Taking the Leap to Concept-Based Learning

Nursing programs are increasingly adopting a concept-based curriculum model to reduce content repetition and help students acquire and apply the critical thinking and reasoning skills so essential for practice settings today.

Major academic institutions – including the Institute of Medicine, National League for Nursing, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and the Carnegie Foundation – have all called for profound changes in how nursing students are educated in order to address the realities of 21st-century health care.

Benefits of a Concept-Based Curriculum:

  • Helps students take a more active role in their learning using the “flipped classroom” model of instruction.
  • Streamlines content and eliminates content redundancies across courses.
  • Enables faculty to teach clinical reasoning skills more easily.
  • Helps students apply concepts from one situation to another and make connections between those concepts.
  • Encourages students to see patterns across concepts and use those patterns to deliver care and anticipate risks.

The potential benefits of a concept-based curriculum are extensive. But transitioning takes work both educators and students must adjust the way they teach and learn to effectively implement the model.

But don’t just take our word for it. We asked some of our nursing educators with expertise in concept-based curriculum design to provide their insights. Hear their stories below:

“Concept-based learning was a way to ensure our students were becoming the types of nurses most in-demand by the health care industry today. We took the leap into concept-based curriculum, and it absolutely paid off in spades.”

–Catherine Freeman,

Department Head/Director of the Associated Degree Nursing Program, Western Piedmont Community College

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