This paper highlights the relevance of psychology for nurses and the issues around the inclusion of psychology as an essential part of nursing education. Considerable international variations in the extent to which psychology is incorporated in nursing education suggest a need for discussion and reflection on this topic. This paper aims to (a) examine and reflect on scholarly literature in English addressing psychology of nursing in education and (b) present and reflect on an example of psychology teaching in a school of nursing and midwifery in Ireland. A review of the literature took place, which included a search of various databases and an analysis of emerging psychology for nursing textbooks over the period 1906-2011. Findings were used as a framework for reflection on a local example. The literature review yielded numerous commentaries, discussion papers, textbook reviews and editorials but very few empirical studies. Three topics were identified as appearing most frequently in the literature: the relevance of psychology in the nursing curriculum; depth and content of coverage; and whether integrated or separate instruction of psychology should be chosen. Findings suggest that overall the relevance of psychology to nursing education is not contested, but debates have emerged regarding how best to approach and integrate psychology. The outcomes of these debates are mostly inconclusive at present. Educators are encouraged to become active in these discussions and reflections, which are hampered by lack of empirical evidence.
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