Philosophical Concept of Human Being, Teaching/Learning In Nursing Education For Curriculum Development

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Nursing Education For Curriculum Development and Philosophical Concept of Human Being, Teaching/Learning

Philosophical Concept of Human Being, Teaching/Learning In Nursing Education For Curriculum Development

Philosophical View of Human Beings  In Nursing Education While Developing Curriculum, Philosophical View of Teaching/Learning In Nursing Education While Developing Curriculum, Purpose of a Statement of Philosophy In Nursing Education While Developing Curriculum, Developing or Refining the School of Nursing’s Statement of Philosophy While Developing Curriculum.

Philosophical View of Human Beings  In Nursing Education While Developing Curriculum

    Human Beings We believe that the dignity of each human being is to be respected and nurtured, and embracing our diversity affirms, respects, and celebrates the uniqueness of each person. 

    We believe that each human being is a unique expression of attributes, behaviors, and values which are influenced by his or her environment, social norms, cultural values, physical characteristics, experiences, religious beliefs, and practices. We also believe that human beings exist in relation to one another, including families, communities, and populations .

Philosophical View of Teaching/Learning In Nursing Education While Developing Curriculum

    We believe that our purpose is to develop nurse leaders in practice, education, administration, and research by focusing on students’ intellectual growth and development as adults committed to high ethical standards and full participation in their communities. 

    We recognize that it is the responsibility of all individuals to assume ownership of and responsibility for ongoing learning and to continually refine the skills that facilitate critical inquiry for lifelong learning.

    Duke University School of Nursing promotes an intellectual environment that is built on a commitment to free and open inquiry and is a center of excellence for the promotion of scholarship and advancement of nursing science, practice, and education. 

    We affirm that it is the responsibility of faculty to create and nurture academic initiatives that strengthen our engagement of real world issues by anticipating new models of knowledge formation and applying knowledge to societal issues. 

    This, we believe, equips students with the necessary cognitive skills, clinical reasoning, clinical imagination, professional identity, and commitment to the values of the profession that are necessary to function as effective and ethical nurse leaders in situations that are underdetermined, contingent, and changing over time.

Purpose of a Statement of Philosophy In Nursing Education While Developing Curriculum

    Given that “w” is hard work, takes time, and may lead to substantial debates among faculty, one may ask, “Why bother?” Perhaps part of the answer to that question lies in a statement made by Alexander Astin, a noted educational scholar whose seminal study (1997) of more than 20,000 students, 25,000 faculty members, and 200 institutions helped educators better understand who our students are; what is important to them; what they value; what they think about teachers; how they change and develop in college; and how academic programs, faculty, student peer groups, and other variables affect students’ development and college experiences. 

    Although Astin’s original research was completed nearly 20 years ago and focused on traditional-age students enrolled, typically, on a full-time basis  thereby not fully reflecting today’s student population the following comment has relevance for this discussion of why faculty need to “bother” with philosophy: “The problems of strengthening and reforming American higher education are fundamentally problems of values” [emphasis added] (Astin, 1997, p. 127).

    Engaging in serious discussions about beliefs and values about human beings, society and environment, health, nurses and nursing, and education challenges faculty to search for points of congruence, brings to the surface points of incongruence or difference, and highlights what is truly important to the group. 

    In a time when nursing faculty are struggling to minimize content overload and focus more on core concepts, gaining clarity about what is truly important can be helpful in deciding “what to leave in and what to leave out” of the curriculum.

    Such exercises also help faculty minimize or avoid what is often referred to as the “hidden curriculum” (Adler et al., 2006; D’eon et al., 2007; Gofton & Regehr, 2006; Smith, 2013) by ensuring that faculty are fully aware of and committed to upholding certain beliefs and values in how they interact with and what they expect of students and one another. 

    Such agreement and consistency is likely to avoid having three components to the curriculum: “what is planned for the students, what is delivered to the students, and what the students experience” (Prideaux, as cited in Ozolins et al., 2008, p. 606). 

    For example, the plan may be to help students think of themselves as evolving scholars; what is delivered is little more than content about the research process or evidence-based practice; and what is experienced by students is minimal discussion by faculty of their own scholarly activities and how they think of themselves as scholars. 

