Welcome and thank you for your interest in joining me and many other nurses and nurse educators in revitalizing and transforming nursing education. We have done an amazing job in getting much needed research and research infrastructure in Nursing over the past 35 years; essential and outstanding accomplishments of many dedicated nurse scholars! Now it is time to also develop that other side of our stewardship of nursing by focusing on transforming nursing education and providing preparation for teaching in every graduate program in nursing.
All graduate programs need to provide discipline specific teaching and learning strategies for all graduate level nurses. The best teachers have a deep understanding of their discipline. As Aristotle stated, teaching is the highest form of scholarship. This statement is true because a deep understanding of the ends of practice, the structure, function, process and content of the discipline are all required for masterful teaching. The best understanding of the discipline also produces the most relevant and high impact research in the discipline. If we teach the discipline of nursing poorly, then we cannot hope to produce the level of practitioners and scholars that are so desperately needed to move nursing forward to meet today’s challenges of health care reform with increased access to health care for all.
I am happy to begin our journey with the findings from the Carnegie Foundation National Nursing Education Study and the rich illustration of the master teachers presented in the book Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation. Benner, P., Sutphen, M., Leonard, V., Day, L.. (2009) San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass and Carnegie Foundation.
Each of the master teachers featured in the study and in the videos on this site, has solved major practical problems in nursing education. They integrate classroom and clinical teaching, knowledge acquisition and knowledge use, and the three professional education apprenticeships: The Cognitive, the Practice and Clinical Reasoning, and Ethical formation and comportment. You will also find the insights of the co-authors of this work enlightening as they synthesize their understandings from participating in all phases of the study.
My metaphor for teaching is hiking up a mountain a number of times, and then looking back down the mountain from all directions and then helping other hikers-learners discover which trail would work best for them. My teaching should increase access and mastery of the student so that they can learn more, accomplish more, be more skillful than I as a practitioner.
I trust that this site and the dialogue that it creates will stimulate new conversations, and new research on discipline specific nursing education. I look forward to the synergy and growth that learning about innovative approaches from one another can bring. –Patricia Benner