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Nursing education is my area of advance practice nursing.  With this in mind, the nursing theory chosen for this discussion topic is Benner’s From Novice to Expert.  Butts and Rich (2015) states Benner “distinguishes five levels of nursing practice 1) novice, 2) advance beginner, 3) competent, 4) proficient, and 5) expert” (p. 474).  Nurses graduate from nursing school as a novice and do not become experts until practicing for several years.

The nontraditional student entering college is between the ages of 25 and 45 (Genco, 2007).  This puts the students in the Levinson early adulthood stage with an increasing amount experiencing the midlife transition (40 to 45-years-old). During this time many life activities are occurring such as marriage, raising a family and working to provide for the family (Dewey, 2007). Non-traditional students now need to divide a 24-hour day into time to attend class, study, do homework, a job, and family issues.  As instructors, we need to understand and adapt the curriculum to encompass all these factors as well remembering that we have traditional (students coming straight out of high school) in the same program.

Combining the theories of Benner and Dewey assists the nurse educator in meeting the educational needs of the student.  The classroom today is diverse not only culturally but also in the age demographics of the students.  Throw into this the explosion of technology in society and healthcare and educators have novices not only in healthcare but also in technology.  Graduate nurses start out as novices and only experience in the workplace do they become experts.

Butts, J.B., & Rich, K.L. (2015). Philosophies and theories for advanced nursing practice (2nd ed.).  Burlington, MA: Jones & Barlett Learning.

Dewey, R. A. (2007). Stages of life. Retrieved December 30, 2009, from

Genco, J. T. (2007, Spring). Adult re-entry students: experiences preceding entry into a rural appalachian community college. Inquiry, 12(1), 47-61.

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