A review of the Sri Lankan health-care delivery identified that a considerable shortage of qualified nurses exists in almost all medical institutions in all settings. The inadequate recruitment of students into state nursing schools and limited facilities to educate nurses has been promulgated as a factor in the shortage of qualified nurses within the country. Also it has been reported that specialized nurse education after basic training is limited in Sri Lanka. The consequence is that nursing specialization areas have not been developed despite to cope with the rapid aging of the population and a shift in the disease burden towards non- communicable diseases, including ischemic heart disease, neoplasms, mental health, and accidents.

Upto now, nursing education in Sri Lanka remained focused on general nursing, rather than specialization, and the bachelor of nursing progammes offered by the state universities including the University of Sri Jayewardenepura is a pioneering effort to address this issue. As has been asserted previously, a change in nursing education is required to prepare nurses with assertiveness skills and technical competence to work in the rapidly changing health-care environment. It is through specialized education and a change in the professional governance of nursing in Sri Lanka that advances can be made in the quality of patient care and nurses’ satisfaction with their career choice.

The nurse in Sri Lanka carries out many roles including providing care to patients, administering medications ordered by the doctor, coordinating paramedical services, as well as supervising junior nursing and assistant staff members and therefore should be skilled to fulfill all the roles and responsibilities placed on her. So far many of the diploma programmes concentrate on developing a task oriented nurse.

Also with rapidly expanding private sector health care facilities in the country, there is a requirement for specialized nurses to work in these settings. These facilities will include not only the hospitals but also the nursing care at various industries (including occupational health nursing, nursing care at hotels etc). In addition they are also expected to be skilled in delivering personalized home-based nursing care, a sector which is gaining popularity with the increasing elderly population in Sri Lanka.






It is expected that a nursing graduate will;

  1. have the knowledge, skills and attitudes to provide nursing care at any healthcare institution,
  2. demonstrate qualities of informed, caring, compassionate and reflective nursing practice,
  3. be able to collaborate with other health care professionals in delivery of care,
  4. become potential care giving leaders, educators, and researchers in the field of nursing,
  5. will meet the academic and clinical education requirements for registration in the Sri Lanka Medical Council, and
  6. undertake life long independent learning, career development and postgraduate study.






The B.Sc. Nursing curriculum was designed with input of experts from Chiang Mai University Thailand and WHO consultants from Glasgow Caledonian university, UK to achieve the desired graduate profile; nurses with technical competence and assertive skills to work in a rapidly changing health-care environment. The curriculum is of 12 terms spread over 4 academic years. These 4 years consist of 1569 lecture/tutorial laboratory work, 1827 hours of practical/field visits and 450 hours dedicated for a research project.

Moving away from producing a task oriented nurse, as was the previous practice in most diploma level course in Sri Lanka, the B.Sc. Nursing curriculum strives to develop technical competencies stressing on skill development. The number of theory and practical hours in the B.Sc. Nursing curriculum are similar to many other international universities, 50% theory and 50% practical/ clinical hours. Compared to the other nursing courses in the world, the students of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura obtain clinical experience in all the specialty areas during their course, rather than working in one specialty area during the final year. The first year of the course focuses on basic sciences and basic nursing and during second and third years the contents are related to various disease conditions and nursing care.

When skills are considered, in the first years, basic skills are taught as fundamentals in Nursing which include, basic care procedures and skills in application, skills in assisting with the personal hygiene of a patient, health promotion skills, occupational health and safety, hospitality in nursing (food serving and comfort, etc) and interpersonal skills. Skills in adult nursing practice are developed in the second and third years. Advanced procedures such as aseptic technique, venepuncture, urinary catheterization, wound dressing and skills in basic and advanced life support are also introduced in these years. Skills in psychiatric and mental health nursing, child health nursing, maternal and gynaecological nursing are also developed during the 3rd and 4th years.






The B.Sc. Nursing curriculum incorporates theoretical and practical aspects of the curriculum in a vertical integration. Teaching and learning methods have been adapted to achieve the desired objectives and an attempt has been made to incorporate theoretical and practical aspects into all subject areas. Emphasis is placed on the clinical applications related to nursing practice in each subject.

The students are given the opportunity to acquire most of the skills in a laboratory setting and increase their confidence before applying it with an actual patients in a clinical setting. During the first weeks of clinical placement, review meetings are held by the faculty to discuss the difficulties and problems encountered by the students in achieving their learning objectives. In second, third, and forth years students are assigned to write case studies in various subjects, which enable them to integrate their classroom and practical experiences an engage in reflective learning. Students also carry out individual research projects under supervision of academic staff from all departments giving them an opportunity learn the necessary skills for future personal development and continuing education, analytical skills and critical thinking skills.

As the desired nursing graduate is expected to be demonstrate qualities of a caring, compassionate and reflective practitioner the course content draws from many other disciplines including sociology, anthropology and psychology, as well as from a variety of medical disciplines. B.Sc. Nursing students have a reflective writing component for most of the subjects, especially clinical nursing subjects. Students complete a nursing clinical experience record (Log book) during each clinical placement aimed at achieving the required skills.

In order to provide an opportunity for independent learning, research and lifelong personal development in chosen field of speciality and to meet the demand for specialist nursing gradates capable of working in different settings students are given flexibility of choosing an elective subject in their final year, i.e. Midwifery (for female students), Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing or Trauma Nursing.

Teaching learning activities in cognitive domain in B.Sc. Nursing program; lectures, group discussions, are assessed through written assignments, MCQ and SEQ questions and viva voce examinations. Practical skills in basic and applied sciences such as Anatomy, Pharmacology, Microbiology & Parasitology and Pathology are assessed mainly by OSPE. Nursing skills which are taught by practical demonstrations where sstudents practice and perform return demonstrations are assessed through practical/clinical examinations, Objective Structured Practical Examinations (OSPE) and Log book based viva examinations.

Attitudes which are shaped during clinical practice sessions through role plays, case analysis and group learning are assessed through practical/clinical examinations.