Topic: Program Outcomes
Program Benchmark: Curriculum Development Issue Paper
1) Select an issue within curriculum development that is of interest to you. Clearly &
comprehensively describes the selected issue/aspect of curriculum development
2) Write a paper of 1,000-1,250 words on the issue, discussing its impact and relevance
to nursing, staff or patient education. Clearly & comprehensively explores the selected
issue and discuss its impact/relevance to nursing/staff or patient education.
3) Propose strategies to resolve or solve the issue. Clearly & comprehensively proposes
strategies to resolve or solve the issue
4) Use at least three scholarly, peer-reviewed resources less than 5 years old in addition
to the course materials. Excellent selection of sufficient & relevant literature (less than 5
years old) at least 3 scholarly, peer-reviewed references used – other than course
materials) Uses evidence-based sources when available
5) Prepare this assignment according to the APA. An abstract is required.
Curriculum development processes have significant implications for learning
outcomes of nursing students. Curriculum development that merely focuses on traditional
specialty is ineffective because it lacks the capacity to impart conceptual understanding. A
curriculum that fosters conceptual understanding is important because it allows students to
apply nursing concepts across a wide range of ages and environments such as impatient and
community care settings. Such a curriculum also facilitates development of critical thinking
skills necessary in addressing a wide range of clinical problems as opposed to the one-
dimensional, specialty focused approach, which fails to encourage students active
participation. This paper describes the conceptual understanding issue in curriculum
development which impacts on nurses’ ability to transfer knowledge to patients through
patient education programs. It also provides strategies of implementing a nursing curriculum
based on creating conceptual understanding among nursing students (Hardin & Richardson,
Conceptual understanding issue in curriculum development and its impact and
relevance to patient education
Program Outcomes 2
There is increasing demand for a change in curriculum development particularly in
preparing students through concept based learning from the early stages. This is a curriculum
development issue that involves replacing outdated content and teaching practices with new
curricula that ensures that students understand nursing concepts. It features better content
management which fosters conceptual learning that plays a significant role in developing
critical thinking capacities. This approach aims at diverting learning centered on specialty
such as child health or maternal health to a focus on concepts that have a wide array of
application (Waters, Rochester, & McMillan, 2012). This allows active student participation
while covering significantly wide range in nursing while simultaneously propagating critical
thinking skills. Student centered curriculum development and instruction improves learning
outcomes which in turn affect the way in which nurses engage in patient education. Students
require having an active role in learning for enhanced comprehension of nursing concepts and
procedures necessary in the transfer of skill to patients through patient education (Keating,
A concept based curricula development allows students to view internalize course
work from a clinical or application perspective. This is very important because it diversifies
student’s understanding across different specialties rather than the traditional single specialty
focused training (Oermann, 2013). Students understand concepts better because of the
instilled ability to link the concepts with clinical practice setting. They achieve this ability
through active student centered learning that fosters critical thinking skills. It is noteworthy
that conventional training denies students this opportunity is particularly in learning settings
with limited resources to allow for adequate resources to accommodate many students in
physical clinical areas. Integrating a conceptual learning approach in curriculum development
address this issue because it presents an added advantage of ensuring that students access
equal opportunities to evaluate clinical experiences (Giddens & Morton, 2010).
Program Outcomes 3
Curriculum development that aims at developing students’ understanding of patient
care on the conceptual level is necessary. This is because it also relieves pressure on
community settings that receive overwhelmingly large movement of students on selected
clinical days. The traditional learning system involving placement in a clinical population
based setting is ineffective because students learning are primarily task oriented. They are
better placed to derive their ability for making clinical judgments through baseline conceptual
understanding rather than from placement (Hardin & Richardson, 2012).
Conventional curriculum development process lacks integration of health promotion
and care courses that seek to address both acute and advanced illnesses in a variety of
settings. The curriculum ought to develop students’ abilities to offer care in settings such as
schools, homes, clinics among other settings. Course work dissemination requires the
integration of community and inpatient instructors to assist students understand how to work
with different clinical populations through concept application tailored to suit each of the
settings (Giddens & Morton, 2010).
Curriculum development also requires encompassing issues such as activities that
enhance the conceptual learning experience. It steers learning away from the specialty
focused learning to concept based learning activities such as simulations (Oermann, 2013).
