Future healthcare professionals to influence lifestyle behaviour of their patients


HSE and Higher Education Institutions launch new undergraduate Curriculum for chronic disease prevention and management


A new 3rd level curriculum called Making Every Contact Count for Health Behaviour Change was officially launched today by Minister of State for Health Promotion, Catherine Byrne TD, in Farmleigh in Dublin.


This is part one of the National Undergraduate Curriculum for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management, a collaboration between 15 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Ireland who deliver undergraduate training for healthcare professionals and the HSE, and is the first of its kind in Ireland.


Chronic Disease is a leading cause of mortality in Ireland and the aim of this programme is to bring a standardised approach to how the healthcare professionals of the future are trained and educated to support their patients to enjoy the best possible health. It emphasises the key role that healthcare professionals play in empowering and supporting patients to make positive lifestyle changes.


The curriculum aims to foster a spirit of national collaboration on Health Behaviour Change across the HEIs.  The collaborative is continuing its work and has started the development of a similar curriculum for self-management support.  The shared process engaged in developing this curriculum has also created a unique opportunity to support interdisciplinary learning across individual HEIs as well as between HEIs across Ireland.


Undergraduate and graduate entry healthcare programmes involving Nursing, Medicine, Dentistry and Allied Health professions such as Occupational therapy, physiotherapy etc., will now have core teaching on health and wellbeing integrated into their curricula.


Speaking at the launch Minister Catherine Byrne TD said, “This new curriculum, which is a collaboration between healthcare and education professionals, is a very positive example of what can be achieved by working together. It will prepare newly qualified health professionals with the skills needed to engage with patients and encourage them to make healthier choices and reduce their risk of chronic disease.

“We want to support our healthcare staff in making every contact with their patients count to ultimately improve their health and wellbeing. Through Sláintecare and Healthy Ireland, we are creating a more sustainable approach to the provision of health and social care services. In changing behaviours we will achieve a healthier Ireland for all of us and for future generations”.

Dr Orlaith O Reilly, National Clinical Advisor and Programme Group Lead for Health & Wellbeing, HSE said, “The development and implementation of this curriculum puts a firm focus on health and wellbeing as a core healthcare deliverable. It also equips our future healthcare professionals with the knowledge and skills to positively influence lifestyle behaviour with their patients. The education of our healthcare professionals at the earliest opportunity in these skills will support the long term sustainability of the behavioural change messages to all patients and service users for years to come. It is envisaged that other healthcare priorities can be addressed through the creation of programmes such as this.”


Professor Eileen Savage, School of Nursing & Midwifery, UCC  said, “The development and implementation of this curriculum represents a landmark in Higher Education in Ireland because it is the first time that such an approach has been adopted in the sector with all healthcare disciplines throughout the Higher Education Institutions developing a national standardised curriculum, working in collaboration with the Health Service Executive.”


To find out more about the National Undergraduate Curriculum for chronic disease prevention and management see hse.ie.