Intellectual and Moral Development In Nursing Education and Implementation

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Implementation of Intellectual and Moral Development In Nursing Education

Intellectual and Moral Development In Nursing Education and Implementation

Theory of Intellectual and Moral Development In Nursing Education, Premise of Intellectual and Moral Development Theory In Nursing Education, Implications of Intellectual and Moral Development Theory Nursing Education. 

Theory of Intellectual and Moral Development In Nursing Education

    The theory of intellectual and moral development features an understanding of how college students come to understand knowledge and the ways in which they develop the cognitive processes of thinking and reasoning. Perry (1970) proposed that college students pass through a predictable, developmental sequence of positions from simple to complex thinking. 

    Learners move from viewing truth in absolute terms of right-and-wrong, dualist thinking to a more elaborate set of viewpoints. At any point in time, however, further development may be halted or suspended. Growth is usually not linear and usually occurs in fluctuating surges. 

    Students develop the ability to abstract and weigh information to solve problems in specific situations. In the end, students understand that making a commitment is necessary to become oriented to a world of relativism.

Premise of Intellectual and Moral Development Theory In Nursing Education 

    According to Perry (1970), students' progress through stages of intellectual and moral development. Student growth begins with a narrow, dualistic view of the world; develops to the point in which knowledge and values are perceived as contextual and relative; and finally commits to establishing a personal identity in a pluralistic world.

Implications of Intellectual and Moral Development Theory Nursing Education

    Findings from studies in which Perry's model was used in nursing have particular relevance because of the responsibility faculty have for preparing graduates with highly developed moral and intellectual skills and the ability to deal with uncertainty when they provide care in an increasingly complex society and health care system . 

    Valiga (1988) summarized several variables identified through research with Perry's (1970) model that relate to cognitive development. Variables that pertain to the student include age, sex, socioeconomic status, verbal fluency, student's hometown population, educational motivation, and learning style preference. 

    Variables related to the development and implementation of the curriculum and courses include the subject matter discipline of the curriculum, the amount of structure and flexibility, the degree of challenge and support given, the types of course assignments, the nature of student peer interactions, the openness of student faculty relationships, and the degree of fit between the students' positions in the Perry model and the learning environment. 

    Frisch (1990), in a study of junior baccalaureate nursing students, revealed that most students operated at the end of the dualistic stage, whereas only one had attained multiplicity which occurs at the beginning of the relativism state. 

    Valiga (1988) found in his study that at the beginning and at the end of the academic year, most of the students were at the dualistic stage. Although some showed no change, a few gained almost two positions, moving them into the relativism stage. Faculty using Perry's model are attentive to developing not only intellectual capacity, but also the ethical and moral capacity of the students. 

    Faculty develop an open, honest, and supportive partnership with students while facilitating intellectual growth. Valiga (1988) recommended that faculty design curricula that require students to have organized experiences with other students who have alternative ways of thinking, reasoning, and viewing the world. These experiences should be introduced during the freshman year. 

    Requiring courses in different disciplines that provide gradual degrees of complexity should be part of the curricular design. Interprofessional courses can provide the situated learning that blends complexity and uncertainty with the necessary collaboration for successful clinical practice (Sargeant, 2009). 

    When using Perry's theory, students must be willing to be socialized to the college experience and risk entering into new experiences with others whose backgrounds and views are different than their own. Having an open and receptive attitude and a willingness to become comfortable in revealing aspects of the self is important. 

    Students' being aware of the importance of their active participation in new and challenging experiences that will stretch their cognitive abilities is beneficial for their development. Students can also expect that progression through school will bring increased intellectual demands, challenging faculty expectations, and some disruptions in their sense of certainty about their world. 

    Students who developmentally focus on certainty or absolute responses may be stressed to develop responses to contextual situations that exist in nursing practice. These students may adopt a negative attitude about the amount of time and effort required to meet the program and course objectives. Thus, the context of their learning becomes a negative experience in and of itself.

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