Such activities boost students’ motivation and ensure that they learn in safe environments
with reduced risk. Curriculum development must address issues such as developing clinical
decision making skills, communication, team working and delegation skills that are employed
in the simulation exercises. It also allows room for faculty to provide specific scenarios that
may not be available in the clinical settings a way of allowing students to learn application of
To enhance conceptual understanding, curriculum development must also develop
student’s conceptual learning capacity through pairing students with preceptors in the early
Program Outcomes 4
stages of clinical courses as opposed to during the last stages of their study period (Hardin &
Richardson, 2012). It should also address conceptual learning through allowing students to
make deliberate choices in their clinical intensives as opposed to a mass approach. This is
because students are generally more likely to learn best from areas that they are best
interested in as opposed to learning preselected courses. Intensives also provide flexibility in
using clinical sites because it allows students to be spread across different clinical settings
which diverts congestion and pressure on certain faculty.
A solid understanding of concepts impacts positive on application of knowledge in
patient education programs. Understanding professional concepts remain important in
assisting students to make informed decisions while delivering patient education at the most
basic unit level immediately after deployment (Jackson, Fellows, & Leng, 2010). They then
build on their ability to inform health care settings and policies towards addressing the patient
education needs as they progress in their professional life. It also assists them to make better
decisions on how to best implement and improve patient education programs on a hospital,
nation and international level.
Strategies to resolve the issue
It is important that curriculum development encompasses courses that address two
important groups of concepts namely health and illness concepts and professional concepts.
Knowledge under the health and illness concept is disseminated through less than four related
courses designed to address factors such as age, health and environment. The courses are also
designed to meet the expectations of patient focused care (Oermann, 2013).
The course material’s concepts cover issues across one’s lifespan, which adequately
represents all age categories. Under the health and illness concept, the health courses address
wellness, acute illness and methods of health promotion in relation to the concept. The
concept also requires addressing health and illness concern in a variety of settings such as in
Program Outcomes 5
in-patient care or in the community setting. For instance knowledge of infections as a concept
may be disseminated in terms of how it presents across different ages such a otitis media in
children, across the health field as in influenza and how the environment facilitates infections
as in wound infections from environmental influences (Keating, 2010).
Professional concepts are also central in creating a solid conceptual learning in the
curriculum which is vital for effective learning. Courses that disseminate knowledge of
professional concepts require addressing the relevant practice expectations of nursing care
(Oermann, 2013). It may be disseminated through courses that address core roles of a nurse
in patient education which is customized to the nursing practicing context. It may also
include courses that foster teamwork concepts necessary for unit management. Students
engage in exercises that describe organization of a care system, analyzing different care
settings, analyzing national policy issues that affect health care systems and more widely in
analyzing international care systems in relation to improvements on national care systems.
Indeed, concept based curriculum development is very important for achieving high
standard learning outcomes. Conceptual learning is superior to specialty based learning
because students develop critical thinking skills and the capacity to apply knowledge across
different age groups and clinical settings. They are also better able to transfer their
knowledge to patients through patient education programs because of the preparation that
supports mastery of concepts. Concept learning must incorporate courses in health and illness
as well as professional courses to propagate knowledge in health promotion and core issues in
Program Outcomes 6
Giddens, J. F., & Morton, N. (2010). Report Card: An Evaluation of a Concept Based
Curriculum. Nursing Education Perspectives, 31(6), 372-7.
Hardin, P., & Richardson, S. (2012). Teaching the Concept Curricula: Theory and Method.
The Journal of Nursing Education, 51(3), 155-9.
Jackson, N., Fellows, C., & Leng, J. (2010). Adding Value to the Education of Nurses,
Midwives and Operating Department practitioners Through a Life Wide Curriculim.
Nurse Education Today, 30(3), 271-5.
Keating, S. (2010). Curriculum Development and Evaluation in Nursing. New York:
Springer Publishing Company.
Oermann, M. H. (2013). Teaching in Nursing and Role of the Educator: The Complete Guide
to Best Practice in Teaching, Evaluation and Curriculum Development. New York:
Springer Publishing Company.
Waters, C. D., Rochester, S. F., & McMillan, M. A. (2012). Drivers for Renewal and reform
of Contemporary Nursing Curricula: Ablue Print for Change. Contemporary Nurse: A
journal for the Australian Nursing Profession, 41(2), 206-215.