What Is the NCHSE Health Science Curriculum Framework? Blog Feature
Heather Young

By: Heather Young on September 24th, 2020

Print/Save as PDF

What Is the NCHSE Health Science Curriculum Framework?

Health Science | NCHSE | National Health Science Standards

As a health science curriculum developer, we speak with thousands of health science instructors every year.

Many of these are experienced teachers, who have been delivering healthcare classes for years. While others are just getting started and looking for advice on which courses to offer their students. 

If the latter sounds like you, then the NCHSE four-course health science framework could be a great starting point for you.

The National Consortium for Health Science Education (NCHSE) is a partnership of educators, professionals, and organizations focused on improving health science education across the United States.

They developed the four-course health science curriculum framework to help teachers like you effectively deliver a health science program.

NCHSE's framework is based on the National Health Science Standards and consists of the following courses:

  1. Foundations of Healthcare Professions
  2. Essential Healthcare Practices
  3. Human Structure, Function, and Disease (A)
  4. Human Structure, Function, and Disease (B)

In this article, you’ll learn why NCHSE created the framework, the purpose of each course, and the topics that NCHSE recommends you include in each course.

You’ll also learn how the AES digital curriculum aligns with the NCHSE National Health Science Standards and prepares students for the National Health Science Assessment.

Why Did NCHSE Create the Four-Course Health Science Curriculum Framework?

In May 2020 NCHSE finalized work on the four-course health science curriculum framework to help teachers deliver the fundamental principles of health science.

Here's what NCHSE states about the framework on their website:

"This four-course curriculum framework serves as an example of various possibilities for secondary health science programs to help facilitate development of high quality programs."

Both Foundations of Healthcare Professions and Essential Healthcare Practices are introductory health science courses.

The Human Structure, Function, and Disease (A) and Human Structure, Function, and Disease (B), courses take a deep-dive into anatomy and physiology with a focus on real world, work-based opportunities.

Because the framework acts as a guidepost, the courses can be delivered in any order, or independently of each other, depending on the needs of your health science program.

Let's dive into the purpose of each course and the objectives NCHSE suggests be included in each one.

1. Foundations of Healthcare Professions

nchse-four-course-curriculum-framework (1)

The Foundations of Healthcare Professions course covers fundamental healthcare skills and knowledge, including health maintenance, employability skills, teamwork, and safety practices. Throughout the course, there is a focus on patient-centered outcomes between healthcare professionals, patients, and caregivers.

The Foundations of Healthcare Professions course also helps students develop written and oral communication plans in relation to the topics covered.

The course outline for the Foundation of Healthcare Professions is:

  1. Communication: the objective is to demonstrate how to deliver and obtain information, while communicating effectively
  2. Teamwork: the objective is to identify individual roles and responsibilities of key members in the healthcare team
  3. Health Maintenance Practices: the objective is to differentiate between wellness and disease, promote disease prevention and model healthy behaviors.
  4. Safety Practices: the objective is to identify existing and potential hazards to clients, co-workers, and yourself. 
  5. Technical Skills: the objective is to demonstrate technical skills and knowledge.
  6. Employability Skills: the objective is to enhance employment opportunities and job satisfaction

Overall, the Foundations of Healthcare Professions course could be a great first course in your health science program. 

2. Essential Healthcare Practices

nchse-four-course-curriculum-framework (2)

The purpose of the Essential Healthcare Practices course is to build on the fundamental skills learned in the Foundations of Healthcare Professions course.

This course introduces basic medical terminology to help students communicate about body systems, diseases, and disorders. It also teaches students how to identify how key systems affect services performed and quality of care.

It also defines legal responsibilities, limitations, and implications on healthcare worker actions and explores cultural, social, and ethnic differences within the healthcare environment. 

The course outline for Essential Healthcare Practices is:

  1. Communication: the objective is to demonstrate how to deliver and obtain information, while communicating effectively
  2. Human Anatomy and Physiology: the objective is to understand human anatomy, physiology, common diseases and disorders, and medical math principles.
  3. Systems: the objective is to identify how key systems affect services performed and quality of care. 
  4. Legal Responsibilities: the objective is to describe legal responsibilities, limitations, and implications on healthcare worker actions.
  5. Ethics: the objective is to understand accepted ethical practices with respect to cultural, social, and ethnic differences within the healthcare environment.
  6. Medical Mathematics: the objective is to understand math principles integral to medical applications.
  7. Technical Skills: the objective is to apply and demonstrate technical skills and knowledge common to health career specialties.

