NR 524 Curriculum Development Week 3 Discussion

NR 524 Curriculum Development Week 3 Discussion

NR 524 Curriculum Development Week 3 Discussion


Nursing as a profession has a central role in healthcare. Nursing is constantly expanding and professionals in this field are challenged to continue its education. The National League for Nursing (NLN) advocates for nursing education as well as advancing the overall scope of nursing (National League for Nursing, 2020). The focus of nursing is to promote patient care through evidence-based practice. The roles of registered nurses vary with their areas of exercise. This paper describes various aspects of the role of a nurse educator and the internal and external influences driving curriculum development.

The Role of a Nurse Educator in Curriculum Development

According to the National League for Nursing (2020), nurse educators are charged with the responsibility of formulating program outcomes and designing a curriculum that is in line with the current healthcare trends. A well-designed curriculum will eventually prepare graduates to perform their duties effectively in their respective areas. Furthermore, certified nurse educators keep revising the curriculum and making necessary updates to produce graduates that can meet their current needs of patients, families, and communities. Therefore, curriculum development has neither beginning nor end because it requires continuous revision and modification to be effective (National League for Nursing, 2020). Other responsibilities of nurse educators in curriculum development include purposeful gathering of data and analysis regarding concepts of education required to instill the knowledge in the minds of the student. 

How The Nurse Educator Role Changes in Different Settings

A nurse educator can work in a variety of environments such as classrooms, clinical, bedside or simulation. Interestingly, the role of nurse educator may change depending on the environment where he/she is assigned to work (Herrman, 2019). Nurse educators in a hospital environment such as clinical and bedside help promote professional role development and growth along the continuum, for instance, from nursing novice to expert. They help nurses in developing and maintaining their competencies and advancing their nursing practice. In a clinical setting, they help nurses improve their competencies in patient examination, drug administration, and others. In the bedside environment, nurse educators teach competency skills such as cleanliness of the patient and the environment, drug administration and compassion, honesty, respect and others (Herrman, 2019). Furthermore, in simulation, they act as learning facilitators, mentors, and change agents. They create cost and time effective education using innovative teaching methods and technology.

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Nurse educators in a classroom setting may teach diploma programs within a hospital setting, ADN programs through a college, or BSN programs through an accredited university. These nurse educators also teach refresher courses for nurses re-entering the field after giving themselves a break for quite a while (Herrman, 2019). The tasks of nurse educators include developing curriculum, advertising nursing programs, conducting research, monitoring, writing grant proposals, disseminating information through publications, participating in the institution’s programs or committees, and others. These educators provide students with the technical skills that they need to be successful in their nursing careers.

How Nursing Education Theories Influence the Nurse Educator Role

Learning theories are primary guide for nursing educational systems planning in the classroom and clinical training. Over the past years, searchers and educational theorists have developed theories explaining how students acquire knowledge. These have influenced the nurse educator’s role in one way or the other to ensure effective learning (Presti, 2016). They have enabled nurse educators to be creators of an effective learning environment and to improve the efficiency of the education system. These theories are classified into three groups such as behaviorism, cognitive, and constructivism. For example, behaviorism suggests that learners experience can impact their behavior and eventually their performance in class and clinical setting (Presti, 2016). Under this theory, educators can use positive reinforcement strategies such as giving awards to top students to motivate them and improve their performance.

Cognitive theorists, on the other hand, believe that learning is a targeted internal process that focuses on thinking, understanding organizing, and consciousness. With these theories, nurse educators equip students with questioning and problem-solving skills (Presti, 2016). These skills help the students to explore and process information to enable them to learn effectively. For instance, before the educator teaches about a topic, he/she might ask the students to explain whatever comes in their mind. Students may go and explore the topic before the teacher begins providing explanations.

Explain What the Curriculum Is and Summarize the Curriculum Design Process     

Curriculum can be defined as the lessons and academic content taught in a school, college, or university. In most cases, teachers are charged with the role of developing their own curricula which are revised and updated after several years (Alsubaie, 2016). Curriculum may also entail academic requirements of a school such as a capstone project and credit that students must achieve to pass.  Curriculum design involves six steps. The first step is establishing the principles and purpose of the curriculum that reflect the school’s values, context, pedagogy, and needs. The second step involves developing pupil entitlement and should show the school intends to enrich its curriculum with educational visits, extra-curricular activities and specific entitlements (Alsubaie, 2016).

 Step three includes developing the content of the curriculum. This step shows what school should cover and how it covers them. Step four is the teaching narrative, which is planning the delivery of the designed curriculum. The teaching narrative should be vibrant and cohesive (Alsubaie, 2016). It creates a medium-term plan that can be used as a starting point for shorter-term plans. The fifth step involves identifying the resources needed to execute the curriculum. These resources include human resources, practical equipment, and teaching resources. Step six includes evaluation and review. A school must identify the best strategies it will use to review the curriculum.

Internal and External Influences on Curriculum Development

Curriculum development faces both internal and external forces that might hinder its implementation. Curriculum committees is an internal factor that impacts the design of a curriculum. The curriculum committee only accepts the design they are satisfied with, otherwise, the curriculum hits a dead end. The organizational process is the second internal factor influencing curriculum design (Nicholls & Nicholls, 2018). The curriculum design must support and be in line with the flow of activities within the organization. For instance, the school of nursing must design a curriculum that synchronizes with the university program. The third internal factor is the review body and the institutional policies. The body ensures that all curriculum programs designed at the learning institutions meet the set standards and requirements.

The first external factor is the learning institution’s stakeholders. The external stakeholders such as donors and private partners among others may have ideologies on how the curriculum should be designed.  Another external factor that may influence curriculum design is regulatory and accrediting agencies (Nicholls & Nicholls, 2018). The curriculum developer will be faced with many challenges when seeking accreditation from these agencies. The third external factor is the funding of the program that will greatly affect the curriculum development. It may be rejected if the college or university lacks the necessary resources to implement the curriculum.


Nurse educators are charged with the responsibility of formulating program outcomes and designing a curriculum that is in line with the current healthcare trends. Curriculum development faces both internal and external forces that might hinder its implementation. Nurse educators work in various places such as classroom, clinical, and bedside settings. They use nursing education theories to guide learning in nursing schools.


Alsubaie, M. A. (2016). Curriculum Development: Teacher Involvement in Curriculum Development. Journal of Education and Practice7(9), 106-107.

Herrman, J. W. (2019). Creative teaching strategies for the nurse educator. Philadelphia: FA Davis.

Nicholls, A., & Nicholls, S. H. (2018). Developing a curriculum: A practical guide. London: Routledge.

National League for Nursing. (2020). Voice of Nursing Education:Nurse Educator Core Competency. Washington D.C: National League for Nursing.

Presti, C. R. (2016). The flipped learning approach in nursing education: A literature review. Journal of Nursing Education55(5), 252-257. 10.3928/01484834-20160414-03