Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
The nurse and nursing care
The profession of nurse is defined by the Job description (Italian Ministerial Decree no. 739 of 14 September 1994), as a professional who is responsible for nursing care and, as such, prevents disease, cares for patients of all ages and provides health education for individuals, families and the community.
The characteristics of nursing care have a technical nature, for example the management of invasive or non-invasive ventilation of patients with respiratory
insufficiency; an interpersonal nature, such as helping a patient to accept a chronic condition like diabetes or post-traumatic disabilities; and, lastly, an
educational nature, when the nurse is involved in an educational initiative to help patients look after themselves following discharge, for example, patients who have had a coronary artery bypass.
In order to perform these duties, nurses employ clinical reasoning that allows them, firstly, to identify the person’s care needs, including by using
internationally-validated measurement tools, secondly, to plan and manage nursing intervention in order to satisfy these needs, based on the highest-quality published evidence and, lastly, to assess the results achieved.
In their work, nurses are guided by the Italian Nurses’ Code of Conduct (17 January 2009) for the development of their professional identity and the
assumption of ethically-responsible behaviour, the breach of which is disciplined by the Professional Board.
The Code provides guidelines regarding the ethical principles of the profession, relationships with patients, professional relationships with colleagues and other professionals and relationships with the institutions. “Nursing care focuses not on the illness but on the person,” said Beatrice Walter in the early 20th century, whereas medicine takes care of a person’s ills, “wenurses care for the person”.
Bachelor’s degree in Nursing graduates are qualified to work in Italy, once they have registered with the Provincial Board of Nurses and the appropriate
The Bachelor’s degree in Nursing makes graduates qualified to work as nurses in all EU countries.
- in public and private hospitals, in all inpatient wards (intensive care, cardiology, paediatrics, general medicine, etc.) and in medical services (accident and emergency, emergency medicine, operating theatres, mental health, public health, etc.).
- in public health and care facilities, such as community services, specialist clinics; services for the elderly and disabled, hospices, etc.
- as freelance professionals in medical practices or affiliated healthcare facilities.
- as researchers and teachers in Universities and healthcare facilities.
Once they have obtained a Bachelor’s degree, nurses can enter the world of employment and/or continue their academic studies with a vast spectrum of postgraduate programmes, such as:
- Master’s degree in Nursing and Midwifery Sciences
- Proficiency courses
- Professional Postgraduate Master’s Degree Courses
- Research doctorates
Postgraduate studies allow nurses to develop their career in a number of areas.
First-level Master’s degrees for clinical work enable nurses to acquire advanced skill sets in a given care sector making them eligible for hospital positions, for example in the preparation of clinical care protocols in the various sectors such as critical care, surgery, paediatrics, psychiatry, etc.
First-level Master’s degree courses for coordination and tutorship roles provide postgraduates either with organisational and management expertise, making them eligible for positions coordinating Units or Services, or with specific expertise in tutorship for students and new nurses.
The Master’s Degree in Nursing and Midwifery Sciences allow nurses to complete their academic training with the five-year qualification that paves the way to second-level master’s degree courses or research doctorates. The Master’s degree prepares students for supervisory positions with organisational duties, such as the Nursing Director or General Manager of a local health authority, or in the academic world, such as Director of Bachelor’s degrees in Nursing, or even for an academic career (university researcher, associate or full professor). Further career opportunities exist in other specific but rapidly developing areas, such as the freelance and advisory sectors or cooperation in clinical research, for example trials on novel medicinal products, or the development of nursing research projects.