    When what is delivered to and experienced by students does not match what was planned for them, confusion can reign, due process can be challenged, and the relationships between students and teachers can be irreparably damaged. Thus having clear statements of values to which all faculty agree to subscribe can serve a most practical, as well as philosophical, purpose.

Developing or Refining the School of Nursing’s Statement of Philosophy While Developing Curriculum

    Developing or refining the school’s statement of philosophy, while important and valuable, is far from easy. It takes time and effort and is not to be taken lightly. But just how does a group of faculty go about developing a philosophical statement for the school and getting “buyin” on it? 

    As expected, there are no formulas or step-by-step guidelines on how to go about doing this work, but some examples (Colley, 2012; Snyder, 2014; Thistlethwaite et al., 2014) and suggestions for a process may be helpful.

    One approach to engaging in this work may include reflecting on the nursing theories that have been developed to determine if any of them capture the essence of faculty beliefs. 

    For example, if faculty are in agreement that human beings are self determining individuals who want to take responsibility for their own health and need specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes to do whatever is required to maintain, regain, or improve their health, then Orem’s (1971) self care nursing model may be evident in that school’s statement of philosophy. 

    Likewise, Roy’s (1980) adaptation model may be reflected in the philosophical statement of a school where the faculty believe that a central challenge to individuals and families is to adapt to their environments and circumstances, and that the role of the nurse is to facilitate that adaptation. 

    Finally, if the concept of caring is essential to a third group of faculty, their philosophy may clearly be congruent with Watson’s (2008) theory of human caring.

    Whether or not to acknowledge a single nursing theory in a school’s statement of philosophy (and then use that theory to develop the school’s conceptual framework, end of-program outcomes or competencies, and other curriculum elements) has been debated in recent years. 

    Those in favor of such an approach argue that it provides students with a way to “think nursing” and approach nursing situations in a way that clearly is nursing focused, not medical model– focused, and that provides an opportunity to contribute to the ongoing development of the theory and therefore the science of nursing. 

    Those against such an approach argue that it limits students’ thinking and engages them with language and perspectives that are not likely to be widely encountered in practice, thereby making it difficult for graduates to communicate effectively with their nursing and health care team colleagues. 

    Obviously, there is no one right answer to this debate. The key question to consider is whether the concepts that are central to a theory nursing or otherwise truly are congruent with the beliefs and values of the majority of faculty, because that is what a statement of philosophy must reflect.

    The inductive approach can be most useful to faculty when developing or refining their philosophical statement; rather than selecting concepts from existing theories or policy statements or other literature, the faculty themselves generate concepts to include in the philosophy. 

    For example, all faculty may be asked to list no more than five bullet items that express what they believe about each concept in the metaparadigm: human beings, society and environment, health, nurses and nursing, and education and teaching learning. The responses in each category could then be compiled and faculty perhaps in small groups could then engage in an analysis of the items listed for each. 

    These working groups might be asked to note the frequency with which specific ideas were mentioned, thereby identifying those points where there is great agreement and those where only one or a few faculty identified an idea. 

    The fact that only a single faculty member or few faculty identify a particular belief or value, however, does not necessarily mean that it should be discarded. 

    It is possible that other faculty simply did not think of that idea as they were creating their own lists, or it is possible that other faculty did identify the idea but did not include it because they were limited to five bullet items. The compilation from each working group could then be shared with the entire faculty. 

    At this point, a discussion about the meaning and significance of the statements in each category could ensue, or faculty could be asked to review each list, select the three to five statements they believe are most critical to include in the philosophy, and then engage in dialogue about why they selected those statements, what those statements mean to individuals, and so on. 

    A draft statement of philosophy one that has evolved from an inductive, bottom up process could then be written by an individual or small group and circulated to faculty for comment and further discussion.

    Another approach that might be used combines deduction or drawing on existing literature, standards, or policy documents with induction, or generating ideas “from the ground up” by interviewing faculty. 

    An individual faculty member one who is viewed as a leader in the group, who is respected and trusted by her or his peers, who has good writing skills, and who is knowledgeable about curriculum development may be asked to talk to faculty about their beliefs about human beings, society and environment, and so on, and use that input to draft a statement of philosophy that incorporates what faculty expressed. This draft could then be circulated to all faculty for comment, editing, and revision. 

