The nursing curriculum continues to transform due to the amount of ever-expanding content. Therefore, concept-based teaching gradually replaces traditional schooling as the standard of healthcare education shifts. Students in the nursing struggle to meet the extreme requirements of memorizing a lot of medical data. The education system does not allocate any additional instruction time or credit hours to nursing programs, making it harder for future nursing professionals to succeed in school. Under these circumstances, it is impossible to expect a typical student to read 17 articles daily, which is required to stay up-to-date in their specialization area, according to Repsha et al. (2020). Thus, the information overload associated with nursing education leads to discussions to determine whether some content is essential or not. As a result, incorporating the concept-based curriculum (CBC) has been popularized in the U.S. and globally. This paper is going to focus on the benefits of CBC, including improved student adaptability, understanding, and the ability to apply conceptual frameworks in practice. However, the implementation of concept-based teaching has numerous challenges, which often require culture changes and leadership support.
To understand why CBC is beneficial for students, it is first important to define what it is. The system approach has dictated the curriculum of the nursing programs for years. Therefore, students had to memorize information regarding the pathophysiology of disease processes and symptoms. However, learners have to prepare for the application of their knowledge through thorough analysis. Concept-based educational frameworks allow students to familiarize themselves with a wide range of information to teach them to notice similarities and differences within each medical concept. By using CBC, learners take charge in grouping material they have learned in class in coherent ways to apply these new insights within the frame of concept. CBC implies the incorporation of exemplars, which are the “examples of ideas, notions, or cases, which
learners rely on when information is presented” (England et al., 2015, p. 4). The concept-based approach allows some concepts to be included just once, while the others slowly progress through the advancement of exemplars.
The implementation of CBC has numerous benefits, which stem from the flexibility and accessibility of the approach. CBC allows students to take an active role in their learning environment through the implementation of the “flipped classroom” model. Such a new framework in nursing education eliminates unnecessary redundancies in content, while focusing on teaching students to see patterns across concepts. This way, future nurses practice their ability to apply their concept-based knowledge in various situations. In turn, systematic observations facilitated by CBC help learners to notice patterns to deliver care and mitigate possible risks (Wolters Kluwer, 2017). All in all, students benefit greatly from the approach since it results in higher levels of information retention. The most significant benefit of the CBC approach is, however, the ability to transfer theoretical knowledge into practice it gives to learners. Future nursing professionals no longer have to memorize unreasonable amounts of information. The faculty reviews the content of the courses in order to include the essential concepts in nursing, which students have to analyze in order to apply successfully. Professors can spend more time on adapting the curriculum to ensure increasing complexity of the concepts and clinical cases studied.
As for the staff, the CBC implementation process leads to the decrease of content overload, allowing teachers to provide the necessary guidance to students (Wolters Kluwer, 2017). The traditional approach to nursing education leaves educators worrying about “covering everything.” CBC gives faculty the opportunity to allocate more time on teaching the students clinical reasoning skills in greater detail. Additionally, the CBC approach is flexible enough to enable professors to meet the needs of diverse students. Therefore, using the new curriculum framework, teachers can successfully prepare students for success in their chosen fields of specialization.
While the CBC strategies are beneficial, it is crucial to acknowledge the challenges associated with such a large change. The students might struggle to adjust to the new curriculum, which is why it is best to focus on positive self-talk and teambuilding. These strategies serve as an effective way of helping learners during the CBC implementation process (Repsha et al., 2020). As for the teaching staff, the culture shift should facilitate an efficient transition to the new curriculum. This shift implies the change in the attitude towards the staff as well as a thorough review of the material necessary for the students to study. Leaders may support such transformations “through providing adequate meeting and release time, supporting faculty training, engaging stakeholders” (Repsha et al., 2020, p. 69). The essential part of the CBC incorporation, however, is creating a realistic timeline, which would allow teachers and students to adjust and lead to long-term results, instead of sporadic and short-lived progress.
To sum it all up, the incorporation of a concept-based curriculum can have various favorable effects on the overall quality of the knowledge students receive as a result of their schooling. CBC allows learners to gain a better understanding of the strategies to transfer the theoretical information they have memorized into practice. Moreover, this new approach to nursing education enables the faculty to adapt the curriculum in order to accommodate the needs of students and ensure their professional success. Despite the aforementioned benefits, the process of CBC implementation is complex and requires various organizational changes, including cultural shifts and leadership support.
England, S., Lockhart, L., & Sanders, E. (2015). A case for concept-based nursing education. Texas Nursing Voice, 9(3), 3-5. Web.
Repsha, C. L., Quinn, B. L., & Peters, A. B. (2020). Implementing a concept-based nursing curriculum: A review of the literature. Teaching and Learning in Nursing, 15(1), 66–71. Web.
Wolters Kluwer (2017). Benefits of a concept-based curriculum in nursing. Web.