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History of UCM - Faculty of Nursing, Physiotherapy and Podiatry

On 16 November, the University School of Nursing, Physiotherapy and Podiatry at the Complutense University (Order 11377/2012 of 29 October (BOCM of 16 November)) became the Faculty of Nursing, Physiotherapy and Podiatry. The origins of the Institution date back to the second half of the 19th century, although it developed into an Official Centre much later. The political, social and health changes have affected the way of understanding the role of Nursing, Physiotherapy and Podiatry in society and, therefore, in the University.

The long history of professional Nursing in Spain started in 1857 with the Law on Public Education (9 September 1857) which regulated the auxiliary careers of Medicine: Trainees and Midwives. The second step was the Royal Order of 7 May 1915 (La Gaceta of 21 May), which recognised nursing as a profession and the health changes in the second half of the 20th century led to the unification of these three branches, Trainees, Midwives and Nurses, into one profession: Technical Health Assistant (Decree of 4 December 1953; BOE of 29 December) and training schools were also created. The Faculty of Medicine created its own Schools at this time; the masculine school (M.O. of 6 April 1956; BOE of 25 April 1956) located in the Faculty and the feminine school (M.O. of 14 December 1963; BOE of 16 January 1964) located in the Hospital Clinic.

Its modern origins are based on a nursing school that started after the Decree 2128/1977 of 23 July (BOE of 22 August) when the Schools of Technical Health Assistants became the University School of Nursing. This was the moment it rediscovered its identity of historical, scientific and anthropological-philosophical purpose and adapted its role to the current health and social demands by combining tradition and modernity.

After the first promotion of University degrees in 1983, the two centres of the Faculty were united to become the University School of Nursing, which was located in Pavilion 2, on the 31st floor of the Faculty of Medicine. This new stage realigned its role with the University Statutes, established its training plan (Order of 12 May 1983 (BOE of 15 June)) and created the Department of Nursing (R.D. 861/1984) on 9 May 1986. This was possible because of the quality and collaboration from all levels of staff and students. This effort contributed to the change and modernisation of nursing and healthcare which has effectively addressed the demands from advances in medicine and the current care demands of society.

The School of Physiotherapy developed at the same time (BOE of 2 February 1988) and once it was recognised and constituted in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Medical Hyrdology on 3 October 1990, it joined the School of Nursing. The School of Podiatry (Royal Decree 649/1988 of 24 June (BOE of 27 June 1988) developed in the same way. It joined the former schools and, by Rectoral Decree, was called the University Faculty of Nursing, Physiotherapy and Podiatry. The students receive practical training in the Centres and Hospitals associated with the Complutense University and the Podiatrists in the University’s Podiatry Clinic. The Faculty has qualified administration and services staff who are capable of organising support for the large number of students in the Centre through management and secretary staff and students, and its excellent library.

With the implementation of the Bologna postulates and adaptation to the Undergraduate, Master’s and Doctorate Studies, the Faculty of Nursing, Physiotherapy and Podiatry takes a strong step towards integration and recognition at the University. It has provided programmes with content that addresses current health needs of a society where these professions have played a fundamental role and has consolidated its role as a leading centre of theoretical-practical education in Spain. It has opened its programmes and relationships to domestic and international sectors, to other ways of understanding nursing, physiotherapy and podiatry, and has developed its own identity from there. Today, the Faculty of Nursing, Physiotherapy and Podiatry at the Complutense University makes it mark and trains new professionals recognised for their university training who aspire to excellence based on humanistic and ethical values and principles and a commitment to comprehensive training that strengthens the common and the different.


Francisca J. Hernández Martín


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