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From Novice to Expert: Nursing Theory

Introduction

Many practitioners use different nursing theories to develop superior care delivery models and meet their patients’ medical needs. A proper application of emerging concepts in this field can empower clinicians to transform the United States’ health care sector. The paper below gives a detailed analysis of Patricia Sawyer Benner’s theory of From Novice to Expert. It describes this scholar’s background and the importance of her model in the field of nursing.

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Patricia Sawyer Benner developed the selected nursing model in 1984. She was born in 1942 in Virginia (Alligood, 2014). Her family migrated to California where she decided to pursue a career in nursing. She managed to complete an associate’s nursing degree at the famous Pasadena City College. She later earned her nursing degree from the same college. After marrying Richard Benner in 1967, she enrolled for a master’s degree and completed it in the year 1970.

Her preferred college was the University of California. She would later acquire a PhD from the same learning institution. The theorist eventually became a lecturer at the University of California. Her outstanding recognition or accolade is the Living Legend of the American Academy of Nursing obtained in 2011. These academic achievements empowered the theorist to engage in numerous studies and researches, thereby being in a position to develop her Novice to Expert caring model. The theorist’s articles, books, and publications continue to transform many professionals’ philosophies and service delivery models in different parts of the world.

Basic Components and Relationships in the Theory

The Novice to Expert nursing theory is a powerful model that guides practitioners to expand their competencies and apply them accordingly in different settings. It has five unique concepts that nurses should always take into consideration. These include novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient, and expert (Alligood, 2014). It is noticeable that each of these five components represents a specific stage of growth. The concept of awareness is critical since it makes it possible for a given nurse to identify his or her achievements and gaps. Consequently, the model becomes an evidence-based tool for practitioners to acquire additional ideas or skills.

The first concept (novice) refers to a nurse who has graduated college or university. At this level, such a practitioner lacks adequate experience and should learn how to develop patient-centered models for supporting his or her patients. This is followed by the advanced beginner level. At this stage, the targeted nurse becomes aware of most of the required roles. The individual acquires additional experience after engaging in several care delivery practices. The third one is the competent level. Benner’s theory indicates that many practitioners will become skilled caregivers within two years of practice (Bowen & Prentice, 2016).

This achievement results in awareness. Clinicians can engage in continuous learning and develop new ideas. Some of the competencies acquired during this stage include critical thinking, cultural competence, and communication (Thomas & Kellgren, 2017). Nurses who focus on this level will engage in lifelong learning, establish multidisciplinary teams, and pursue their professional objectives. This will then be followed by the proficient stage. At this level, a registered nurse (RN) is aware of different situations and predicaments that many professionals encounter (Alligood, 2014).

Such a caregiver can also make timely decisions, solve problems, and deliver holistic patient support. The professional can establish new teams, lead others, and identify critical areas for improvement. The final stage is that of an expert nurse. Individuals at this stage can use emerging knowledge or theory to deliver exemplary nursing services. Such a professional understands the nature of every clinical situation and makes evidence-based decisions in an attempt to record positive results. The caregiver is also flexible and capable of addressing complex health challenges.

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From this analysis, it is evident that the concepts Benner outlines in her model work synergistically with each other. What stands out is that the components are systematic and guide nurses to focus on the best areas and approaches that will eventually make them expert caregivers. In order to achieve these objectives, the theory proposes three aspects or skill levels that all beginners should consider (Walker-Reed, 2015).

These include effective performance, perception of existing situations, and involvement. These attributes make it possible for nurses to make appropriate care delivery decisions, monitor existing scenarios, and get involved in an attempt to deliver high-quality medical services.

Additionally, Benner’s model borrows numerous ideas from the metaparadigms of nursing. The theorist develops the above five key components by focusing on the metaparadigm of person (Thomas & Kellgren, 2017). This means that RNs should be keen to treat human beings as subjects in need of superior services. The concepts of health and environment emerge as powerful attributes that dictate the quality of healthcare services. These two become powerful guiding principles that empower RNs to meet all people’s health needs. The idea of pursuing nursing as a science and an art is evident in this model (Oshvandi et al., 2016). This is true since the scholar presents distinctive stages that empower and guide caregivers to develop superior models and philosophies that will fulfill patients’ demands in a holistic manner.

