Curriculum Development Report
1. Factors Influencing the Need for a BSN Program
There are three pathways to the achievement of a degree in nursing which include an associate degree for two years, a diploma which takes three years and a bachelor’s degree from a college or university which takes four years. It has been a common trend that nurses pursue associate degrees in community colleges followed by a degree or a diploma afterward. Studies have indicated that nurses with a higher level of training have a better performance in their jobs hence the need for the Hartford Community College to focus on offering baccalaureate course in nursing (Aiken et al., 2014).
It is important to have a BSN program in the college due to the rapidly changing healthcare system. Diseases have become confiscated which calls upon the nurses to possess the in-depth knowledge to facilitate a proper management of the conditions.
There is an increased demand for acute care services such as intensive and emergency care which require skilled, educated and specialized nurses with a BSN degree to execute such tasks. It is therefore important that nurses possess an in-depth knowledge which they can apply in the profession to provide a high quality of care. The quality of care delivered by a nurse is affected by his or her level of education. A BSN nurse has a lot of knowledge on different subjects including physical sciences, nursing research, public health and social sciences among others which give them a deeper understanding of factors affecting health and also grow professionally (Aiken et al., 2014). A higher level of nursing education is also linked to better care and patient safety.
The introduction of a BSN program in Hartford community college is in line with the IOM’s Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. The institute states that the current changes in the healthcare system should correspond with the transformation of nursing education. The goals of nursing remain the same, but the nursing profession is geared towards achieving higher levels of education to work collaboratively and efficiently with other members of the healthcare team. The Institute of Medicine states that nurses should have a high educational attainment not only at the time of entry into the nursing career but also throughout their lives. The Institute of Medicine recommends that by the year 2020 there should be 80% nurses with a baccalaureate degree and double the number of nurses with a doctorate (Institute of Medicine, 2011). The institute also purposes to ensure that nurses are involved in lifelong learning and also introduce nurse residency programs
The quality and safety education for nurses (QSEN) aims at integrating quality and safety competencies in nursing education. The institute emphasizes the need to restructure the health care systems so that medical professionals serve patients well in a complex health care system. The QSEN competencies are essential for the promotion of quality and safety in nursing education. The QSEN recommends that nurses should apply the skills at an individuals and also system level of care (Dolansky & Moore, 2013). It is a common practice that nurses engage in providing individualized care yet pay little attention to the provision of alert systems of care.
Nurses should be taught on systems thinking so that they do not just focus on vigilant individual care but also consider the general systems. Educating a nurse on the systems approach equips him or her with the knowledge to solve problems, set priorities, decision-making and collaborations among other vital issues. Nurses are engaged in planning and delivery of care in complex healthcare environments hence should know the systems thinking (Dolansky & Moore, 2013). Learners get awareness on the interdependence of people through the knowledge of systems thinking which calls upon the Hartford community college to teach systems thinking as recommended by the QSEN.
The implementation of systems teaching is prone to various challenges. One of the obstacles that can be encountered in the process of instruction and learning system thinking is staff shortage in the institution. The teaching of systems thinking requires an in-depth knowledge of the subject by the lecturer who may not be available at the facility. There will be a need to further train the teachers in the college so that they can train the BSN students about systems thinking since it has not been well incorporated into practice. It could also be necessary to call external teachers to emphasize the point of systems thinking given its relevance in today world yet the funds may be insufficient.
Learning theories are the primary guideline in educational systems and are used in the planning of classroom and also clinical training. The cognitive learning theory will help the BSNs to develop critical thinking skills which are essential for their practice. The cognitive approach to learning stresses that education is targeted internal processes and focus on thinking, understanding and organizing and consciousness (Moon, 2013). According to the theory, students learn actively search for new in the formation and review previous experience so that they can gain a better understanding of concepts in nursing.
The four principles contained in the cognitive theory, similarity, vicinity, relevance, and continuity will be very vital in the teaching of the BSNs. Learning according to the cognitive theory is holistic, and nurse educators should present sessions as a whole and not a collection of independent facts (Moon, 2013). For instance, the study about the gastrointestinal disorders should be comprised of knowledge on the anatomy and physiology of the gut, the disease an later the effects on the person as a whole but not teaching the subject as three separate units.
The cognitive learning approach emphasizes that learners should possess skills on questioning and problem-solving. The BSN s taught using the cognitive approach will be highly equipped with problem-solving and critical inquiry skills which will enable them to make critical decisions regarding the care of their patients. Training using the cognitive approach enables learners to get information which is compatible with their thinking employing the enactive, iconic and symbolic image in training (Moon, 2013). The three levels of intellectual systems enable students to deeply understand concepts. For example, learning how to take blood pressure begins with the inactive state where one just measures the pressure, followed by the iconic phase where one would think of the heart and blood vessels and finally the symbolic stage where a learner can define blood pressure and explain its components.
