Second Degree Entry into Practice, Collaborative, Partnerships, Consortia, and Statewide Models for Curriculum In Nursing Education

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Nursing Education and Second Degree Entry into Practice, Collaborative, Partnerships, Consortia, &Statewide Models for Curriculum

Second Degree Entry into Practice, Collaborative, Partnerships, Consortia, and Statewide Models for Curriculum In Nursing Education

Second Degree Entry into Practice for Curriculum Design In Nursing Education, Collaborative Curricular Models In Nursing Education, Partnerships, Consortia, and Statewide Models for Curriculum In Nursing Education, Designing the Curriculum In Nursing Education, Future Trends in Undergraduate Nursing Curriculum In Nursing Education.

Second Degree Entry into Practice for Curriculum Design In Nursing Education

Even though the predicted shortage of RNs has not emerged as quickly or acutely as predicted, the need for professional nurses has continued to grow, with projections for nursing shortages well into the future (Auerbach, Buerhaus, & Staiger, 2014). 

    Coupled with this workforce demand, many individuals holding a nonnursing bachelor’s degree seek other career opportunities that may be more fulfilling or hold stronger job prospects. Nursing is often an excellent career option to consider. Many schools offering the baccalaureate nursing degree have designed a program track for students seeking a second degree. 

    This BSN degree option is achieved in a short time in a fast-moving, densely packed curriculum, and is sometimes referred to as an accelerated program. These second-degree nursing programs may facilitate acquisition of a bachelor’s, master’s, or even doctoral nursing degree. 

    In light of the nursing shortage that is projected to continue in some regions into the next decade (Buerhaus, Auerbach, Staiger, & Muench, 2013), the proliferation of second-degree programs of study is likely to continue. Students entering the profession through this route are often slightly older than traditional students. 

    Many have experienced a professional work life, and bring a variety of skill sets to the educational experience. As a result of these multiple program options, those wishing to pursue a nursing career will have many opportunities and choices among educational program offerings. 

    Technology will continue to play a significant role in increasing access to regional and national program offerings. Increasing numbers of online nursing degree programs can be individualized by the student to meet his or her unique learning needs. The richness in academic progression models has created challenges for nursing faculty and for the public who deal with the products of these educational programs. 

    As noted previously, factors that affect a program choice are related to the type of degree being granted based on workforce needs and compatibility with the mission of the parent institution. This decision then dictates credit hours, program length, required courses, and types of learning experiences that need to be consistent with the degree being awarded. 

    With academic progression models, faculty must make decisions about how to recognize and credit previous learning experiences. This may be accomplished through articulation agreements, advanced placement opportunities, credit transfers, and validation of previous learning through testing and portfolios. 

    As the nursing profession seeks to increase the number of nurses prepared at the baccalaureate and advanced practice levels, academic progression models will continue to be a quality, cost-effective means of supporting career mobility and accomplishing this goal. 

    Faculty will need to be creative and innovative as they design future programs. They must be willing to engage in experimentation as they find ways to produce and deliver quality, cost-effective programming and consider innovative clinical models of instruction to accompany the classroom experience. 

    Curricula will need to consist of structured and unstructured learning experiences that build on prior knowledge and experiences of the learner. These nursing curricula will also be constructed to maximize the use of the latest technology that will support innovative teaching pedagogies and transformative learning environments.

Collaborative Curricular Models In Nursing Education

    Gerardi (2014) described the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s creation and support of the Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) program, which led to the creation of nine coalitions to support state level initiatives toward seamless academic progression. For example, one model created in New Mexico involved creation of a statewide nursing curriculum. 

    Another model in California, through the APIN initiative at California State University, Los Angeles, created a collaborative model of articulation with eight community colleges. This model incorporated shared faculty, a dual admission process, and an integrated curriculum. Besides creating pathways to achieve the BSN in a timely way, the program also increased diversity in the nursing profession in the area. 

    These collaborative curricular models are becoming increasingly common, and the advantages to students include the clear path toward the BSN, reduction of unnecessary barriers to progression, early introduction to the idea of academic progression as a goal to pursue, and often a community of peers who are engaged in similar progression. 

    For schools of nursing, such models help to ensure a strong and vibrant pipeline, using resources across multiple types of colleges and universities effectively.

Partnerships, Consortia, and Statewide Models for Curriculum In Nursing Education

    In today’s complex social system, nursing practice and education cannot afford to operate in silos. Nursing education programs that engage in partnerships with health care agencies, other schools, state and local government, and community centers situate their practice in a position of strength. Such partnerships can strengthen all involved, align resources to achieve a common goal, and often lead to solutions to problems shared by all stakeholders. 

    For example, Halstead et al. (2012) described an academic and practice consortium between four schools of nursing and an academic health center that resulted in the development of more than 40 nurse educators prepared to effectively use simulation technology. 

    Following a week-long immersion experience in learning how to use the technology, simulation scenarios were collaboratively developed for learning experiences across a wide spectrum of clinical situations that were shared among all of the participating institutions. Partnerships between communities and schools of nursing also are effective in addressing local health problems, while providing excellent clinical education opportunities. 

    Luque and Castañeda (2013), in a community coalition model, provided mobile clinic services to migrant and seasonal workers in a unique community, resulting in an academic partnership that provided exceptional community health learning experiences for students, while serving a population with significant health service needs. 