Relevance

Benner’s From Novice to Expert nursing theory indicates that caregivers should always engage in lifelong learning if they are to become competent providers of medical services. The theorist appears to have understood this idea from the very beginning. Benner’s professional and educational backgrounds made it possible for her to move seamlessly across the five stages. After completing school, she realized that there was a need to acquire new ideas, apply them in different scenarios, and focus on the changing needs of the targeted patients.

She went further to identify new concepts to support her goals. This means that her thoughts, academic pursuits, and professional experiences informed this theory (Marrelli, 2017). Similarly, nurses can examine these achievements and develop superior philosophies that resonate with their goals.

This theory is beneficial to many clients and the entire healthcare sector. Nursing is a field that trains and prepares learners to meet the needs of the people they serve. However, it fails to provide evidence-based stages and approaches for becoming exemplary caregivers. Benner’s model is a tool that appears to address this gap. Practitioners and trainees who focus on the concepts associated with this theory can identify numerous settings and develop new competencies (Karnick, 2014).

Consequently, they can move seamlessly across the stages outlined in the theory and eventually become skilled caregivers. It also encourages RNs to embrace the idea of continuous learning in order to acquire superior concepts, practical experiences, and eventually offer exemplary medical services. Many patients have benefited from the services many expert nurses offer.

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Another outstanding observation is that Benner’s theory is relevant to the fields of practice and research. Practitioners who embrace this model can improve their skills depending on the needs of the targeted patients (DeSandre, 2014). They can also collaborate with other professionals in order to record positive outcomes within a short period. Benner’s theory creates room for identifying superior concepts and clinical guidelines that can transform patients’ experiences.

Similarly, the theory is appropriate for researchers because it promotes the idea of lifelong learning. Professionals can conduct numerous studies in an attempt to present superior concepts in healthcare practice (Thomas & Kellgren, 2017). They can also examine emerging patients’ demands and develop personalized care delivery models. This means that Benner’s model remains beneficial to patients, clinicians, practitioners, and researchers.

Summary

The above discussion has identified Benner’s nursing theory as a superior model for empowering learners to become proficient caregivers. This framework has numerous benefits that make it beneficial and relevant to the field of nursing. For instance, practitioners and scholars can embrace the presented ideas to develop superior competencies and meet the changing needs of their respective patients.

The theory is also a powerful tool for personal improvement. Leaders can consider this framework to develop superior care delivery models in their respective units. It also connects all metaparadigms and guides nursing practice to become a science and an art. However, there are specific weaknesses associated with Benner’s theory. The first one is that it fails to provide a clear distinction of each of the five stages. Secondly, the theorist uses years to describe and discuss the presented levels. This is something debatable since some practitioners can become competent caregivers in less than twelve months.

References

Alligood, M. R. (2014). Nursing theorists and their work (8th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Health Services.

Bowen, K., & Prentice, D. (2016). Are Benner’s expert nurses near extinction? Nursing Philosophy, 17(2), 144-148. Web.

DeSandre, C. A. (2014). Project FNP: Socializing expert nurses to advanced practice roles. Journal of Nursing Education, 53(7), 427-428. Web.

Karnick, P. M. (2014). The science of unitary human beings continues to flourish. Nursing Science Quarterly, 27(1), 1-14. Web.

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Marrelli, T. M. (2017). Home care nursing: Surviving in an ever-changing care environment. Indianapolis, IN: Sigma Theta Tau.

Oshvandi, K., Moghadam, A. S., Khatiban, M., Cheraghi, F., Borzu, R., & Moradi, Y. (2016). On the application of novice to expert theory in nursing; A systematic review. Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 9(4), 3014-3020.

Thomas, C. M., & Kellgren, M. (2017). Benner’s novice to expert model: An application for simulation facilitators. Nursing Science Quarterly, 30(3), 227-234. Web.

Walker-Reed, C. A. (2015). Clinical coaching: The means to achieving a legacy of leadership and professional development in nursing practice. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 6(6), 41-47. Web.

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