    The original writer would then revise the statement based on feedback from colleagues and present the new statement to the group for discussion and dialogue. This back-and-forth process would continue until there is consensus about what to include in the statement.

    In either of these scenarios, or when a philosophical statement already exists but is being reviewed for possible updating and revision, “clickers” simple online, anonymous surveys can be used to get a sense of faculty agreement or endorsement. 

    With this approach, each sentence in the draft (or existing) philosophy is listed as a separate item and faculty are asked to indicate the extent to which they agree (e.g., Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, or Strongly Disagree). Instead of using the entire sentence as the item to be responded to, it may be more helpful to use phrases or major concepts within each sentence as the item. 

    Regardless of the degree of detail in each item, the anonymous responses can then be compiled, the results shared with the entire faculty, and discussions held to explore the meaning of the data obtained.

    Finally, the entire process whether it involves starting from an existing philosophy or creating a new one can be prompted or stimulated by the thinking of those outside the school of nursing. 

    For example, faculty may be assigned to review major contemporary documents or reports for example, the Carnegie study (Benner et al., 2010), the Future of Nursing report (Institute of Medicine, 2010), accreditation standards, or published articles about employers’ assessment of what new graduates can and cannot do. 

    In reviewing those reports, faculty might identify values that are expressed or implied, beliefs about patients and nurses, or societal expectations related to health, health care, and the role of the nurse. 

    Those values and beliefs could then be compiled and faculty asked to reflect on the extent to which they are aligned with the beliefs of the faculty. Through an iterative process such as one of those described previously, the group could craft its own statement of philosophy, one that has been informed by the larger context in which the educational programs exist.

    Regardless of the process used, it is critical that all faculty be involved and that adequate time and safe environments be provided for faculty to disagree, struggle, contemplate, rethink, debate, and “do philosophy.” Ending the process prematurely is not likely to be wise. It also is important to remember that this is an iterative process that will continue, to some extent, throughout all of the subsequent steps of curriculum development. 

    For example, the statement of philosophy may have been endorsed and approved-in-concept by faculty, but as various groups work on developing course syllabi, they may generate questions about “what we really meant” by something in the philosophy. Should this occur, it would be worthwhile to revisit the philosophical statement and make revisions to it, if such revisions will lead to greater clarity about its meaning.

    The preceding discussion has focused exclusively on the role of faculty in the creation or revision of the school’s philosophy. It is assumed that school administrators (e.g., dean, program chair) are faculty who also must be involved in this process. 

    Additionally, consideration should be given to including students in dialogue about beliefs and values; however, in the end, the final document must reflect what faculty believe and are guided by regarding human beings, society and environment, health, nurses and nursing, and education and teaching–learning.

    The final statement of philosophy should be clearly written, internally consistent, and easily understood, and should give clear direction for all that follows. It should be long enough to clearly express the significant beliefs and values that guide faculty actions but not excessively detailed, as expressions of detail (rather than fundamental beliefs) often are more congruent with the work that must be done in formulating the conceptual framework, end of program outcomes or competencies, and curriculum design. 

    Later  explore all of those subsequent curriculum development steps , so only a few examples of how the philosophy gives direction to the development, implementation, and evaluation of the curriculum are offered here.

    As noted earlier, “doing philosophy” is hard work. However, it is important and valuable work that has implications for faculty and our practice as teachers, as well as for our students.

    Doing philosophy” may prompt us to attend more deliberately to affective domain learning and identity formation as we design learning experiences and interact with students, a focus that is likely to enhance their educational experience. 

    It may challenge us to ask new questions about our practice as teachers and seek answers to those questions through rigorous pedagogical research efforts, an effort that can contribute to the development of the science of nursing education. 

    It also may direct us to seek out new teaching strategies and evaluation methods that better facilitate student learning, an outcome that may serve to maintain the joy in teaching as we see students become excited about their formation as nurses.

    One can conclude that the philosophical foundations of the curriculum extend far beyond mere program designs and course syllabi. Reflections on and clarity regarding those philosophical foundations can help us better understand who we are and how we can best help our students, our colleagues, and ourselves to grow and continue to learn.

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