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Radical Transformation? Mission POSSIBLE! (1st in a series)

By December 13, 2013February 2nd, 2019No Comments

Transformation Possible

If a lowly caterpillar can be radically transformed into a beautiful butterfly, is there any good reason why this same needed transformation cannot take place in nursing education? Many of you have read Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation feeling overwhelmed and wondering how to practically make these needed changes in your program.

Before I go into some practical steps to transform nursing education based on the Carnegie Foundation research from Educating Nurses in upcoming blogs in this series, first we must learn from the powerful example of transformation in nature, the metamorphosis of a grounded caterpillar to a soaring butterfly!

Once the caterpillar hatches, it must grow 100x their initial size. Therefore their primary purpose is to feed on the right food as much as possible to accomplish this objective. By the end of the summer it is time for the 3rd step of transformation, turning into a pupa or chrysalis. This can last a month or up to 2 years depending on the species.

The final step is the butterfly in all its beauty and splendor. Transformation realized! So what does this mean for those who are nurse educators? Let me outline some steps that I have observed as relevant from my own journey:

  1. You have to spend some time eating the right food! The food I have in mind are those resources that will help you gain a deeper understanding of clinical reasoning. You must start with Educating Nurses to lay a strong foundation to see the big picture.Then build on that with Clinical Wisdom and Interventions in Acute and Clinical Care by Benner, Kyriakidis & Stannard. I have the highest regard and respect for the wisdom and contributions that Patricia Benner has made to nursing in our generation! Both of these are must reads for any nurse educator to see “nurse thinking” developed in your students.
  2. Give it time! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and transformation takes time! There must be a sense of urgency, and steps of change need to begin ASAP, but do not rush this time of incubation or you may abort what could have been. Get your faculty team on the SAME PAGE by reading these books together.If your program insists on “evidence based practice” as being the standard for students, how much more for nurse educators! The educational research in Educating Nurses is EVIDENCE BASED, therefore it must be EMBRACED! This must trump any personal concerns or other reasons that faculty have who are unwilling to see the light!

Just as it can take up to 2 years for a pupa to transform, any paradigm change typically takes 1-2 years to work out the “bumps”(Concept based curriculum is an excellent example of this!) Therefore, once you have a vision of transformation, stay the course, make adjustments and know that the benefit of “nurse thinking” to your students is worth it all!

Closing questions:

It’s now your turn to start a conversation that we all can contribute to!

  • What barriers did you encounter as you made needed transformational change to your content/program?
  • How did you overcome those barriers to bring lasting change?

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