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Nursing Curriculum Development and Instruction

Key considerations for nurse educators in curriculum development and instruction

With the changing trends in healthcare delivery in the 21st century, there is a need to tailor nursing education in a manner that responds to the new changes. Nurse educators have the greatest role to play in this by recognizing the importance of basing nursing education on theoretical principles. Theoretical principles require nurse educators to make consideration into three main factors: the conceptual framework under which the programme is based and the effect of the framework on the programme, use of different strategies and techniques during instruction with the aim of enabling the students strengthen their knowledge base and also their critical thinking and problem solving abilities and skills, and also the importance of technology in nursing education particularly in distance and virtual learning.

The conceptual framework for nursing curriculum

McEwen and Wills (2011) defines conceptual framework as “conceptualization and articulation of concepts, facts, propositions, postulates, theories, and variables relevant to the specific nursing program” (p. 444). A conceptual framework serves various purposes which include enabling the nursing faculty to know the knowledge that is important for nursing education, to prioritize such knowledge in a logical and consistent manner, and to come up with a curriculum tailored towards achieving desired education outcome. It consists of the particular concepts that will be covered and also the order and sequence in which they will be introduced and implemented during nursing training. The importance of this is also reflected in the article on “infusion of interprofessional education in the nursing curriculum” where interviews with the faculty members revealed that “most faculty members were products of an educational system whose perspective was limited to that of their discipline, and they were not practicing in an interprofessional environment. Therefore, faculty needed to learn together about the skills required to be effective” (Cranford & Bates, 2015, p. 17).

Different teaching strategies and techniques

According to McEwen and Wills (2011), “to accommodate changing student profiles and address the needs of more mature students, students from a variety of cultural backgrounds, students with family responsibilities, and students from remote or rural areas, nurse educators have observed that changes or modifications in methods of instruction are warranted. To this end, new teaching strategies, based on sound educational theories and research, should be developed and promoted” (p. 449). Educators must consider abandoning the traditional teaching strategies of lectures and assignments into modern ones based on theoretical principles. Such strategies include dialect learning which promotes self reliance among the nursing students, problem-based learning which helps to develop critical learning abilities among the nursing students, operational teaching which is particularly helpful in pharmacology and also logistic teaching which helps in mastery of the nursing concepts. These teaching strategies will help the nursing students in the interprofessional education since they will have undergone transformative learning which according to Cranford & Bates (2015), “the student in IPE who experiences transformation will be better prepared to question existing knowledge, develop new ways of learning, and change roles, relationships, ideas, and perceptions to heighten collaboration among all providers” (p. 17).

Technology in nursing education

Nurse educators must be ready to integrate technology-based learning in the curriculum. This will facilitate distance learning techniques which make use of the internet and interactive video conferencing to deliver lectures to students. In nursing, there are three technology-based learning that can be applied. These include interactive distance learning which requires video and audio broadcast over telephone between the teacher and the student, virtual classrooms where students get lessons from the server and computer-based virtual learning where a nurse educator takes students through psychomotor interventions in real nursing situations. Ability to use technology will enable the nurse educators to use different strategies in teaching. With interprofessional communication being a necessary competence for interprofessional education collaboration, technological learning is a key. This is especially during building of an interprofessional team for reasons of everyone’s participation. Cranford & Bates (2015) explains that “faculty participation created an atmosphere for sharing knowledge and skills to influence student learning and generate a sense of excitement and interest” (p. 18).


Cranford, J. S. & Bates, T. (2015). Infusion of interprofessional education into the nursing curriculum. Nurse Educator,
40(1), 16-20.

McEwen, M. & Wills, E. (2011). Theoretical basis for nursing (3rd ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.