The ideals of health equity continue to be constrained by the conditions in which people live, learn and work. But to what extents are nursing schoolsstrengthening the preparedness of nurses to extend their reach and help individuals and communities achieve their highest level of health? A culture of health and health equity is built on a framework of social mission.
The authors believe that social mission is not new to the nursing profession. However, a clear understanding of the historical evolution of social mission as it relates to nursing education could provide a solid foundation for understanding the extent to which nursing curricula aligns with a commitment to advancing healthcare outcomes.
This manuscript is a commentary that outlines the foundational understanding of the history of social mission in nursing education through the present time and amplifies that educators should consider how adopting a social mission lens could help schools more effectively align their curricula, policies and practices with health equity. Social mission refers to the school’s commitment to advance health equity in everything it does from admissions and faculty hiring policies, to curriculum development, the extent of community based experiential learning, and, ultimately measured in their graduates’ outcomes (Mullan, 2017).
It is the authors’ view that the rich history, the magnitude of the sector, and the current transformational conversations occurring in the nursing profession, all call for a deeper analysis and engagement of nursing leaders in this topic.
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