The cognitive approach to learning refers to a cognitive process that cannot be directly observed and depends on an inference which makes it hard to use. The theory is subjective to what is derived from findings by the authors hence may fail to be scientific. The assumption that results are derived from invisible processes is highly subjective and causes problems with validity. The cognitive approach also ignores several other factors that can impact the behavior of individuals (Moon, 2013). For instance, the biological composition and upbringing of a person will influence his or her behavior and not just cognitive processes alone.
The curriculum development process should include the integration of multiple intelligences in the teaching of the BSN. Human intelligence is complex, and that is complex and conceals different types of intelligence which is minimally employed in nursing. The multiple intelligences approach was developed by Gardner who argued that every individual has all the intelligence levels but engage them to different degrees (Green, Wyllie & Jackson, 2014). The multiple intelligences include linguistic, logical-mathematical, interpersonal, body kinetic and naturalistic abilities.
Additional intelligence is intrapersonal, spatial, musical and existential capabilities which people use in different situations. The theory of multiple intelligences can be applied to various professions including nursing hence the new curriculum for the BSNs at Hartford community college should capture the issue of multiple intelligence theory (Green, Wyllie & Jackson, 2014). Learners should be encouraged to cultivate the multiple intelligences to the best of their ability for the benefit of their patients.
The multiple intelligence theory recognizes the fact that nursing is not all about learning the theoretical and technical components of care but also entails listening, acting appropriately and making decisions among other things. Teachers can promote new ways of learning using the multiple intelligence approaches and encourage lifelong learning (Green, Wyllie & Jackson, 2014). The aspect of lifelong learning is essential to the nursing profession, and through the curriculum, the BSNs will acknowledge its vitality. Multiple intelligences also facilitate the accommodation of students with different capacities and enhance creativity and innovation among students.
All trainers are mandated to ensure that they grow the skills of their students so that they can develop the multiple intelligences. However, a critical focus on multiple intelligences might interfere with the ability of the students to learn the core of nursing. The curriculum, therefore, should not focus on all the bits of intelligence but should be concerned with those that have a great impact on the nursing profession (Green, Wyllie & Jackson, 2014). For instance, a lecture should not dwell much on training the BSN nurses about the musical skills as they may divert from the key concern of the nursing course.
Hartford Community College can embrace different methods modalities to deliver the BSN program including the traditional teaching method and online education. The college needs to select the best approach to meet the needs of the population it serves and also produce competent BSNs ready to take up tasks in the profession. The traditional teaching methods involve learners attending classes physically at the campus. The lecture presents the content in front of the class provides assignments at a one on one basis (Billings & Halstead, 2015). However, online education is a strategy whereby learners get study materials online and interact with their trainers online. There is limited face to face interaction of students with their teacher in an online education.
Student support services such as guidance and counseling are available in the traditional learning method unlike in an online education. Organizing for clinical experience and practicum is easy with the traditional teaching method, in contrast to the online method. The faculty can easily plan for where students will gain their clinical experience unlike in online education where students are dispersed. The main advantage of online education is that the method is highly convenient and flexible. Students who are trying to balance family and career amongst other things can benefit from an online BSN program (Billings & Halstead, 2015). Students enrolled in an online course enjoy the advantages of the asynchronous environment in that they are not limited to a particular environment.
The traditional teaching method is time-consuming as students are in class most of the times. The method also interferes with a natural balancing of academics and other life demands since students are almost always in the classroom. There is a lot of critical thinking in online education since the students have to handle most things by themselves which results in a lot of experience and knowledge. Nursing requires a lot of hands-on training which is readily available with the traditional classroom teaching method in comparison to the online learning. An online education approach lacks the non-verbal cues which are essential in promoting understanding by some learners (Billings & Halstead, 2015). Some people prefer face to face discussions instead of online or conversations through a call to facilitate understanding.
Formative assessments refer to the checking of understanding by a teacher during the lesson instead of doing it at the end of the test. The tests are advantageous in that they are not assessed hence anxiety amongst the students is reduced. They act as practice questions which enable students to prepare for the final test as teachers can check understanding and help students where they are unable (Dixson & Worrell, 2016). Formative tests also reduce the re-teaching by teachers at the end of a unit since most issues are addressed way before the final test.
Summative evaluation occurs at the end of a training cycle and judges the worth of a task at the end of program activities. Teachers get an opportunity to determine whether the content of the course was understood. Summative assessments also determine achievement and are evaluative rather than diagnostic (Dixson & Worrell, 2016). The tests are also used to create academic records as they provide information about the performance of the students.
