“Classroom teachers must step out from behind the screen full of slides and ENGAGE students in clinic like learning experiences that ask them to learn to use knowledge and practice thinking in changing situations.”
Patricia Benner, Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation

If you have read Educating Nurses–A Call for Radical Transformation and have been overwhelmed as you consider what to do next to PRACTICALLY TRANSFORM nursing education in your program, you are not alone! After reading Educating Nurses over winter break 3 years ago, I realized I needed to begin TRANSFORMATIONAL change NOW and spent the remainder of my break reworking my content to implement the paradigm changes that were the result of educational research done by the Carnegie Foundation.

In a nutshell, Educating Nurses made it clear that the classroom needs to be TRANSFORMED and the following must be done to prepare nursing students for real-world clinical practice:

  1. Emphasize DEEP learning of most important content
  2. Contextualize content to clinical practice
  3. Decrease reliance on passive pedagogies such as PowerPoint
  4. Emphasize clinical reasoning as “nurse thinking” throughout
  5. Provide opportunities to PRACTICE clinical reasoning in the classroom

Tools of Transformation (See below for additional details)

  1. Article: Think like a Nurse: Transforming Nursing Education So Our Graduates Are Prepared for Professional Practice
  2. Article: Care Like a Nurse!
  3. Handout: Declaration to Transform Nursing Education (see my blog link for more details. Sign this document and enlist as an agent of radical transformation!
  4. Handout: Does your program use DocuCare? Build my clinical reasoning case studies into DocuCare to maximize student learning using this handout!

Helping our StudentsTHINK like a Nurse!

As I implemented these paradigm changes in my classroom I hit a few speed bumps but was able to overcome them. I have written an article titled “Think like a Nurse: Transforming Nursing Education So Our Graduates Are Prepared for Professional Practice” ($5 download for this and 20 other resources), to help other educators take this needed next step.

Caring & Compassion
Though not addressed in Educating Nurses, another emphasis that I feel is in danger of being eroded in nursing education is the ethic of caring and compassion. Though caring continues to be seen as central to our profession, it is NOT consistently integrated and intentionalized in the curriculum.

I have used Kristen Swanson’s Middle Range Theory of Caring  to practically situate caring in the clinical setting. In addition to a care plan, my students developed a “plan of caring.” I have written an article Care Like a Nurse! ($5 download for this and 20 other resources) that will help any educator develop practical strategies to emphasize caring in your content.

I have developed this theme more deeply in my link: Teaching Caring. Please check it out!