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Patricia Benner: from Novice to Expert

Grand Canyon University
September 29, 2012

Patricia Benner: from Novice to Expert
As experienced nurses we all have the opportunity to work with nursing students and new graduate nurses. It is always fascinating to watch their transition from that of the nursing student to that of primary caregiver. One of this committee’s obligations is to be there to help them develop in this role; whether as a leader, an educator, a mentor or peer.
Upon graduation from nursing school, the expectation changes for the graduate nurse. Armed with the latest in EBP, the most recent nursing knowledge, and freshly learned skills, the new nurse is expected, by some, to function at the same level as every other experienced nurse on their unit. The members of this committee understand this is an unrealistic expectation, however, just how long should it take for the new graduate nurse to function as an independent staff nurse?
Dr. Patricia Benner, one of nursing’s Grand Theorists, has addressed this very question.
In her book, From Novice to Expert: Excellence and Power in Clinical Nursing Practice, Dr. Benner describes that much of the knowledge learned in nursing is obtained at the bedside, and new nurses will only become expert nurses through time and experience. Dr. Benner based her work on the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition (2001).
Background and Origins
Dr. Patricia Benner was born in Hampton, Virginia, but spent her childhood in California where she was formally educated. She attended Pasadena College, where she majored in nursing and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1964. Her work as a nurse ranged from direct, bedside care as a floor nurse to Head Nurse in Kansas City General Hospital’s Coronary Care Unit, to Stanford University Hospital and Medical Center as an Intensive Care Staff Nurse. In 1970, she earned an Advanced Practice...

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