The educational strategy lesson plan was one which incorporated a problem-based learning strategy for women’s heart health. First, I collected information from journals, case studies, and books that was relevant to the goal of the lesson plan. This generated the basic problem-solving approach used in the lesson plan. The key reason for using a problem-based learning was to enhance the students’ problem-solving and critical thinking skills. The rationale was that it would give the students a real-world case study on which to practice their understanding of heart health and heart disease in women by applying problem solving and critical thinking skills.
As part of the approach, it was important that the problem-solving groups be small enough that everyone could participate in their group’s problem assessment. Thus, the decision to break into small groups with each group having a different scenario to assess was an important piece. The decision to use women’s heart health was important because women’s heart events do not necessarily follow the traditional pattern of a men’s heart events, yet heart disease is a major cause of death in women. Another important issue for me was learning how to organize a class that breaks down into smaller groups. This required thinking through how to do this type of lesson while still keeping the classroom as a whole organized and on track. Doing this lesson plan project was thus an important way to improve my own skills in problem solving, critical thinking, organization, and overall understanding of women’s heart health.
The key assumptions used in this project were, first, that the student nurses needed more practice in developing their problem solving and critical thinking skills. Second, there was an assumption that developing those skills was better done through practice in problem-solving rather than through a lecture presentation. Initially, the plan was to have instructors and/or instructor assistants work with the groups after doing an initial example case for the entire group. However, on reflection and after feedback from others, it was decided to let each group determine their own responses to their cases, which they in turn presented to the overall group at the end of the lesson. This allowed the students to have an important degree of autonomy in solving the problems they were presented with.
In terms of the practicalities of putting this project together, I assumed that with a topic as important as women’s heart health finding support materials, articles and case studies would be a simple task. In fact, it was significantly more challenging than I anticipated. With help from the instructor in better understanding how problem-based learning should work, I was ultimately able to find the information needed and incorporate it into a lesson plan that was workable.
Working on this educational plan was some of the most difficult work I have done. As mentioned earlier, I believed that this topic would have been straightforward to find the information I needed. In fact, this turned out to be a huge challenge for me. The lesson plan developed over a series of evolutions based on my greater understanding of the intent of the project. Although this project required several revisions to complete in a way that provided adequate coverage of the lesson topic, I was very happy that my classmates ultimately gave it positive feedback. Even so, however, I can see that there is still room for improvement. Recognizing the importance of repeatedly refining the project and applying my own critical thinking skills to the project were key lessons I learned as a result of completing this project. Most importantly, I achieve a more complete understanding of problem-solving skills and how to foster those in others. Ultimately this will be a vital part of my job in any situation where I work with new nurses or those less experienced than I am.