre - Membro colaborador do Centro Interdisciplinar de História, Culturas e Sociedades da Universidade de Évora
Lucília Nunes
Professora Coordenadora, Doutora - Investigadora ui&de Escola Superior de Saúde

Published 2013-12-30


  • syllabus,
  • nursing degree,
  • teaching nursing history

How to Cite

Gato, A. P., & Nunes, L. (2013). Research challenges in nursing history: visibility in teaching. Pensar Enfermagem, 17(2), 26–34. https://doi.org/10.56732/pensarenf.v17i2.81


If the past constitutes a major contribution to a nurse’s professional identity as well as to the development of nursing as a discipline, we view its dissemination and teaching as new forms of disciplinary valuation and clarification. They emerge as the true challenge in the relationship between research and teaching and we view research on the teaching of Nursing History in Portugal relevant. This study has the following objectives a) to map the teaching of Nursing History in Portugal, as an autonomous curricular unit; b) examining epistemological trends on teaching Nursing History. Data collection was performed by consulting the curricula of the Nursing Degree (CLE), which was approved by the Education Minister. We conducted documentary analysis of curricula and guidelines for the curricular units, when available. For this study, we considered categorizing by type of institution, public (state institution) and private (institutions belonging to private entities, religious or cooperatives). A plan was considered for institutions with the same study plan in different schools. In February 2013, there were 41 Degree in Nursing, courses, representing 34 study plans. Of these 34, , 23.5% [8] presented nursing history as an autonomous curricular unit, and 76.4% [26] did not have the word “history” in the designation of the curricular unit. Of the study plans that had a designated curricular unit with “História de Enfermagem”, 62,5% [5] belonged to public institutions and 37,5% [3] belonged to private institutions (seeing as one plan replicates itself in two schools belonging to the same institution). The designations are: “History of Nursing” [3 cases], “History and Epistemology of Nursing” [3 cases], “History and Essentials of Nursing (I and II)” [1 case] and “History of Nursing and Care” [1 case]. Study plans for Nursing Degrees meet certain requirements, in accordance to their regulation - verifying the Directive and the transposition into national law (Law 9/2009 of march 4), the History of Nursing is not part of the compulsory subjects of theoretical teaching. It is therefore an option of syllabus design in the educational institution.


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