Brown, Pamela S.
Cardona, Vilma "Betty"
University of Northern Colorado
Type of Resources
Place of Publication
University of Northern Colorado
This research study aimed to investigate the current gestalt of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) curricula in the United States. Presently there is an emphasis in nursing education on the practice–education gap in order to ensure new graduate Registered Nurses are adequately prepared for entry into practice in a dynamic and complex healthcare environment. There has also been movement in nursing education to remove nursing theory from BSN curriculum guiding frameworks and replace them with essential educational standards. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological research study was to explore the lived experiences and perspectives of faculty curriculum leaders and administrative program directors as they implement, develop, and/or revise a BSN curriculum. Ten nurse educators and/or administrators from across the United States participated in in-depth, semi-structured interviews that were guided by open-ended questions, recorded, and then transcribed verbatim. Data analysis and coding using qualitative data analysis software resulted in seven themes: (a) graduates readiness for practice and awareness of practice–education gap, (b) clinical placements impact nursing curriculum, (c) faculty influences on nursing curriculum, (d) students’ characteristics that influence nursing curriculum, (e) curriculum revision, (f) nursing essential educational standards predominantly guide and influence BSN curriculum, and (g) nursing theory. Findings from this research study reveal the greatest influences and motivations for the BSN curriculum and the current issues for the BSN curriculum. This research study confirms that the practice environment greatly influences program outcomes and availability and usage of resources in nursing programs. Faculty, students’ characteristics, and clinical education play a larger role in the BSN curriculum than originally hypothesized. Therefore, issues in these areas are also issues for the BSN curriculum. This study also found that nursing theory is being taught and used less as a theoretical curricular framework in the BSN curriculum as well. Essential educational standards heavily guide and influence the BSN curriculum to a point where they may be replacing theoretical frameworks within the curriculum. Implications for nursing education include transformation of clinical education to mimic the changes in the healthcare environment, faculty development and mentorship for novice nurses on their role within the BSN curriculum, and guidance and support on how to teach and include nursing theory within the BSN curriculum. Recommendations for future research include a comprehensive investigation nationwide on the preparedness of and employer satisfaction with new graduate RNs, further studies on the faculty’s perceptions of nursing students with disabilities, and higher levels of research and evidence to evaluate the implementation of the concept-based learning curriculum.
Copyright is held by the author.