Taking Conceptual Learning to the Bedside: Putting Concepts into Practice

Tola Plusnick, Weatherford College

Fall 2016

All nursing school teaching aims to produce graduates skilled at thinking in the practice environment. As the nature of nursing practice continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of patients, many nursing school faculty and individuals involved in developing curricula have increasingly turned to the teaching of concepts—“key ideas used to organize knowledge, facts, and skills” (Giddens, 2015)—to better prepare their students to become professional nurses. This approach can bridge the gap between what they learn in the classroom and what they should expect to apply in the field.

Weatherford College’s Tola Plusnick, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and active participant in the Texas Nursing Concept-Based Curriculum Consortium, took a lead role at her institution’s wide-ranging effort to transition from a primarily block- or content-based curriculum to a fully integrated concept-driven curriculum. A large part of the success of that transformation has been the extension of conceptual learning into the clinical training arena. Based on her experience, Plusnick believes clinical is the perfect environment for getting students thinking about how to practice conceptually.

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