Training of health professionals: Contributions of the curriculum to the realization of health education

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MORENO, Renato Sarmento Dos Reis [1]

MORENO, Renato Sarmento Dos Reis. Training of health professionals: Contributions of the curriculum to the realization of health education. Revista Científica Multidisciplinar Núcleo do Conhecimento. Year 06, Ed. 03, Vol. 03, pp. 143-148. March 2021. ISSN: 2448-0959, Access link: ‎


The curriculum represents the planning and organization of teaching projects, not being a concept, but a whole cultural construction that aggregates various practices. Thus, health courses still lack innovative curricular proposals, which provide a humanistic, critical and reflective training, taking into account the dynamics that involve the health-disease process. From full curriculum projects, aligned with the principles of the SUS, it is possible to incorporate health education into the daily life of professionals and to promote it, because health education seeks to guide and train the population to act consciously within their environment, through the exchange of experiences and knowledge between the population and professionals, providing improvement in health conditions, through a dialogical process of teaching/learning, discussing situations of daily life and not only the risk of illness. This study addresses some theoretical issues that guide the process of training health professionals from the curriculum. It points out the importance of a critical and reflective formation aligned with the principles of the Unified Health System (SUS) as a mechanism to effect health education in this scenario.

Keywords: Curriculum, Health Training, Health Education.


Addressing the theme ‘curriculum’ in the health field involves a deep reflection on the training of professionals in this area, especially with regard to the fragmentation of the teaching and learning process, which is the traditional training offered to the professionals mentioned. Several institutions have tried to articulate an innovative teaching, combining theory and practice, from curricular projects that stick to the reflective perspective of the students and awaken the professional interest for the development of work in the Unified Health System (SUS) with a view to implementing health education in daily practice, which requires a great challenge in the elaboration of curricula and reformulation of pedagogical projects of health courses.

The term “field of health” refers to a place of action, struggles, practices, production and construction of knowledge and the exercise of power. With regard to the expression “health area”, it deals with the technical and administrative division that are present in institutions, instruments, official documents and in the processes of classification, certification and evaluation (MOREIRA; DIAS, 2015).

When discussing curriculum, in the “field of health”, it is important to propose a reflection on professional education in this area and how this training has been happening, if the curriculum has provided the development of a critical view about the field of work and the world that surrounds it and provides the effectiveness of health education in professional practice (FILHO, 2004).

The curriculum has a historical and political character, constituting interactions and social relations, not being just a mere process of reproduction and transmission of content or knowledge. Thus, the production of knowledge occurs from the relationship between individuals, through a productive action in which political aspects can be seen in two ways: in actions (in what we do) and in their effects (what it does to us). Characterizing a discourse that, by corporizing narratives about individuals and society, contributes to the process of constitution of subjects (GOMES, 2007).

“Health education” is an effective mechanism to bring health information to various social groups, representing a new teaching model in health education practices, when the information that has been brought to the community is discussed among the various actors who participate in the process, breaking with the taxand traditional models of education and incorporating a dialogical process of teaching and learning , through the interaction between professionals and the community, providing the exchange of knowledge, discussion of problems and search for solutions within the environment in which each person lives.

At this point, the curriculum has a primary role, because it is through the integral, humanistic, critical and reflective training of health professionals that health professionals are effective and incorporate health education into the praxis of these professionals.

Based on the above, it should be recorded that this study aims to point out brief considerations about the importance of the curriculum in the education of health professionals, its reflexes and contributions to the realization of health education in the daily practice of these professionals.


The curriculum is a fundamental pillar for the implementation of training processes in the health area and, when we approach the theme, we stand before a multifaceted field, considering the multiple definitions that permeate the meaning of the curriculum.

The curriculum guides the teaching and learning processes and is structured in the face of an intentional logic, incorporating practices and establishing dialogue within its educational intentions, as Sacristán points out (2000, p. 15-16):

The curriculum is a praxis before a static object emanating from a coherent model of thinking about the education or the necessary learning of children and young people, which is not exhausted in the explicit part of the project of cultural socialization in schools. It is a practice, expression, of the socializing and cultural function that a given institution has, which regroups around it a series of subsystems or diverse practices, among which is the pedagogical practice developed in school institutions that we commonly call teaching. The curriculum is a practice in which dialogue is established, so to speak, between social agents, technical elements, students who react to it, teachers who model it.

