Knowledge Development for Master Teachers

Article excerpt


The discipline of nursing borrows much knowledge from basic sciences, human science, and education. Knowledge development for master teachers in nursing education is based on nursing's epistemological and ontological foundations. The concept of expert practice in nursing education is discussed. Ways of knowing in nursing as they relate to development of master teachers are explored. Ideas for developing master teachers in nursing are proposed.

Key Words: epistemology, expertise, master teacher, ontology

The National League for Nursing (NLN) (2005) called for developing a scientific basis for nursing education. Nursing's knowledge base, which is influenced by many philosophical worldviews and conceptual foundations for practice, may be expanded and applied to die science of nursing education.

The discipline of nursing borrows much knowledge from basic sciences, human sciences, and education. Academic nursing education builds upon that foundation to develop a unique body of knowledge to answer questions posed in preparing nurses to practice and developing a scholarship of teaching. NLN's (2005) call to reform challenges nurse educators to validate die effectiveness of current teaching-learning practices and explore innovative strategies grounded in evidence-based practice (Diekelmann & Ironside, 2002; Pratt, Boll, & Collins, 2007). Answering this call to reform will require research reflecting the unique phenomena of nursing education (Barrett, 2002).

The demand for qualified nursing educators to develop this scientific knowledge base exceeds supply (NLN, 2006). The critical shortage of qualified educators affects die number of nurses in practice, and die impending retirement of expert teachers may hinder development of a scholarship of teaching and die continued development of nursing's knowledge base. Several strategies have been proposed for recruiting and retaining academic nurse educators, including advanced education, specialized preparation for the teaching role, and mentoring. Loss of master teachers profoundly diminishes opportunities for novice educators to receive expert mentoring and guidance as they develop dieir own expertise. The qualities and practices of master teachers in nursing must be identified in order to develop future experts in nursing education.

This article advances the science of nursing education by exploring the generation of nursing knowledge and the integration of epistemology and ontology in development of practice expertise. Development of master teachers in nursing education is compared to Carper's ways of knowing and Benner's principles of expertise acquisition.

Nursing Science & Philosophy

Nursing science or empirics is concerned with developing and testing dieories (Carper, 1978) and is often considered die work of nurse researchers. Scientific findings are only one component of nursing's knowledge base, which also includes ediical, aesdietic, and personal knowledge gained through die practice of nursing (Carper). Munhall (1993) proposed a paradoxical pattern or knowing: Unknowing is the awareness that a nurse does not and cannot know or understand everything about a patient's situation. Unknowing challenges die confidence in what one knows empirically, ethically, aesdietically, and personally. These patterns of knowing are interrelated and interdependent within die context of nursing practice, and they culminate in die emancipatory knowledge gained through praxis (Chinn & Kramer, 2008).

Praxis is the performance and application of practice within a discipline. As an action, praxis signifies more than knowledge and is demonstrated in nursing ontology as ways of being (Silva, Sorrell, & Sorrell, 1995). Idczak (2007) describes nurse-patient interactions as "die heart of nursing" (p. 67). Through interactions with patients, nurses experience nursing as a way of being and what it means to be a nurse (Idczak). …