Background: One of the most important tasks of a university is to assess their weaknesses and build upon their strengths. As the education and skill level of psychiatric nursing graduates in Iran is often unpredictable, we hope to improve the current curriculum by comparing it to a successful educational program.
Objective: The current study compared the psychiatric nursing curriculum in Iran with that of Canada in order to assess differences and suggest improvements.
Methods: This is a descriptive comparative study conducted in 2018. In order to obtain the required information on the psychiatric nursing field, we utilized the Iran Health Ministry website and several Canadian universities offering psychiatric nursing graduate programs. Data was collected through a comprehensive internet search using databases in both Persian and English. We utilized the four steps of the comparison model, also known as Bereday’s four-stage method. Comparative analysis was conducted on the following key areas: the time of starting to approve M.Sc. course, mission, goals, entry requirements, number and similarity of units (theory/practical), and the duration of completing course.
Results: The University in Canada has been established earlier than Iran. Psychiatric nursing programs in both countries have defined missions, goals, job responsibilities. The educational program at Brandon University is focused on community needs. It is possible to complete their program on a part- or full-time basis. Additionally, some courses are optional Admission requirements for Brandon University in Canada include practical psychiatric nursing care experience and a relevant degree; however, in Iran the requirements do not include any background or practical experience. The requirements are limited to a bachelor’s degree in nursing and an entrance exam. The program primarily focuses on theory, and was only offered on a full–time basis.
Conclusion: Comparing the two curriculums, we noted that the Iran educational program still has weaknesses. In order to improve the quality of education, it is suggested that students volunteer to have psychiatric nursing care experience. The curriculum should also include administration, education, and practice. Additionally, a more flexible curriculum should be offered, one that is based on the needs of Iranian society.