Aligning learning theory with curriculum design in hospital-based post graduate nursing courses: Getting the "optimal outcome"

Year: 2000


Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Advances in the provision of health care and the proliferation of biomedical technology has influenced the emergence of specialty areas within the health care sector. This is particularly evident in critical care nursing. For nurses to function competently in critical care areas, they must acquire and utilize a specialist knowledge base incorporating higher-order domain knowledge and domain related strategies. While some research has been conducted investigating the breadth of post-basic study in nursing (eg. Russell, Gerthing & Convery 1997), there has been very little research focussing on the nature of student learning nor the underlying curriculum assumptions of post basic nurse education.

In the current paper, a framework for investigating the quality of post-basic nurse education is proposed. This model focusses on the notion of "curriculum integration" (Brophy, 1999) - that is, the congruence between curriculum structure and learner attributes - as a conceptual underpinning for analysis of the implementation of a post basic nursing course. It is suggested that Biggs' (2000) "3P" model of student learning provides a descriptive mechanism allowing for the evaluation of the congruence between learner, instructor and curriculum components in the design and implementation of a specific post basic nursing course in critical care nursing.