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Dear readers,

the issue of education of nurses is again the central topic of the editorial in the journal Nursing: theory, research, education, what confirms its constant topicality and need for systematic solutions.

Education of nurses and other healthcare professionals should reflect scientific knowledge of the field, requirements of clinical practice, and legislation in force. There is no doubt that pregradual, postgradual and lifelong education for nurses in Slovakia needs adjustments in order to meet these conditions.

In Slovakia, education for nurses has been discussed and politicized topic for many years, what does not help its development and seriousness it deserves. This will not increase interest and motivation of candidates to study Nursing and then get a job as a nurse. Our healthcare system has to face serious consequence of lack of qualified nurses, which has an impact on the patient, quality and safety of healthcare. The lack of nurses is reflected in missed care, increased occurrence of adverse events, in patient´s dissatisfaction with provided healthcare, reduction of hospital beds at departments, and in protracted waiting times for procedures. The lack of nurses is also reflected in dissatisfaction of the nurses, increased occurrence of burnout syndrome, and solving the situation by termination of employment. On the other hand, there is intensive questioning of meaning of this education. I would like to point out that several grades of healthcare professionals with required university education are missing in our healthcare system. Uselessness of university education is emphasized especially in the grade of nurse. As a member state of European Union, we are obliged to respect the relevant regulations, which also regulate education of nurses, even promote the university education.

There is high probability that current transformation of the grade of healthcare assistant to the grade of practice nurse and promoting so called Czech model of education 4+1 will not bring expected changes; comeback of several thousands of nurses into the healthcare system. These are not system steps, which would solve the reasons of decreasing number of nurses in clinical practice. In the Czech Republic, the model 4+1 seems to be dysfunctional for its impossibility to meet requirements connected with ensuring the required number of lessons to achieve professional competence. Number of applicants enrolling for this study programme is very low. These graduates compared to graduates of colleges or Bachelor study programme are not equally prepared to perform competences of a nurse.

Erudite discussions and subsequent steps should lead to stabilisation of university education and improvement of working conditions for the nurses. The issues such as integration of knowledge and skills necessary for performing new competences of a nurse resulting from the current legislation, or focus of Master´s study needs be discussed so that potential of graduates in clinical practice and their academic career could be applied more effectively.

assoc. prof. Martina Tomagová, RN, MN, PhD.
Comenius University in Bratislava, Jessenius Faculty of Medicine in Martin, Department of Nursing