Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

A Measure to Evaluate Classroom Teaching Practices in Nursing

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

A Measure to Evaluate Classroom Teaching Practices in Nursing

Article excerpt

For decades, national leaders have called for reform in nursing education that goes beyond a simple reshuffling of nursing curricula and incorporates innovative pedagogy and evidence-based educational approaches (Bevis & Watson, 1989; National League for Nursing, 2003). As the knowledge required for 21st century nursing practice increases exponentially, the trend in nursing education to continually add content to an already content-laden curriculum is unsustainable (Ironside, 2004). Instead, nurse educators have argued that it is equally important to teach clinical judgment and thinking practices to prepare students to engage in lifelong learning and to function in a variety of roles in a multifaceted and complex health care system (Ironside; Tanner, 2000, 2006). Nurse educators with a renewed interest in education reform are focusing not only on what to teach, but also on the processes of teaching and learning.

Since the 1980s, many nursing programs have attempted to implement innovative changes. However, many of these attempts have not fully succeeded because they have failed to alter both curricular structures and learning processes, integrate evidence-based educational practices, and evaluate the impact of the changes (McNeill & Porter-O'Grady, 2007). Central to advancing the science of nursing education is the need to formally evaluate how changes in curricula and pedagogy affect student outcomes. Equally essential is the need to develop measurement tools that explicate the mechanisms through which pedagogy or program theory will achieve its desired outcomes.

The Oregon Consortium for Nursing Education (OCNE) is a partnership among eight community colleges and the five- campus state-supported Oregon Health Sciences University. OCNE has attempted to answer the call for educational reform by both creating a new curriculum (selection, organization, and sequencing of content) and advancing a pedagogy grounded in current advances in the science of learning and nursing education research (Tanner, Gubrud-Howe, & Shores, 2008). In addition, a comprehensive evaluation of the implementation of the OCNE curriculum and pedagogy is under way.

The OCNE curriculum is based upon 10 core competencies and established student benchmarks for each year of progression through the program (Tanner et al., 2008). Unlike traditional curricula organized around nursing specialties (e.g., pediatrics, medical-surgical, maternal-child), the integrated curriculum is organized around foci of care (e.g., health promotion, acute care, chronic care, end-of-life care) and cross- cutting competencies (population-based care, leadership, and outcomes management). During the development of the curriculum, faculty were intentional about identifying key concepts to be spiraled throughout the curriculum and about reducing content in order to promote deep learning.

The pedagogy adopted by OCNE faculty is designed to promote active engagement of learners. Faculty strive to reduce reliance on long, passive lectures and instead use active strategies such as student-directed learning activities, case-based instruction, and high-fidelity simulation (Benner, Sutphen, Leonard, & Day, 2010; Brown, Kirkpatrick, Greer, Matthias, & Swanson, 2009; Diekelmann & Smythe, 2004). The Figure provides a conceptual model of the OCNE nursing education redesign, including 10 OCNE core competencies and evidence- based teaching practices.

One of the unique features of OCNE is the collaboration of community college and four-year university faculty in the design and implementation of the shared curriculum. Eight community colleges and the five campuses of the Oregon Health Sciences University developed and implemented this shared curriculum and pedagogy. Table 1 provides the shared OCNE curriculum taught at all OCNE schools. At both the community colleges and the university, all nursing students complete the same courses through the first eight terms of the program. …

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