Henrietta Szold-Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Nursing
The Henrietta Szold Hadassah School of Nursing was the first school of nursing in the country and first opened its doors 90 years ago. The school educates approximately 1000 students annually (including academic and non academic programs), with our graduates representing the heterogeneity of Israeli society. Throughout the existence of the school, our graduates have assumed leadership positions in the health care system in Israel and around the world. They play key roles in all nursing arenas including clinical practice, education, research, management and health policy.
The School prides itself on offering a state of the art curriculum for the development of a professional, academic, clinical nurse, based on international recommendations of nursing competencies; national health care needs; and educational requirements.
There are several content areas in the baccalaureate curriculum that have been expanded and developed which are unique to our program. Structured development of academic skills begins from the moment a student starts the program and continues along a series of structured learning units. The graduate is trained to write academically, read critically and apply this knowledge to nursing practice. Communication skills are also greatly enhanced using the same pedagological approach across the learning program. Besides the introductory course in basic communication skills provided by all schools, our students undergo further intense training through an additional 100 hours of preparation. The School has historically emphasized community health and continues to do so up until today. In addition to the state mandated clinical rotations in community nursing, our students spend a semester conducting a clinical project related to community health promotion. Additionally, over the past few years, an expanded unit of study has been included in the program in the area of nursing in emergency situations.
The School has also been faced with a number of challenges including curricular issues, student candidate profiles, and teaching strategies. The undergraduate curriculum is heavily loaded in the first two years with medical preclinical sciences, and is severely limited in the humanities. The core curriculum as mandated by the Nursing Division of the Ministry of Health fills 78% of the curricular requirements, limiting student options to choose electives. Another curricular issue is the operationalization of a unified curriculum among the affiliate schools. This difficulty arises from a number of sources including: variability between the teaching staffs, different financial and infrastructure resources, and the historical organizational structure of the three schools. In consideration of the above, an in depth appraisal of the organizational structure needs to be conducted.
The student candidates for the undergraduate nursing school programs also present a challenge. Students come from heterogeneous educational backgrounds that do not always include the life sciences, English competency, or writing skills. There also exists a wide range of previous academic performance and academic ability among the students. Therefore, the provision of a mechina- preparatory module which would include the aforementioned areas needs to be considered.
Teaching strategies present a third challenge. At this time, a large proportion of theoretical teaching is still performed in large groups with frontal lectures. Our teaching strategies on the whole are limited due to financial and infrastructure constraints. We are compelled to develop state of the art educational strategies that include language and culturally appropriate interactive learning modules, advanced simulation and computerized learning environments, and distant learning systems which would make use of national and international teaching resources.
We believe that the time has come for inter-disciplinary professional education. This type of education would train students to be experienced in inter-professional interactions that are the reality in today's health care environment and that are needed for excellence in health care for patients, families, and communities.