Academic journal article Nursing and Health Care Perspectives

Moving toward a Model for Nursing Education and Practice

Academic journal article Nursing and Health Care Perspectives

Moving toward a Model for Nursing Education and Practice

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT Economic pressures have created the need for an educational system that prepares nurses to work in increasingly complex environments. Nursing leaders from one baccalaureate program and five community colleges in a rural area have worked cooperatively to examine external demands on nursing education. Their efforts culminated in the development of a shared philosophy, curricular design, and a model for nursing education and practice that is responsive to the ever-changing health care delivery system. This model focuses on a client's life-changing transitions and incorporates the professional nurse's role within the framework of the RN-NCLEX test plan blueprint.

Start with the spirit, Ever in transition. Integrate the knowledge. Consider the roles. Heal the whole person, Right where he is.

A model for nursing education and practice is born. This model, created by the efforts of nursing education leaders from one baccalaureate degree and five associate degree programs in rural Arizona, allows nursing to take the next step in its development as a profession and move toward an independent practice of healing. This innovative group of nurse faculty, known as the Healing Community, has brought articulation in nursing education to a new level. Inspired by the vision of a seamless transition from the associate to the baccalaureate degree, these educators developed a shared philosophy, crafted a curriculum design, and conceptualized a model for nursing education and practice that is responsive to the ever-changing health care delivery system.

The name Healing Community was adopted to reflect the collaborative efforts that typified work done by this group. As a result of their efforts, nursing education has been brought to rural communities through cooperative agreements in philosophy, curriculum, and faculty.

Colleagues in Caring Economic and marketplace pressures have created the need for an educational system that prepares nurses to work in increasingly complex environments. The changing settings for the delivery of health care necessitate larger numbers of nurses prepared to provide service in a variety of health care agencies in joint and independent practice. These nurses require advanced preparation to help control costs and meet the needs of diverse populations, such as the elderly and residents of rural areas.

Many opinions have been expressed regarding the types of educational preparation necessary to meet the evolving needs of the health care delivery system. The PEW Health Professions Commission Report of 1995 suggests that the baccalaureate degree is the professional level needed in community-based health care delivery systems that emphasize primary care (1). In 1996, the National Advisory Council on Nursing Education and Practice recommended that baccalaureate or higher degree nurses constitute two thirds of the basic nurse workforce (2).

A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Colleagues in Caring project in Arizona seeks to enhance the health and welfare of state residents by improving access to a nursing workforce prepared to meet the evolving needs and demands of the health care consumer and the health care system (3). Known as "Covered Lives and Seamless Systems: Nursing Workforce Development and Integration in Arizona's Managed Care Environment," this grant was awarded to the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association Educational Foundation. A critical component of the grant is the creation of a flexible nursing education infrastructure that can respond efficiently and effectively to identified consumer and employer needs.

Since 1996, nursing leaders from six schools of nursing -- Northern Arizona University, Arizona Western College, Central Arizona College, Northland Pioneer College, Mohave Community College, and Yavapai College -- have worked cooperatively as the Healing Community (HC). Their efforts having been directed toward examining external demands on nursing education and proposing and developing a new curriculum to meet those demands. …

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