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China’s and Poland’s Nursing Education: Comparison

Political History and Development of Nursing Education: Comparison of China and Poland

Nursing in China was largely westernized because it was influenced by the Americans. The American missionaries took over the teaching and training of indignant nurses in China. The nationalist government founded the first secondary level school of nursing. However, the facilities were poor and few people enrolled for training. Political upheavals led to the failure of the initiative established by the Beijing Second Medical College (Xu, Xu, & Zhang, 2000).

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The first nursing school in Poland was established in Krakow because Poland did not exist as a country at the time. However, it did not last long because of World War I. The end of World War I marked the beginning of a free and independent Poland (Sztembis, 2006). World War II destroyed Poland and greatly reduced the number of nurses. The training had to begin afresh by nurses who had survived World War II. It began as a six-month training program for nurses. The Polish nurses established leadership positions for nurses to give them a platform for decision making. They participated in conferences to give solutions to problems faced by the nursing sector. They also published articles in their journals to inform other nurses on the current situations in nursing (Aiken et al., 2014).

Nursing in China was mainly developed by missionaries, while in Poland it was developed through efforts and initiatives of the nationals themselves (Sztembis, 2006). However, this is not to say that Poland developed without any help from other countries.

Government and Nursing Organizations Influencing Nursing Education: Comparison of China and Poland

In both countries, the governments have implemented laws to advance nursing. In Poland, the Ministry of Health, which was later changed to the department of nursing, was given the responsibility of managing the development of nursing and ensuring quality education in the nursing sector (Sztembis, 2006). This department appointed experienced nurses and lawyers to recommend legal policies. The leaders of the nursing sector sought help from the Ministries of Health Chief Nursing Officers in foreign countries, such as Norway, and began ‘exchange’ nursing programs. This widened their experience and exposure, thus enabling them to change the curriculum in nursing (Sztembis, 2006).

The Chinese government implemented reforms to upgrade their education system to ensure that their standards of nursing education were in line with those recommended by the World Health Organization. The World Health Collaboration Centre in Nursing and Midwifery, Project Hope, and many other organizations expanded the health care sector in China (You et al., 2013). The China Medical Board, which is a New York-based agency, has contributed to the development of nursing in China. China has also enjoyed a variety of exchange nursing programs with America, thereby contributing to the advancement of the nursing curriculum and training in China (Xu, Xu, & Zhang, 2000).

Therefore, there are international organizations that have participated in the development of nursing in China and Poland. The governments of both countries have also played a significant role in advancing the system of nursing in training and education.

Current System of Nursing Education: Comparison of China and Poland

Every qualified nurse in China acquires an RN, despite what level of education one has gone through or the rank one has climbed; it is the minimum requirement for nursing (Xu, Xu, & Zhang, 2000). The Chinese education system is divided into two; the traditional program and the foreign language nursing system. There is also the post-secondary education system, which is divided into the zhuanke, baccalaureate, and graduate level. The zhuanke level is similar to the associate degree program in America. The students attain a tertiary diploma once they complete the zhuanke level. The baccalaureate level is a five-year programme, where students are awarded a bachelor of medicine degree upon completion. The graduate level is a three-year master’s programme that enrolls the baccalaureate graduates (Eddins, Hu, & Liu, 2011).

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In Poland, the nurses implemented a three year post-secondary programme to replace the two and a half year programme (Sztembis, 2006). The requirements for the bachelor’s education system in Poland are in line with the directions of the Council of European Communities on the harmonization of statutory resolutions, administrative policies, and activities that are associated with nursing and midwifery (Liu, Cao, Fan, & Lou, 2010).

The Chinese and the Polish nursing education systems both have a secondary and post-secondary education, but they have different curriculums.

Postgraduate (Masters) Education: Comparison of China and Poland

The Polish nurses have an opportunity to further their education through a two-year master’s programme (Sztembis, 2006). The system was established with the idea of providing the nurses with a means of advancing their education.

China also has a master’s programme, which is the graduate level in the post- secondary education mentioned above (Xu, Xu, & Zhang, 2000).

These two countries offer masters education (post-graduate) education, but they differ in their enrollment and curriculums.

Reflections on Nursing Education in China and Poland

In conclusion, I was surprised that nursing education in China was largely influenced by the Americans, while Poland largely relied on its established structures to further nursing education.


Aiken, L. H., Sloane, D. M., Bruyneel, L., Van den Heede, K., Griffiths, P., Busse, R.,… & Sermeus, W. (2014). Nurse staffing and education and hospital mortality in nine European countries: a retrospective observational study. The Lancet, 383(9931), 1824-1830.

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Eddins, E. E., Hu, J., & Liu, H. (2011). Baccalaureate nursing education in China: Issues and challenges. Nursing Education Perspectives, 32(1), 30-33.

Liu, L., Cao, F., Fan, X., & Lou, F. (2010). Existing problems and strategy of nursing postgraduate education in China. Chinese Journal of Nursing Education, 2010(4), 184-186.

Sztembis, B. (2006). The past, present and future of nurse education in Poland: stages, conditions and activities. International Nursing Review, 53(2), 103-109.

Xu, Y., Xu, Z., & Zhang, J. (2000). The nursing education system in the People’s Republic of China: Evolution, structure and reform. International Nursing Review, 47(4), 207-217.

You, L. M., Aiken, L. H., Sloane, D. M., Liu, K., He, G. P., Hu, Y.,… & Sermeus, W. (2013). Hospital nursing, care quality, and patient satisfaction: Cross-sectional surveys of nurses and patients in hospitals in China and Europe. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 50(2), 154-161.

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