A curriculum refers to the combination of learning experiences, instructional methods and practices which are designed to meet a set of learning outcomes in nursing. In nursing a curriculum creates a framework for scholarly and creative education process that seeks to make nurses evidence-informed, using a context relevant and unified approach to deliver the required nursing competencies (Keating, 2014, p. 182). There are different nursing curriculums adopted by various schools and states depending on their expected outcomes within the nursing practice. The type of a curriculum adopted in nursing plays a significant role on the overall experience of the nurses undergoing learning in an institution and can affect the quality of care delivered depending on the scope and courses included in the curriculum (Keating, 2014, p. 183). This paper will review and analyze the concept-based nursing curriculum to establish its framework, concepts and the nursing outcomes delivered by using the model as an instructional approach for nurses.
Historical Development of Concept-Based Nursing Curriculum
In today's nursing environment nurses are required to be equipped with necessary information to navigate through the contemporary nursing challenges and deliver evidence-based care (Baron, 2017). Over the years many theories and nursing outcomes have arisen which made the traditional nursing curriculum ineffective in delivering required nursing knowledge to promote evidence-based nursing as well as critical thinking amongst nurses. Previous models have been strict which reduced their reliability in a changing nursing care environment and patient-based care environment which require nurses to be able to develop care plans based on the patient needs. Curriculum development plays a significant role in ensuring that nurses are prepared to face the ever-changing nursing care needs and challenges (Baron, 2017). The traditional nursing curriculum involves high repetition and was not flexible enough to accommodate contemporary learning needs.
Today's nurses need a generalist approach to be able to transfer acquired knowledge into practice. Previously, nursing curriculums have relied on passive learning where memorization and fragmentation of knowledge which encouraged shallow teaching (Kaylor, 2014). The primary challenge of the diagnosis based curriculum was the inability of the nurses to develop care plans for patients because lab results and diagnosis were required. Therefore, the concept based nursing curriculum seeks to teach students materials that apply to current nursing conditions to ensure evidence-based care and facilitate patient-centred care plans. The concept based nursing curriculum equips nurses with critical thinking and collaboration-oriented attitudes in care to deliver high-quality patient care in different nursing paradigms (Lee & Willson, 2018). Today's environment required more empowered nurses who can make decisions depending on the prevailing nursing condition which led to the development of a concept-based nursing curriculum in nursing education institutions.
Major Concepts of the Concept Based Nursing Curriculum
A concept-based curriculum is a teaching approach that seeks to enhance learning while eliminating the need for nursing students to be overloaded with facts memorization (Kaylor, 2014). The curriculum allows critical thinking and links classroom knowledge to didactic setting lessons in clinical practice (Keating, 2014, p. 98). Unlike the content based traditional curriculum the concept-based curriculum seeks to enable nursing institutions to be able to meet the contemporary challenges in nursing by enhancing the practice competency content and at the same time improving the ability of students to retain information (Lee & Willson, 2018). The new concept-based nursing curriculum seeks to ensure that nurses can be able to practice conceptually by literally focusing on providing care regardless of the patient diagnosis. The changes in technology and the inability of the nursing schools to teach all the content makes the concept based learning curriculum in nursing more effective because it allows easy synthesis and transfer of knowledge across clinical situations (Lee & Willson, 2018). The curriculum helps students to have a more active role in learning mostly using the flipped classroom approach of instruction which increases the ability of learners to internalize and retain critical concepts for application in different case scenarios. Besides, the concept-based curriculum helps to eliminate content redundancies across nursing courses and allows students to be able to see a pattern across different nursing concepts as well as anticipate risks (Lee & Willson, 2018). Unlike the content-based curriculum, the concept based approach enables nursing institutions to introduce clinical reasoning enhancing courses and diversify the scope of education to help nurses to meet the contemporary competency needs.
The Professional Standards, Guidelines, and Competencies in CBC
The concept based professional standard is to improve the nurse's clinical reasoning through critical thinking. The curriculum seeks to develop nurses who are open-minded and can apply different nursing concepts across different clinical scenarios (Baron, 2017). The curriculum aims to establish diverse knowledge which will help nurses to be able to deliver care under different continuums (Baron, 2017). The curriculum has expanded the ability of the nurses to offer patient-centered care which is crucial towards achieving high quality while ensuring that nurses can be able to collaborate and solve contemporary care challenges that previously could not be addressed through a fixated approach developed by the traditional curriculum that is based on large content memorization (Lee & Willson, 2018). The concept-based curriculum has helped to bridge between nursing theory and practice by ensuring that nurses can think critically regarding clinical challenges they encounter.
