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Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation

ISBN: 978-0-470-45796-2
288 pages
December 2009, Jossey-Bass
Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation (0470457961) cover image


Praise for Educating Nurses

"This book represents a call to arms, a call for nursing educators and programs to step up in our preparation of nurses. This book will incite controversy, wonderful debate, and dialogue among nurses and others. It is a must-read for every nurse educator and for every nurse that yearns for nursing to acknowledge and reach for the real difference that nursing can make in safety and quality in health care."
Beverly Malone, chief executive officer, National League for Nursing

"This book describes specific steps that will enable a new system to improve both nursing formation and patient care. It provides a timely and essential element to health care reform."
David C. Leach, former executive director, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education

"The ideas about caregiving developed here make a profoundly philosophical and intellectually innovative contribution to medicine as well as all healing professions, and to anyone concerned with ethics. This groundbreaking work is both paradigm-shifting and delightful to read."
Jodi Halpern, author, From Detached Concern to Empathy: Humanizing Medical Practice

"This book is a landmark work in professional education! It is a must-read for all practicing and aspiring nurse educators, administrators, policy makers, and, yes, nursing students."
Christine A. Tanner, senior editor, Journal of Nursing Education

"This work has profound implications for nurse executives and frontline managers."
Eloise Balasco Cathcart, coordinator, Graduate Program in Nursing Administration, New York University

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Table of Contents



The Authors.


PART ONE: Transformation, Crisis, and Opportunity.

1. A Profession Transformed.

2. Teaching and Learning in Clinical Situations.

3. Teaching and Learning in the Classroom and Skills Lab.

4. A New Approach to Nursing Education.

PART TWO: Teaching for a Sense of Salience.

5. Paradigm Case: Diane Pestolesi, Practitioner and Teacher.

6. Strategies for Teaching for a Sense of Salience.

PART THREE: Integrative Teaching for Clinical Imagination.

7. Paradigm Case: Lisa Day, Classroom and Clinical Instructor.

8. Developing a Clinical Imagination.

9. Connecting Classroom and Clinical Through Integrative Teaching and Learning.

PART FOUR: Teaching for Moral Imagination.

10. Paradigm Case: Sarah Shannon, Nurse Ethicist.

11. Being a Nurse.

12. Formation from a Critical Stance.

PART FIVE: A Call for Radical Transformation.

13. Improving Nursing Education at the Program Level.

Appendix: Methods for the Carnegie National Nursing Education Study.



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Author Information

Patricia Benner directs The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's Study of Nursing Education and is professor emerita at the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing. She is a nursing educator and author of From Novice to Expert: Excellence and Power in Nursing Practice and other notable books on nursing practice and education.

Molly Sutphen is on the faculty at the University of California, San Francisco and codirector of ?The Carnegie Foundation's Study of Nursing Education. She is a historian who has published widely on nursing education and the history of international health.

Victoria Leonard is a former nurse educator in maternal child nursing and health policy. Currently, she is a family nurse practitioner and child care health consultant at the UCSF California Childcare Health Program.

Lisa Day is a former nurse educator in critical care, acute care nursing, and ethics. Currently, she is a clinical nurse specialist for neuroscience and critical care at UCSF Medical Center. She authors the ethics column for the American Journal of Critical Care.

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Press Release

January 29, 2010
Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation

The shortage of well-educated nurses has been part of the nation’s health care conversation, with policy leaders as well as President Obama noting the essential role nurses play in ensuring patient safety. The President called them “the bedrock” of health care. Now, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is calling for changes in how we educate nurses, referring both to the current nursing shortage and that nurses are ill-prepared for the profound changes in science, technology and the nature and settings of nursing practice. Informed by the results of three national surveys and extended site visits during a multi-year study, the authors of Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation recommend essential changes in policy, curriculum and in the way nursing programs approach student learning.

“We believe that the enormous pressures on today’s nursing profession—the chaotic U.S. health care system and the economic forces that drive it, shortage in the ranks of nurses, shortage of nursing educators, multiple pathways to the profession that discourage rather than encourage practicing nurses to complete post licensure degrees—threaten to compromise nurses’ ability to practice state-of-the-art nursing and enact the profession’s core values of care and responsibility,” the authors write.

Among the recommendations are:

  • that the baccalaureate degree in nursing should be the minimal educational level for entry into practice and that within ten years after graduation that all nurses complete a master’s degree in nursing
  • that nursing program capacities have to be expanded so that students can complete nursing programs in a reasonable amount of time and that the associate of nursing degree from community colleges be re-evaluated in light of the extended amount of time most student nurses spend in completing these nursing programs
  • that coursework be tied to what actually happens in patient care rather than in the abstract, helping students make the connection between acquiring and using knowledge, integrating the classroom with clinical practice
  • that nurses are prepared for the myriad contexts in which they will work, not merely a hospital setting.

 “Redesigning nursing education is an urgent societal agenda," the authors write. "The profound changes in nursing practice and health care call for equally profound changes in the education of nurses and the preparation of nurse educators. Unfortunately, the current climate rewards short-term focus and cost-savings over the quality of nursing education and patient care.”

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