The origin of future-proofing seems lost in the mists of recent history. Dictionaries date its use from about 1991, referring to the prevention of obsolescence in information technology manufacturing and occasionally in organizational systems. However, closer analysis in healthcare demonstrates it can be traced back to the Rand Corporation and the studies commissioned there in the 1960s. These aimed at identifying the predictive factors in planning healthcare, including development of the workforce. It is a managerial concept that helps to project a vision of change that is not simply reactive or short-term. It permits a focus on leadership and the maximising of learning opportunities and includes analysis of the policy horizon. It held within it an assumption about the importance of establishing the cognitive frameworks that would influence long-term behaviours and not focus simply on short-term gains. This paper utilises this approach to explore options for future-proofing of nurse education.
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