Formative tests may interfere with the ability of a teacher to complete what he or she had planned for the lesson since they are time-consuming. The teachers may rush throughout the course in an attempt to compete the teaching which interferes with mastery and students might fail at the end of the lesson. Formative assessment may not be effective when teachers do not have a background preparation on how to administer such tests since the standard practice is giving tests at the end (Dixson & Worrell, 2016). The formative assessments may not be taken seriously by students, and this amounts to a waste of time by the teacher.
Summative tests demotivate learners in when they cannot score as expected which could lower their self esteem and fail to study more. There is also late clarification of issues since they are only recognized and addressed at the end of the course (Dixson & Worrell, 2016). Summative tests are also disruptive since students await a single examination at the end of a program which causes a lot of anxiety among learners.
Students who undertake a paper and pencil exam have better odds of a better score as compared to those that use computers for their exams. The paper and pencil format of administration of tests is familiar to almost all students which make it easy for them to handle the questions as required (Dixson & Worrell, 2016). Students might take some time familiarizing themselves with the online platforms, yet the others have progressed with answering the questions in a pencil and paper exam.
The family educational rights and privacy act is a federal law which protects the privacy of a student education records and applies to all learners funded by an applicable program in the nation. The Hartford Community college is obliged to adhere to the law and compel to the rights that parents and eligible students should enjoy. The school should allow students to access materials about their academics and correct any documents which are deemed misleading (Winland-Brown, Lachman & Swanson, 2015). The school should also seek authorization from parents and students when it needs to release any data from a student’s record.
The Americans with disability act help in ensuring freedom and equality, and it is the mandate of the college to ensure that special consideration is done regarding students with disabilities. The law aims at protecting students from discrimination in schools, workplaces and other public places (Winland-Brown, Lachman & Swanson, 2015). The institution should ensure that there are resources to advise individuals and students who can be covered by the ADA. The college should also ensure that there are adequate personnel equipped with ADA knowledge to provide support to students. The school of nursing should also ensure that there is collaboration with other institutions to provide students with any support services required.
The health insurance portability and accountability act aims at ensuring that there are reduced administrative costs, increase access to healthcare, reduce fraud as well as guarantee the privacy of health information. Issues regarding managed care, availability and affordability of insurance are addressed in the law (Winland-Brown, Lachman & Swanson, 2015). The college of nursing should ensure that all students can access health care using an insurance cover of their choice as long as it is valid. It is the responsibility of the college to ensure that health information of students is not given out anyhow and also ensure that all students can obtain health care.
Copyright laws are meant to safeguard the work of any given author against illegal use by malicious people. It is vital that teachers in the Hartford community college will observe copyright laws and teach the students about the importance of respecting other people’s work. The growing technology might impose challenges about the ease of access to information, but that does not warrant plagiarism (Winland-Brown, Lachman & Swanson, 2015). It is vital that the students should be taught on how to avoid plagiarism and also a proper recognition of author through in-text citations. The teachers should also create a classroom copyright policy which will discourage the habits of copying assignments and emphasize respect for other people’s work.
The initiation of bachelors of science in nursing degree at Hartford Community College requires certification by the various bodies which regulate nursing practice. The institution is supposed to follow the guidelines described by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) in the curriculum development process (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2013). CCNE is an autonomous agency for accrediting and is based on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The organization ensures that nursing education provided is of high quality and integrity.
Hartford Community college should employ the Essentials of AACN in all the fields of study whether at the baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels. Hartford community college should make use of the “Essentials” in the development, implementation, and evaluation of the mission, goals, expected outcome, curriculum, and program effectiveness (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2013). The curriculum should also be based on IOM reports in addition to the values and expectations of the constituencies. Hartford community college is therefore obliged to follow the recommendations provided by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) to avoid litigation and also provide a high-quality education which enhances the nursing profession.
The health care system is changing day in day out hence l staff should be prepared to embrace change. The demand for extra and highly qualified nurses is very high as there is nurse workforce shortage. Universities and colleges have to increase their capacity and also train nurses at a higher level. The Institute of medicine also advocates for an increase in the number of nurses trained at the BSN level. It is, therefore, necessary that the Hartford community college adopts the BSN degree. A person with a bachelor’s degree is the most suited especially in the critical areas such as emergency care.
Preparing nurses at the BSN level will shorten their time of study at the college hence save on time and cost. Baccalaureate nurses have greater knowledge thus can offer the best patient care as compared to nurses skilled at lower levels. A lot of research, advocacy and policy-making are done mostly by the BSN prepared nurses. The college should, therefore, try the best in the incorporation of a BSN program and overcome all the barriers.
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