With the demand for nurses staying strong, the need for competent nurse educators persists. Nurse educators know how to deliver high-quality nursing education and how to evaluate curriculum based on relevant criteria. Nursing education has theoretical and practical components that help prepare tomorrow’s nurses for a range of different clinical challenges as they serve patients in different specialties and practice settings.
By introducing these students to the theoretical tools and practical skills of professional nursing, quality nursing programs develop new nurses into well-educated professionals capable of providing great nursing care and leadership. Graduates with MSN in Nursing Education degrees shape the future of nursing by serving in important academic, research or curriculum design roles. These professionals must understand how to educate and inspire others through great nursing curricula.
What Is Nursing Curriculum?
New nurses need to learn the theoretical basis of nursing care, and they need to understand how to practice clinical nursing skills. Nursing theory helps nurses understand why specific best practices and techniques are used and how nursing research developed these practices. Nursing curricula are designed to support these skills and foster critical thinking, empathy, research capabilities and other competencies nurses need to be successful. To accomplish these goals, classes are designed to encourage understanding and student interaction with the course material.
A great nursing curriculum successfully prepares students for the challenges and opportunities of today’s nursing field. Beyond simply preparing students for nursing jobs, great curricula impart the professional commitments, ethical principles and resilience needed for success in this challenging and rewarding profession. Curricula should also reflect nursing’s diversity and celebrate the field’s multicultural perspectives. Nursing curricula that accurately address current issues and challenges in nursing help develop graduates who are ready for the challenges facing healthcare professionals.
Nursing Curricula Components and Challenges
Most great nursing programs balance nursing theory with practice. Nursing theory provides students with strong foundational knowledge such as the scientific principles behind nursing. Foundational skills and practices, such as infection prevention, are supported by nursing theory concepts and have specific procedural steps to follow that are typically taught in a clinical setting. Taken together, this knowledge enables new nurses to succeed as generalists and prepare for future specialist training.
Most practice settings are not ideal and nurses confront a wide range of challenges during the course of a typical work day. While new graduates may feel well-prepared for the challenges of nursing, many employers claim that schools need to improve nursing curricula. Patient care coordination, case management, information technology, leadership skills and even basic clinical skills top the wish lists of many employers and should be a priority for nurse educators and curriculum designers. The challenges nurses encounter in their jobs may stretch and test these skills, so nursing students should be well-prepared and know what to expect in their new roles.
Healthcare changes rapidly, with new delivery models being tested and implemented on a regular basis. Healthcare information technology has a more significant role in healthcare now than ever before, and nurses must be able to successfully transition to new computer systems, types of programs, and uses for technology as clinics and hospitals continue to implement new technology into healthcare practice. With many areas and specialties experiencing nursing shortages, nurses must also be ready for the challenges of working with limited support. High-acuity settings also present a challenge as nurses must respond to rapidly changing and uncertain patient conditions. Nurses must be prepared to work efficiently as members of multi-disciplinary teams and maintain strong communication skills. Nursing curricula should prepare students for these and other challenges by providing them with the skills and knowledge they will need. Well-educated nurses are more likely to succeed and meet employer demands.
Evaluating Nursing Curricula
As healthcare continues to change, the nursing profession experiences changes in how nurses are educated. Nurse educators must look closely at curricular effectiveness to ensure that essential skills and knowledge are properly taught. As more new nurses complete nursing school, employers and practicing nurses must be able to provide feedback to nursing educators. More communication between academic programs and practice environments may be necessary to ensure that more nurses receive the quality preparation they deserve.
As nurse educators, MSN in Nursing Education graduates understand what nursing curricula are designed to teach, how nursing programs teach knowledge and skills, and how to recognize well-designed curricula. A strong nursing curriculum teaches essential nursing skills, clinical decision-making, critical thinking and other important practices alongside foundational theoretical knowledge. The best curricula develop nurses who can meet the needs of today’s healthcare system. The best programs prepare nurses to enter a rapidly changing healthcare system as well-educated professionals who are ready to be strong leaders.
Learn about the Lamar University online MSN in Nursing Education program.