There are several notable trends in nursing education that have shaped the way nursing education is done today. The introduction of evidence-based practice in nursing school and nursing leadership are arguably two of the more influential changes in recent years. Evidence based practice allows practicing nurses to choose proper interventions based upon evidence from well-designed studies (Mthiyane & Habedi, 2018). This framework is still in use due to several advantages in the practicing world such as empowering nurses, decreasing health care costs and improving health care quality (Myhiyane & Habedi, 2018).
Nursing education began to include clinical nurse leadership in the early 2000’s and is significant because it enabled nurses to bridge the gap between education and practice through an advanced degree (King et al, 2018). Clinical nurse leaders are important and are still taught today because of the importance of their roles in improving patient care through an organizational level (King et al, 2018).
King, C., Gerard, S., & Rapp, C. (2018). Essential knowledge for CNL and APRN Nurse Leaders. Springer Publishing Company. DOI: 10.1891/9780826183712
Mthiyane, G. N., & Habedi, D. S. (2018). The experiences of nurse educators in implementing evidence-based practice in teaching and learning. Health SA = SA Gesondheid, 23, 1177. https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v23i0.1177
· Describe two significant historical trends in nursing education and the ways they have influenced nursing education today. Why are these trends significant, and are they still in use? If so, why have they been so successful? If not, why were they discontinued and how could they have been improved?
Nursing programs in the United States have experienced vast changes over the past 150 years (Keating, 2014). These changes include the diversity in school programs; this includes students and instructors. Nursing has also evolved, including men in the profession. In 1893, Isabel Hampton played a major part in setting standards for nursing programs, which has evolved today to nursing programs focusing on evidence-based practice and improved curriculum to ensure nursing students are ready to provide care (Keating, 2014; Melnyk et al., 2014). Some historical trends in nursing education that stand out to me are the increased focus on advanced practice degrees. The nursing field was once considered a trade and now a profession with growing responsibilities and autonomy (Edens, 2021). Nurses have options of gaining their ADN, BSN, MSN and even becoming a doctor in their profession (Edens, 2021). The nursing field has an array of avenues that can be pursued and with this comes the educational component needed to support these advanced degrees (Edens, 2021). Another change is the use of technology, with the use of simulation and improved interactive learning. Students are able to improve psychomotor skills and applied critical skills.
On the national level exists an accrediting agency known as the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (CCNE). The CCNE work to accredit nursing baccalaureate and master’s degree programs (American Association of Colleges of Nursing (N.D.). To meet the demands of safely caring for patients, standards of professional nursing practice must be meet. Achieving those standards of nursing practice requires a standardization of clinical competency that is set forth by accreditation agencies for nursing schools (Poortaghi et al, 2020). As evidence-based practice changes and the demands for caring for the public changes, so should the requirements for nursing school and nursing curricula changes to adapt to meet those needs. A very real and recent example of this is how nursing programs dealt with the closure of many hospitals to students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Accrediting agencies like CCNE had to allow changes in requirements due to clinical sites being severely restricted (Shorey, 2022). As such, nursing curricula adapted to allow more online formats and vaccine drives, and the like.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (N.D.). What we do. https://www.aacnnursing.org/CCNE-Accreditation/What-We-Do
Poortaghi, S., Salsali, M., Ebadi, A., & Pourgholamamiji, N. (2020). Accreditation of nursing clinical services: Development of an appraisal tool. Nursing open, 7(5), 1338–1345. https://doi.org/10.1002/nop2.505
Shorey, S., Pereira, T. L., Teo, W. Z., Ang, E., Lau, T. C., & Samarasekera, D. D. (2022). Navigating nursing curriculum change during COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review and meta-synthesis. Nurse education in practice, 65, 103483. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2022.103483
The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) provides specialized peer-reviewed accreditation for nursing education and transition-to-practice programs (Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN, 2020). The ACEN is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the one of the largest accrediting agencies that specializes in accrediting nursing program domestically and internationally (ACEN, 2020). To meet criteria for accreditation universities must five standards including administrative capacity and resources, faculty, students, curriculum, and outcomes (ACEN, 2023). Each standard then has specific criterion that is evaluated as a part of the accreditation process. In the 2023 guideline, the ACEN has expanded the curricula to include student learning outcomes based on professional nursing standards, student outcomes that are organized for students’ achievement, innovative teaching and learning activities, updated curricula that is student centered, general and nursing education that supports student learning, compliant with contact hours, expands on contemporary learning enjoyments, use of healthcare technology and simulation, appropriate clinical learning environments, and appropriate formative and summative evaluation (ACEN, 2023). The role of the organization is to ensure that the nursing institution is meeting the standards set by the ACEN through an optional advisory review that supports the university as they obtain their accreditation prior to their onsite visit (ACEN, 2023). If a nursing program is meeting these requirements and demonstrates their commitment to its philosophy and values by educating a diverse population of students, the organization will grant the accreditation. Critical to this philosophy is the recognition of the dynamics of the nursing career that has resulted in significant changes on how we educate students. With the impending launch of the Next Generation NCLEX exam launching this summer, nursing institutions are evolving to become more application and case study based to challenges students’ clinical judgement (NCSBN, 2023). It will be interesting to see in the following months and years how the changes in NCLEX will effect passing rates and as a result accreditation standards.
Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. (2020). About. https://www.acenursing.org/about/
Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. (2023). 2023 Standards and Criteria. https://www.acenursing.org/acen-2023-accreditation-manual/acen-2023-standards-and-criteria/
NCSBN. (2023). Next Generation NCLEX Project. https://www.ncsbn.org/exams/next-generation-nclex.page