    In geographic areas suffering from shortages of nurses, partnerships between service providers and schools may be effective. For example, Murray, Schappe, Kreienkamp, Loyd, and Buck (2010) described a partnership between schools of nursing and the workforce through the state hospital association. 

    The program created pathways for the infusion of nursing faculty, increases in students enrolled, and a sustainable partnership model between schools of nursing and health care agencies. Summarizing these reasons for partnerships, Everett et al. (2012) referred to them as fuel for the future success of each organization.

Designing the Curriculum In Nursing Education

    Choosing a specific program design, such as an associate or a baccalaureate degree program, does not automatically dictate the design of that program’s curriculum. Faculty should develop a curriculum structure that will support the type of program desired and the outcomes revision .After deciding on desired program outcomes and competencies, faculty are ready to provide additional structure to the curriculum. 

    There are a number of different ways to think about the construction of a curriculum design. The more traditional approach to designing curricula offers structured courses in a specific sequence. This approach identifies what the student is to learn, when the learning is to occur, and what the outcome of the learning should be. 

    The delineation of nursing and support content, nursing skills, critical learning experiences, and evaluation methods for assessing learning outcomes are emphasized. These pieces are structured into any one of a number of curriculum patterns. Two common curriculum patterns, that of “blocking” course content and that of integrating or “threading” course content or concepts. 

Future Trends in Undergraduate Nursing Curriculum In Nursing Education

    The more traditional approach to curriculum has focused on the identification of critical content, the sequencing of content, and the efficient delivery of content. The traditional approach has led to an oversaturation of content as faculty have continued to add to the list of critical content needed to practice competently in a rapidly changing health care system. 

    When planning curricular reform, whether on a limited or large scale, an infusion of evidence-based pedagogies that use strategies to engage students in active learning need to be considered. 

    This shifting emphasis requires nothing less than a paradigm shift in how faculty view the education of our future nursing workforce. Future trends in health care, nursing, and education will have a significant influence on how nursing education programs are designed and implemented during the next decade. 

    Our greatest challenge likely lies in defining how the roles of nurses will transform to meet evolving and changing health care needs and translating these changes into relevant curricula. To meet this challenge, future trends in nursing education will include an increase in the number of collaborative partnerships between nursing practice and education (Everett et al., 2012). 

    Such efforts will focus on maintaining congruence between nursing curricula and contemporary nursing practice, developing initiatives that will help new graduates with the transition into nursing practice, and establishing mechanisms to retain and advance the education of experienced nurses in the workforce.

    There also will continue to be an increased emphasis placed on collaboration between disciplines. Barriers to career mobility and articulation will continue to be removed, making articulation between degrees seamless and essentially hassle-free. Past barriers, such as the use of expensive, time-consuming validation examinations; duplication of learning; lack of flexibility; and difficulty with transferring credits, are being addressed. 

    Contemporary articulation models are flexible in design, supported by broad course and credit transferability, and packaged to maximize the use of students’ time. Distance learning technologies will continue to play a prominent role in successfully delivering education to geographically dispersed students. 

  These new strategies will play an important role in facilitating the learning of nontraditional students through curricula that will be taught more from an integrated conceptual orientation specially designed for the distance learner. 

    The ways and means of educating the next generation of nurses must clearly be on the agenda at all nursing schools. Nurse educators must be able to advance innovations in nursing education (Spector & Odom, 2012). 

    Faculty are exploring and will continue to explore the addition of internships and other types of intensive practicum experience either as part of a more formal curriculum design or in partnership with health care partners as part of an orientation program that bridges the gap between graduation and full nurse practice privileges (Tri-Council for Nursing, 2010).

    Responding to a health care environment that focuses more on community-based health care between individuals who are well and those who have chronic illnesses has not traditionally been a primary focus in undergraduate nursing education. 

    In the United States, role specialization has historically been reserved for graduate education. 

    However, with the increasing knowledge and technology explosion and the different skills and competencies required for caring for patients with acute illnesses, as opposed to the skills and competencies necessary for teaching health promotion, illness prevention, and caring for patients with chronic illnesses, reconsidering alternative approaches to undergraduate education warrants consideration. 

    In the world of higher education, the nursing profession has long been the source of much educational innovation. 

    The issues identified here are critical to the future of nursing education, but by no means are they an exhaustive listing of the issues that nursing faculty must consider as they design future nursing programs and curricula. The innovation and creativity that nursing faculty have demonstrated in the past will no doubt continue to identify them as leaders in professional and higher education into the future.

    Nursing leaders have envisioned a future in which nurses play a predominant role in leading the delivery of health care instead of responding to the demands made by others. As nurses take a more active role in leading health care reform, nursing education will need to prepare students, including undergraduate students, with appropriate leadership skills and an understanding of complexity and change. 

    Nursing curricula will need to move away from rigid requirements to flexible learning opportunities to prepare nurses who are capable of managing large amounts of data-rich knowledge in technology-driven health care environments to make patient care decisions. 

  Designing curriculum provides an opportunity for faculty to use their scientific knowledge base, clinical competence, and creativity. Curriculum development is guided by the need to consistently include in the students’ educational experiences opportunities to acquire the knowledge, skills, and competencies that are needed by graduates.

    Careful attention must also be paid to accreditation requirements and preparation for licensure examinations. Creating innovative curriculum designs that foster the preparation of graduates who are confident in their knowledge and skills and are prepared to meet the challenges of contemporary nursing practice is a challenge that nurse educators must readily embrace.

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