Concept-Based Nursing Curriculum Theoretical Framework
Flipped Learning Approach
The pedagogical approach of delivering education content plays a significant role in the success of the overall nursing curriculum. The concept based nursing curriculum seeks to ensure that nursing students retain the content through a flipped classroom approach (Lew, 2016). The pedagogical approach involves introducing the learning material before the actual classes with the classroom lessons being used to deepen the learners understanding and application of the concepts in imagery scenarios. This approach of pedagogical delivery is vital towards ensuring that nurses retain concepts for long term applications and encourage clinical reasoning by setting problem-based activities where peers discuss solutions together (Lew, 2016). Therefore, the concept based nursing curriculum encourage active learning and participation of the nurses in creating solutions through critical thinking (Keating, 2014, p. 98).
Diverse Concepts Derived Curriculum
The concept based nursing curriculum makes it possible to include different concepts for study by nurses by ensuring high relevancy and application in the nursing environment (Lee & Willson, 2018). The concepts such as leadership, patient-centred care, evidence-based care, patient safety, ethics in nursing care, and interdisciplinary collaboration can easily be incorporated in the concept-based curriculum which is critical in improving the overall competency of the nurses. Besides, the curriculum establishes a connection between different concepts which makes it easy to implement them in different scenarios without the limitation of the nursing processes that previously limited the capacity of the nurses to provide care. The model requires concept mapping to ensure that all the concepts are integrated into the curriculum as well as planning where the concept will be developed and how the students will master it for application in clinical nursing (McInnis-Perry, 2014).
Student Learning Outcomes of the Concept-Based Curriculum
The initial outcome of the concept-based nursing curriculum is to increase the capacity of nurses to think critically which enhances their ability to implement evidence-based care, care ethics, and promote patient safety (Keating, 2014, P. 62). The model enables nursing students to acquire a link between didactic lessons and clinical experiences overtime to produce highly responsive nurses to clinical scenarios. The curriculum mapping has played a very significant role in critical thinking achievement in the concept-based curriculum because it allows the integration of different concepts which nurses can infer from and make correct critical judgements (Lisko & O'dell, 2010, p. 106).
Active Student Participation
The concept based curriculum encourages active participation of the student nurses during the pedagogical delivery as well as generating new observations which are key in ensuring critical thinking by promoting the integration of different concepts (Lee & Willson, 2018). Active participation in learning nurses plays an essential role in the overall nursing environment by ensuring that nurses can work in collaboration with other healthcare personnel. Skills acquired during peer exercises which involve group-based discussions on concept applications on artificial scenarios are vital in developing communication and listening skills which are necessary for successful nursing practice.
The Process to Update the Curriculum Healthcare Knowledge
Evidence-Based Teaching and Concept Mapping
Evidence-based teaching refers to the use of findings from clinical research and other knowledge in nursing education practices. The concept-based curriculum requires an update of new health care knowledge to enrich the existing concept and to make them responsive to contemporary nursing challenges (Oermann, 2013, p. 304). Education principles that are to be included in the concept based nursing curriculum should be from rigorous research before they can be updated in the curriculum through concept mapping (McInnis-Perry, 2014, p. 18). The evidence-based teaching involves four major phases which include; i) Assessment of the educational concepts in the curriculum to establish the need for evidence to guide instruction. ii) Researching for the research studies to develop education practices. iii) Assessing evidence quality. iv) Deciding whether the new healthcare knowledge can be introduced in the existing concepts or as a new concept (Oermann, 2013, p. 305). After the consideration of the new healthcare knowledge potential to fit in the concept-based curriculum, a concept map should be developed to ensure that the new knowledge aligns into the existing curriculum concepts.
A concept based nursing curriculum is an excellent approach to enrich nursing education through evidence-based concepts, patient safety, and nursing leadership. The curriculum plays a significant role in guiding nursing education to ensure that nurses are equipped with the necessary critical thinking skills to meet contemporary healthcare challenges. The concept-based nursing teaching curriculum is easy to update with new healthcare knowledge through concept planning and also supports evidence-based teaching.
Baron, K. A. (2017). Changing to Concept-Based Curricula: The Process for Nurse Educators. The open nursing journal, 11, 277. Retrieved from Doi: 10.2174/1874434601711010277
Kaylor, S. K. (2014). Preventing information overload: Cognitive load theory as an instructional framework for teaching pharmacology. Journal of Nursing Education, 53(2), 108-111.
Keating, S. B. M. E. R. (Ed.). (2014). Cur...
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