Depending on how your program is organized, the Essential Healthcare Practices course could be an excellent first or second course for students in a healthcare pathway.

3. Human Structure, Function, and Disease (A)

nchse-four-course-curriculum-framework (3)

The purpose of Human Structure, Function and Disease (A) course is to introduce human anatomy, physiology, common diseases, and disorders. It focuses on the Skeletal, Muscular, Respiratory, Integumentary, Cardiovascular, and Lymphatic systems. Medical terminology and medical math are integrated throughout the course. 

The course outline for Human Structure, Function, and Disease (A) is:

  1. Medical Terminology: the objective is to demonstrate how to deliver and obtain information, while communicating effectively using roots, prefixes, suffixes, and medical abbreviations
  2. Anatomy and Physiology: the objective is to understand human anatomy, physiology, common diseases and disorders, and medical math principles in relation to the body systems noted in the course description
  3. Diseases and Disorders: The objective is to understand diseases and disorders that affect the skeletal, muscular, integumentary, cardiovascular, lymphatic and respiratory systems
  4. Medical Mathematics: the objective is to demonstrate basic math skills in relation to healthcare and the ability to analyze diagrams, charts, and tables to interpret healthcare results

Overall, the Human Structure, Function, and Disease (A) course would be appropriate for students to take prior to more career-specific courses, such as medical assisting or patient care technician.

It would also perfectly complement the final course in NCHSE's health science curriculum framework.

4. Human Structure, Function, and Disease (B)

nchse-four-course-curriculum-framework (4)

The Human Structure, Function, and Disease (B) course builds on the knowledge and skills of Human Structure, Function, and Disease (A). 

It concentrates on the five remaining body systems: Nervous, Endocrine, Urinary, Reproductive, and Digestive.  The course also explores information technology in healthcare and integrates medical terminology and medical math are throughout. 

The Human Structure, Function and Disease (B) course covers the following elements:

  1. Medical Terminology: the objective is to deliver and obtain information, while communicating effectively using medical terms
  2. Anatomy and Physiology: the objective is to understand human anatomy, physiology, common diseases and disorders, and medical math principles related to the body systems noted in the course description
  3. Diseases and Disorders: the objective is to understand the nervous, endocrine, digestive, urinary, reproductive systems.
  4. Information Technology in Healthcare: the objective is to apply information technology practices common across health professions.
  5. Medical Mathematics: the objective is to demonstrate basic math skills in relation to healthcare and the ability to analyze diagrams, charts and tables to interpret healthcare results.

The Human Structure, Function, and Disease (B) is an excellent way to wrap up your students' general healthcare coursework before they begin taking more advanced classes focused on industry certifications.

How to Teach Your Health Science Classes and Prepare Students for Success

Now that you know what the four-course framework is, you need to find a curriculum that will help you teach the classes and prepare your students for exam success.

While some teachers create their own curriculum by cobbling together a variety of resources, doing so can take a lot of time and energy (which you probably don't have to spare).

That’s why we created HealthCenter21.

As members of the NCHSE Publishers Coalition our curriculum was developed in accordance with the National Health Science Standards (NHSS).

Because of this, thousands of teachers use HealthCenter21 to meet NCHSE's standards and teach classes, while saving time and increasing student engagement. 

When the standards change, we review HealthCenter21 and make any necessary updates to ensure your students are receiving the most up-to-date information when it comes to the healthcare industry.

Teachers like you also use HealthCenter21 to prepare students for the NCHSE End of Course Assessment, which is based on the NHSS.

Download the guide to see how AES aligns with the NCHSE National Health Science Assessment, and decide whether it’s right for you and your students:

Download the National Health Science Assessment Guide

 

About Heather Young

As a former educator with almost twenty years in the classroom, Heather loves working with educators to help them succeed and get the most value out of the AES curriculum systems.