Benner Wants to Transform Nursing Education
Nursing education needs some sweeping changes, according to Patricia Benner, PhD, RN, who spoke as part of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Centennial Lecture Series at Langford Auditorium last fall.
Benner, professor emerita in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, spoke extensively about her work findings from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching National Nursing Education Study, part of a larger project that also looked into teaching methods and student needs in the studies of clergy, engineering, law and medicine.
“We have fallen behind in that level of science — social science, natural sciences — that we are teaching at the undergraduate level,” said Benner. “The practice has become more complex and the answer has to be teaching a more situated clinical science, much like the Carnegie Study into medicine concluded.”
The comprehensive Carnegie Study determined that students need three apprenticeships, starting with a cognitive framework to foster knowledge of science, theory and principles required for practice. Additionally, a practice framework is needed that focuses on clinical reasoning and know-how in a clinical setting over time. Finally, nursing education needs a structure where the student learns to embody and enact the notions of “good” to the practice.