Regardless of the discipline or subject which they represent, curricula are complex constructs which exist in order to make sure that a student’s educational experience contains exposure to and engagement with content as well as assessment of the student’s level of comprehension. Nursing education is no different, and like curricula for K-12 courses, there are a variety of factors which influence nursing program curricula. Historically, the focus of nursing curricula was teaching-centered; it has since shifted to being learning-centered (Davis, 2011). This shift also reflected a philosophical shift in how nursing programs regarded their students. Learning-centered curricula take into consideration different learning styles and learning needs of the students; it also changes the role of the educator – the educator becomes a facilitator rather than a ‘sage on a stage’ (Davis, 2011).
This also reveals one of the roles that nursing faculty must play in the curriculum development process: they must keep the students’ needs in mind, as well as considering variations in learning styles. However, nursing faculty must also bear in mind factors such as the law, since changes in healthcare legislation will affect the skills nurses need and the policies and procedures that will govern their future careers (Faison & Montague, 2013). Other factors include elements within the profession; the ever-growing emphasis on evidence-based practice and its importance within practice is a professional value which must begin in education phase in order to integrate it fully in a student’s understanding of the concept (Faison & Montague, 2013).
The importance of evidence-based practice cannot be underestimated; in fact, evidence-based practice should also be used in the development of nursing curricula. Nursing faculty have an obligation to use evidence-based practice and model it in their teaching, as well as using it to design and implement curricula. Clinical experience is also a critical factor in the curriculum development process and must be borne in mind (Faison & Montague, 2013).
- Davis, B. W. (2011). A conceptual model to support curriculum review, revision, and design in
associate degree nursing program. Nursing Education Perspectives, 32(6), 389-394. doi:10.5480/1536-5026-32.6.389
- Faison, K., & Montague, F. (2013). Paradigm shift: Curriculum change. ABNF Journal, 24(1),