More than 500 people gathered recently at the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore to hear Patricia Benner, RN, PhD, FAAN, one of nursings preeminent educators and theorists, present strategies that could reshape the way nurses are taught.
Benner offered findings and recommendations from the National Nursing Education Study the first of its kind in more than 30 years released last year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It revealed a need to update the content and process for educating nurses to keep pace with advances in science, technology and clinical practice.
The study lauded nursing for strong clinical learning and being effective in helping students develop a sense of professional identity. However, the classroom is in really bad shape, Benner, director of the research project, said in a news release.
She said Carnegie found uneven and inadequate teaching, evidence-based literature searching and questioning weak, too much teaching of testing strategy and almost no interdisciplinary teaching.
The project recommends what Benner called a major shift in nursing education from abstract theoretical classroom teaching to teaching for a sense of salience.
By focusing on the relevancy of the content and contextualizing it, she said, students are absolutely engaged because they know they are rehearsing for their practice.
Benner is a professor emerita at the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing, and co-author of a book on the Carnegie report, Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation. She also is the author of Novice to Expert: Excellence and Power in Nursing Practice.