How do undergraduate nursing students learn about the fundamentals of care? A pilot cross-sectional attitudinal study


undergraduate nursing education; fundamentals of care; pilot cross-sectional study; questionnaire validation; evaluation.



Despite the growing importance of nursing fundamentals of care, nurses often overlook these aspects of care. In this study, we explored why this happens precisely where nursing education is initially provided. In fact, little is known about how undergraduate nursing students perceive the teaching of fundamentals of care and how they value them.


This pilot cross-sectional study used a questionnaire adapted and validated in Italian to assess the perceptions of first, second, and third-year undergraduate nursing students (n=150) in an Italian university about the teaching of fundamentals of care during theoretical lessons and clinical practice.


In the first section of the tool, on general fundamentals of care, students reported high levels of agreement for all items (range between 61.2% -100%).

In the section on nutrition, divided into nutrition, oral intake of fluids, and malnutrition high percentages of agreement (50-100%) were obtained, but for questions regarding ‘learning how to document food and fluid intake’, first-year students reported low levels of agreement.

With regard to the ‘Communication Section’, the item about ‘learning how to inform minor patients’ presented low percentages of agreement throughout the three-year program. Of the first-year students, between 71.4%-77.6% declared they had not received instructions about this.


Understanding how nursing students perceive the importance of learning of fundamentals of care during their curriculum and how their multidimensional nature is highlighted by teachers and clinical supervisors, will enable educators to address the gaps in the way they taught and prioritized within the curriculum.


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