Patricia Benner Novice to Expert Theory Essay

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Novice to expert theory

The novice to expert theory postulated by Patricia Benner revolves around cultivation of skills in an individual. Benner basically states how important it is for nurses to gain skills through practical experience. In the formulation of this theory, Benner employs the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition for practicing nurses. The Dreyfus Model has it that an expert in the making passes through five skill levels namely: novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient, and expert. As the person in question climbs up this skill ladder, his skill set changes positively in a number of ways (Benner, 1984).

The foundation stage, as mentioned above, is novice. According to Benner (1984), a novice is an individual just fresh in the field without prior experience of the environment they currently work in. It is important for a novice nurse to be exposed to new clinical environments so that they can grow their skill. Benner is also of the idea that novice nurses should be coached on patients’ conditions in a purposeful and measurable manner. This helps the novice nurse to identify symptoms in patients, having no prior experience. Novice nurses do not normally have much on their table due to their limited ability to handle clinical activities. They are also subjected to stringent rules so as to avoid mishaps. The rules have been known to compromise the flexibility of the nurses, to such extent that they view all pieces of the clinical puzzle as one. They rely solely on issued instructions and cannot reason and act on their own (Benner, 1984).

The second step in skill cultivation is the advanced beginner. According to Benner, the advanced beginner nurse portrays some reasonable performance, given they have been through an adequate number of situations that have made them note some of the recurring aspects in such situation.

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These aspects are universal traits that need previous experience so as to be able to recognize them. The advanced beginner is therefore one who has gone through situations and successfully developed some principles which he now employs in the current situations (Benner, 1984).

The next on the list is the competent individual. Benner asserts that a competent nurse is one who has worked for a minimum of two years under a constant environment. Competency in this case starts to show when a nurse can relate his/her daily actions to the long term objectives. The competent nurse is able to strategize his actions, based on the relevant aspects of the challenge at hand, rather than considering all the aspects. A competent nurse believes that a plan is a key component of establishing direction, and that the plan must be formulated in a conscious approach, carefully analyzing the challenge at hand. This skill level is largely characterized with planning. Planning helps the nurse perform at optimum (Benner, 1984).

Number four on the list is proficient. A proficient nurse is one who is able to take a challenge in its entirety, rather than seeing the smaller aspects of the challenge. Such overall outlook of situations is not something calculated in the mind. It is seated in the subconscious mind through years of experience in similar situations. Perception is what drives a proficient nurse. The proficient nurse possesses a holistic understanding of situations, which enables them make sound decisions. Experience has taught such nurses what to expect in a range of clinical circumstances, and more so how they can alter plans to cater for varied circumstances (Benner, 1984).

Finally, we get to the expert nurse. In a nutshell, the expert nurse possesses a deep comprehension of clinical circumstances. An expert nurse has surpassed the analytical approach.....

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Benner, P. (1984). From novice to expert: Excellence and power in clinical nursing practice. Menlo Park: Addison-Wesley, pp. 13-34.

Boshuizen, H. P., Bromme, R., & Gruber, H. (Eds.). (2006). Professional learning: Gaps and transitions on the way from novice to expert (Vol. 2). Springer Science & Business Media.

Marriner-Tomey, A. (1994). Nursing theorists and their work. St. Louis: Mosby.

Walker-Reed, C. A. (2016). 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.

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