The construction of comprehensive curricular projects is an important challenge for the desired training in the health field in Brazil, especially in the articulation and construction of knowledge that combines theory and practice, with the purpose of consolidating a curricular proposal aligned with the principles of the Unified Health System (SUS), in which students are able to act in health promotion , disease prevention and implement health education in services and other social spaces taking into account the organizational principles of the SUS.

Developing health education in the practice of professionals in this area requires cooperation and articulation between educational institutions, aiming at the reorganization of training processes within the National Curriculum Guidelines, through a curricular proposal that really meets the social demands of the population and the SUS, as ceccim and feuerwerker reports (2004, p. 58):

With technical, financial and/or operational cooperation for training institutions that are willing to enter into processes of change that lead to work articulated with the health system and with the population, the adoption of active teaching-learning methodologies and general training – critical and humanistic – could be provided, as predicted by NOB/RHSUS and the National Curriculum Guidelines, the development of guidance to the Unified Health System and the perspective of multiprofessionality and transdisciplinarity, under the reference of expansion of the health clinic (teamwork, comprehensive health care and accountability of management).

Thus, it is that health education is related to the learning process, whose intention is to ensure ways to achieve health, and for this to occur, educational processes are carried out according to the reality of each population involved, through a reflection under a given problem, provoking questions and creating opportunities to think about the problem; looking for alternatives for these demands to be solved according to the culture and local reality of each individual (OLIVEIRA; GONÇALVES, 2004).

To consolidate a teaching based on the reflexivity of students, it is necessary to build curricular projects that do not dissolve theory and practice and that seeks to combine teaching, research and extension, thus ensuring an integral formation, which understands the social aspects of the health-disease process, and the peculiarities of the SUS, as portrayed by Carvalho and Ceccim (2006, p. 149):

Discussing health education implies theme of teaching, particularly in the scope of graduation in the professions of this area. Undergraduate education, in health, has accumulated a tradition characterized by a format centered on content and a pedagogy of transmission, of disconnection between thematic nuclei; with excess workload for certain contents and low or zero offer of elective disciplines; of untying between teaching, research and extension, with an encyclopedic format and guidance on disease and rehabilitation. In the context of educational policies, undergraduate health has not had an integrative orientation between teaching and work, which is focused on a theoretical-conceptual and methodological training that enhances competencies for integrality, which includes coping with the population’s health needs and the development of the health system.

It is evident that it is necessary that curricular projects include teaching and learning mechanisms in which, since the beginning of graduation, there is an association between theory and practice and effective articulation between teaching, research and extension.

In many educational institutions, during their training, students have little contact with the social needs of communities, and this makes it difficult for them to understand how the health-disease process occurs, because students start to have contact with the community only in the final years of their education, which creates a barrier to deal with the various problems that permeate the work process in the health field and generates great difficulties to establish education processes according to the reality of each social group.

Thus, in recent years there has been great concern about how the training of health professionals happens, especially after the period of the Brazilian health reform, with the organization of movements engaged in the construction of new pedagogical possibilities of training, in order to propose changes in this model of training and in the way the health-disease phenomenon is understood. In the face of this discussion, some examples of mobilizations for the reformulation of education in the health area that dialogue with projects of training changes in this area were addressed, such as: i) incorporation of new tools for an integral training of health professionals, with integrated curricula, ii) projects of articulation between teaching-work, iii) construction of the National Curriculum Guidelines for health courses and iv) engagement of movements such as the United Network (CARVALHO; CECCIM, 2006).


There are numerous challenges encountered in the training of professionals in the field of health and these challenges permeate the need to build an integral curriculum, based on a humanist, critical and reflective pedagogy, with the need to combine an integrated teaching, which contemplates theory and practice, to the activities of teaching, research and extension and with the purpose of understanding the principles of the SUS.

Based on an integral curriculum based on diversity, students will be able to understand the issues that involve the health-disease dynamics and their social determinants, thus understanding the importance of health education as a means to present and discuss information and health problems with communities, according to the social, economic, political and cultural context.

Thus, a curricular proposal for the health area should intertwine knowledge and combine theory with practice, with the purpose of minimizing the fragmentation of knowledge, avoiding the mere repetition of theories and actions and articulating teaching, research and extension so that health education occurs in the performance of professionals in this area.


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[1] Master’s degree in Health Education from the State University of Mato Grosso do Sul-UEMS. PhD student in Health and Development in the Midwest region at the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul – UFMS.

Submitted: August, 2020

Approved: March, 2021.

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