Single Theory, Eclectic and Guiding Principles for Organizing Framework for Curriculum Development In Nursing Education

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Organizing Framework for Curriculum Development In Nursing Education by Single Theory, Eclectic and Guiding Principles

Single Theory, Eclectic and Guiding Principles for Organizing Framework for Curriculum Development In Nursing Education

Developing a Single Theory Framework for Curriculum Development In Nursing Education, Developing an Eclectic Framework for curriculum Development In Nursing Education, Guiding Principles for Developing Organizing Frameworks for Curriculum Development In Nursing Education.

Developing a Single Theory Framework for Curriculum Development In Nursing Education

    A traditional approach to constructing an organizing framework is to use a particular nursing theory or model to help shape the visual image that is consistent with the philosophy of the faculty. 

    For example, if faculty believe that caring is at the core of nursing, a theory of caring (Hills & Watson, 2011; Swanson, 1999; Watson, 1997) might serve as the anchoring model when explaining the discipline to students and cataloguing knowledge about the discipline of nursing. 

    The advantage to building an organizing framework on a single theory or model is the ability to use a single image with a defined vocabulary that is shared by both the learner and the teacher. 

    Using a single theory or existing conceptual model has limitations and poses challenges, including that it may not reflect everybody’s view of nursing and nursing practice. This becomes problematic when faculty have developed or been educated in curricula that have used a different theory or orientation to the discipline. 

    The use of only one theory in a framework may limit the ability of faculty to pull together all elements of their curriculum, which provides a rationale for moving away from this approach as does recognizing that the practice of nursing is being transformed by a dynamic, evolving health care system. Further, it is clear that nursing educators and practitioners will not agree on a single theory. 

    Students educated in a curriculum driven by a single theory are likely to experience frustration and confusion when they find themselves in clinical practice settings that do not ascribe to the same theory, or to any theory for that matter.

Developing an Eclectic Framework for curriculum Development In Nursing Education

    Given the challenges and limitations of using a single theory as an organizing framework, faculty choice does not have to be constrained by a single theory or model. 

    Those who believe that a combination of many theories or concepts are more reflective of their beliefs about nursing may use an eclectic approach to developing a curricular framework. Figure 6-1 shows an eclectic framework that has been used to guide work in several nursing programs. 

    The Care Quality Commission framework incorporates an updated use of traditional nursing role concepts of care, cure, and coordination with the QSEN and IPE competencies as the major guiding structures. The use of a more eclectic approach when designing an organizing framework is not without its pitfalls. 

    Some view this approach as an impediment to the development of a comprehensive nursing theory and the development of a body of knowledge that is uniquely nursing. The advantage to an eclectic approach is the ability to “borrow” concepts and definitions that best fit the faculty’s beliefs and values from nursing and non nursing theories. 

    The eclectic approach may also promote incorporation of contemporary or evolving conceptualizations of nursing, health, the environment, and other key concepts as well as better reflect the practice of nursing across the continuum of settings and patient populations. 

    However, if faculty develop an eclectic framework, where concepts and their definitions are “borrowed” from a number of theories, they need to ensure that in the act of borrowing they have not changed conceptual meaning. 

    It is important to clearly show the relationships among the selected concepts. Therefore it is important to clarify the meaning of concepts that will be used in an organizing framework so that faculty and students are clear about the phenomena being studied.

Guiding Principles for Developing Organizing Frameworks for Curriculum Development In Nursing Education

    Although there are no specific steps or “how to’s” for developing organizing frameworks for curriculum, there are some guiding principles that faculty can follow. D’Antonio et al. (2013) describe the process used by one school of nursing to identify curricular concepts that illustrates the use of many of these principles. 

    The first principle is to choose those concepts that most accurately reflect the faculty’s beliefs about the practice and discipline of nursing and how students learn. 

    The introduction of contemporary, student centered approaches to learning, which stem from constructivism theory , are becoming more evident in faculty belief statements and are influencing curriculum development. 

    The concepts identified should also reflect or complement the philosophy, mission, and goals of the college or university in which the program is embedded. 

    By creating an organizing framework that reflects concepts valued by both the discipline of nursing and the parent institution, faculty have begun to articulate the contributions their nursing program makes to all stakeholder entities.

     The most important aspect of choosing the concepts that tie the curriculum together is relevancy. This means that the concepts chosen need to be relevant and meaningful to the future practicing nurse, consistent with the science and art of nursing, and the needs of the populations served through health care delivery systems. During this phase of the curriculum development, it is important to involve stakeholders in the process. 

    Reading professional standards and recommendations; understanding regulatory and accrediting criteria; and gathering input from practice partners, s , students, community leaders, and other identified stakeholders can all help faculty with selecting appropriate concepts.

The selected concepts are often organized into a graphic representation to facilitate understanding and recognition of the organizing framework. 

    The concepts included in the organization are further developed through creation of end-of program outcomes and competencies. The requisite KSAs are then further defined for each of the concepts and integrated throughout the curriculum in course content and learning activities.

    The second principle is to clearly define the major concepts underpinning the curriculum framework. Consensus should be established in this process because it will fall to the faculty to articulate these concepts to the students. 

    Consistency in terminology and definitions along with making the organizing framework visible to faculty, students, practice partners, and other program stakeholders will enhance the framework’s role in mastery of the desired level of competency at program completion.

    The third principle is to explain the linkages between and among the concepts identified. This is critical because the linkages are the basis for how students comprehend, apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate knowledge learned throughout the educational process. 

    These principles are analogous to putting together a jigsaw puzzle in which the concepts are the puzzle pieces and the total picture is of high quality, contemporary nursing practice. Puzzles come in various numbers of pieces. Usually the greater the number of pieces, the greater the challenge in its construction. The outline and coloring of the pieces are the definitions of the concepts. 

    The more clearly the puzzle pieces are defined and the sharper the color delineations, the easier it is to fit the puzzle together. It is critical that faculty and students grasp an understanding of the framework without an intensive investment of time and energy.

    Faculty must decide on the major concepts that make up the organizing framework and focus on illustrating the linkages among those concepts. It is not necessary or desirable to identify each and every concept that students will be introduced to. 

    The more faculty focus on minute concepts, the more likely it is that they are defining facts (not concepts) that will quickly become irrelevant. It is important to keep the work of concept identification, definition, and linkage at a broader level involving concepts that will retain salience with safe, quality practice.

    However faculty decide to approach the work of developing a framework for their curriculum, the framework eventually constructed must be consistent with the school’s mission and philosophy statements, faculty values and beliefs, program goals, professional standards, state and federal regulations, and current and future nursing practice trends. 

    Faculty should have broad based agreement on the curriculum framework because such agreement is fundamental to the consistent interpretation, implementation, and evaluation of the curriculum in meeting the expected program goals and outcomes. 

    If there is a disconnect among philosophy, values, program expectations, professional practice expectations and outcomes, and the framework, faculty need to raise significant questions as to the utility of the created frameworks.

    Once the work has been completed, faculty should share the completed framework with various stakeholders, soliciting feedback on how the organizing framework is interpreted by others. Such an exercise can help faculty determine if they have been successful in publicly articulating their beliefs and values to others.

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