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It’s Time for a Revolution!

By February 20, 2014February 2nd, 2019No Comments

I believe that transformation can be realized in nursing education, and I know I am not alone! Patricia Benner and the co-authors of Educating Nurses: A Call for RADICAL TRANSFORMATION (emphasis mine!) have shown us the way. Are you willing to join me and follow their lead?

Todays blog topic…The time is now to take a stand and make a declaration to transform nursing education!

It’s Time for a Revolution!

I am not advocating a violent overthrow of any kind, but only to learn from the example of our nation’s history and what led our founding fathers to declare their independence from Great Britain in 1776, so we too can make a similar stand in nursing academia today.

The 13 colonies were already at war when The Declaration justified the independence of the United States by listing colonial grievances against King George III, and by asserting a right of revolution. This right to revolution is the right of people of a nation to overthrow a government that acts against their common interests.

The Declaration of Independence begins:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

What does this aspect of American history have to do with nursing education?


In nursing education we too are already engaged in a battle and are at war. The front lines of this battle is over the need to TRANSFORM or not to TRANSFORM to prepare our students for professional practice. Do we hold on to the vestiges and bondages of the past that include an emphasis of NANDA nursing diagnostic taxonomy to establish care priorities, and an emphasis of CONTENT heavy curriculum vs APPLIED learning that includes an emphasis of clinical reasoning.

Some programs and faculty have heard the call to declare their independance from the past, but NANDA and content heavy curriculum will not go down without a fight. Our American history bears this out, and for those brave faculty that are willing to take a stand to do things differently have likely been overtly or covertly “sniped” and “shot” by colleagues.

My List of Grievances

Just as the founding fathers outlined their specific grievances against King George III, these are the current grievances of the failures of nursing education that others besides me have cried out against:

  1. Over emphasis of NANDA nursing diagnostic statements to establish care priorities (1)
  2. Under emphasis of clinical reasoning (2)
  3. Over emphasis of content (2)
  4. Under emphasis of  application of content to the bedside (2)
  5. Patient outcomes impacted including needless deaths due to resistance to make needed change

When the unalienable right to LIFE is impacted because of the current status quo in nursing academia, as educators we have a moral imperative and duty to a “right to revolution” and no longer stand idly by.

Just as the beginning of this great nation began with a document, I too have crafted a document that every one of you can download, sign, post proudly in your office and use as a discussion point in your next staff meeting. I have titled this document “A Declaration to Transform Nursing Education” and contains the paradigm shifts from Educating Nurses as well as my own observations as a nurse educator:

“A Declaration to Transform Nursing Education”

When in the course of human events, it becomes apparent that nursing education is in need of a radical transformation to promote the learning of our students and to be adequately prepared for clinical practice, I commit to use all of the resources available to me and to influence those around me to be a part of this needed change.

     We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all nursing students are created equal, and deserve to be prepared for real world practice by the time they leave our nursing program. In order to accomplish this essential objective, I commit to implementing the following best practice standards founded in educational research and professional practice:

  1. I will emphasize and encourage the “art” of nursing that is defined as caring, empathy, and nurse engagement.
  2. I will decrease classroom content and will contextualize nursing concepts that are most relevant to my topic.
  3. I will use active learning strategies consistently in my classroom including the use of clinical reasoning case studies so students can practice critical/clinical thinking.
  4. I will embrace clinical reasoning as a pedagogy that promotes nurse thinking and will situate this in my classroom and clinical settings.
  5. I will  allow nursing priorities  to be situated in new ways in addition to NANDA nursing diagnostic statements.
  6. I will treat my colleagues as I would want to be treated, and commit myself to direct, respectful communication and behavior at all times.
  7. I will work to remove barriers that influence the success of ethnic minorities and men in our program.

  I embrace the responsibility of preparing the next generation of nurses for professional practice and will hold myself to the highest standards to promote their learning, which will then lead to better outcomes for the patient’s they care for.

Click the link in the title to download this document.

For the sake of what is at stake, it is my hope and prayer that you will take your stand and enlist others to join you in this battle to transform nursing education!

Next week…I will address each of these transformational paradigm shifts with the goal of making them practical and attainable!

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Comment question: What have been the barriers in your program to needed transformation and have you been successful in overcoming them?

1 . Del Bueno, D. (2005). “A Crisis in Critical Thinking,” Nursing Education Perspectives26(5), 278-282.
2. Benner, P., Sutphen, M., Leonard, V., & Day, L. (2010). Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass


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