State of pathophysiology in undergraduate nursing education: A systematic review

Renee Colsch, Suzanne Lehman, Katherine Tolcser


Background: Nurses who understand pathophysiology can provide higher quality patient care. Various pedagogical strategies make it unclear which practice meets the challenges of teaching pathophysiology. The aim of this systematic review was to synthesize research in the last ten years to report the current state of pedagogical strategies related to teaching pathophysiology concepts in undergraduate nursing.

Methods: A systematic review of mixed, quantitative, and qualitative literature guided by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines was conducted from 2010 to 2020 through electronic databases.

Results: Seven studies met the inclusion criteria. A gap exists among comparable research designs, pedagogy strategies, and outcomes specific to undergraduate nursing pathophysiology courses. 

Conclusions: Findings suggest that more rigorous research designs with validated measurement instruments are needed to compare student satisfaction and outcomes after different pedagogical strategies are applied to undergraduate pathophysiology courses. Also, there is a need to elicit findings related to the retention and effectiveness of pathophysiology concepts in clinical practice.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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