Benner’s novice to expert model is a developmental stage model developed by the American nurse and professor of nursing, Patricia Benner. Based on her observations and the work of others, such as Lawrence Shulman (1979), Benner’s novice to expert model observed how nurses progress through various stages in their career development.
This model addresses the variability in expert nursing practice and lists the developmental stages nurses pass through in their careers. Benner’s novice to expert model proposed that nursing practice progresses from novice to proficient then to expert through interrelated career stages. She further explained that each of these nine progressive levels is not an end state but rather an ongoing cycle of learning and growth from the novice to the expert.
Who is Dr Patricia Benner Novice to Expert – Nursing Theorist
Dr Patricia Benner is a nurse, researcher, theorist and author specialising in Critical Thinking and Clinical Expertise.
Benner was born in 1943 and grew up in a small town in Virginia. She went to school at the University of Maryland, where she received a nursing diploma after only three years. Benner initially knew that she wanted to be a nurse, so she chose to go there for her schooling.
After graduating from the University of Maryland, she worked in the medical-surgical unit of a children’s hospital for a year before going back to school at the University of Pittsburgh to pursue her bachelor’s degree in nursing. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she worked once again in a children’s hospital until 1969, when she moved on to work as an instructor at George Mason University.
Benner left George Mason University in 1971 and moved on to UCSF School of Nursing, where she worked until 1976. She then went on to get her master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in 1977.
Benner stayed at the University of Pennsylvania for a couple more years before leaving again and going back to George Mason University as an assistant professor. In 1987, Benner was chosen to be the director of UCSF School of Nursing’s Advanced Practice Program until 1990 when she came back to George Mason University for a second time and was chosen as the chairwoman of their Department of Nursing.
In 1991, Benner received her PhD from the University of California at San Francisco in health education. Her dissertation was entitled The expert nurse: A phenomenological investigation of the novice-to-expert transformation.
Benner has lectured in numerous countries around the world. She has published ten books and more than 150 scientific articles. These publications include seminal works on clinical reasoning, transition in nursing, and expertise. She is also the editor of the first book on clinical judgment.
Her work focuses on developing nurses’ clinical reasoning through experience-based learning that is part of practice (not separate from it), giving them skills to access their knowledge and expertise. However, Benner’s work is also about the process of clinical judgment.
She understands that life-or-death decisions are not made in a moment or by simple algorithms but through experience and an accumulation of knowledge. Her theory on experience-based learning was labelled expert nursing practice (ENP) by her colleague Laura Palmer.
“Novice to Expert: Excellence and Exceptional Performance in Nursing” was originally published in 1984 and has since been updated through several versions. The book’s basic premise is that nurses go through seven major stages of learning and expertise development, each stage having its own characteristics and needs for learning.
The book is organized into two main parts: “theoretical foundations” and “expert practice.” The former describes a process model that nurses go through as they develop from novice to expert. It proposes the following seven stages of learning:
In each stage, Benner identifies characteristics displayed by novices in the field and offers strategies for educators to build on those characteristics to move novices toward expertise.
The latter part of the book describes how nurses at each stage perceive what is meaningful as they learn, how they learn, and what they need as learners. It also suggests specific assessment techniques for educators to use with their students to help identify strengths and weaknesses as students move from one stage to the next.
What is the purpose of Benner’s novice to expert model theory?
The novice to expert theory, developed by Patricia Benner in the late 1970s, is based on an analysis of thousands of hours of audio-taped scenes from acute care units. She proposed that novice nurses are primarily spontaneous learners who try to meet patients’ needs through trial and error. As learners gain experience, they become proficient and develop a novice type of reasoning.
This theory helps novice nurses develop a strong foundation for their practice early on by supporting them through the role and assisting them in developing into proficient learners. As novice nurses advance, they continue to build on this foundation of knowledge and skills. The theory also provides nurses with standards against which they can self-assess and learn from their mistakes. Educators should adopt the same constructive approach to teaching novice learners.
What are Benner’s seven domains of nursing?
The transition from novice to apprentice occurs when nurses have extensive patient care experience but little formal education. Nurses often think of skilled nursing practice as something acquired after years of clinical experience. In reality, the practice results from the formal and informal teaching nurses receive during their training.
Patricia Benner identified seven domains of skilled clinical knowledge that she believed were a natural result of good nursing education. They are as follows:
1) Technical competence.
2) Collaboration and consultation.
3) Assessment of needs, plan development, implementation and evaluation.
4) Evaluation of outcome data to plan nursing interventions.
5) Facilitation of patient teaching and learning process to encourage self-care.
6) Organization and prioritization of care activities.
7) Professional accountability and legal considerations.
How many levels are there in the novice to expert nursing theory?
There are five levels of expertise that nurses go through as they work in their positions. At the first level, novice nurses have little experience and skills in critical thinking. They may have experience in patient care, but they are still learning how to make decisions and ask questions to obtain the information required for clinical practice.
They tend to obtain all of their knowledge from a book or a lecture in a classroom setting without using what they learned. Eventually, novice nurses gain the experience and skills of expert nursing.
At the second level, expert nurses develop skills by incorporating Benner’s novice to expert model academic and practice settings throughout their careers. Their decision-making skills become more refined, and expert nurses can efficiently diagnose injuries or illnesses without having prior experience with them. They can better synthesize what they have learned in the past to respond to a patient’s needs.
The third expert nursing level is expert consultants. At this point, expert nurses are experienced in many different aspects of nursing administration. They can bring that knowledge into the nursing field to be leaders for other nurses. They can help expert nurses turn their knowledge into actions that can improve patient care.
The fourth expert nursing level is expert clinicians. This is where expert nurses become highly specialized in certain areas of patient care and begin teaching students about their techniques. These nursing administration experts have a considerable amount of experience in their field, and they can continue learning from their past mistakes to perfect the nursing skills that they use.
The final expert nursing level is expert researchers. Expert nurses can help improve patient care for future patients by performing research studies and publishing them. These proficient nurses perform research studies that lead to evidence-based nursing practices. Someone at this level can even become a chief faculty development officer, dean, etc., at higher learning institutions.
How is Benner’s theory useful to the clinical nursing practice?
Benner’s novice-to-expert model helps in skill acquisition for the advanced beginner in nursing. It is the process that helps the advanced beginner gain knowledge and become an expert, proficient practitioner. The model helps guide simulation facilitator development for students looking to get an intuitive grasp on acute and critical care of patients and increase a learner’s nursing knowledge.
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