Benner, Theories of the 1980’s and 1990’s, Evaluation

Benner, Theories of the 1980’s and 1990’s, Evaluation

Benner’s theory was developed by Dr. Patricia Benner, in which she provided a model with stages of clinical experience or nursing competence (Snowden, Donnell & Duffy, 2014). According to the theory, a nurse who is an expert develops the skills of caring for the patient over a period of time through both education and experience (Snowden, Donnell & Duffy, 2014). When a nurse is fresh out of school, there are things that the nurse cannot do when compared to an expert nurse who has practiced nursing for a long period of time. The nurse fresh from school is not as experienced as the nurse who has been working for a long time and their approach to work is very different.

The levels or stages of nursing experience provided by Benner include novice, advanced beginner, competent nurse, proficient and finally the expert (Snowden, Donnell & Duffy, 2014). The nurse in the novice level is a beginner who has no experience at all, has to use general rules to guide in performing tasks and have very small ability or limited to be able to predict what might happen in a patient’s condition (Snowden, Donnell & Duffy, 2014).

In the second stage of advanced beginner, the nurse has gained some experience and is thus able to recognize some situations and components that are recurring; the nurse is able to take actions based on experience even though the experience is not in-depth (Snowden, Donnell & Duffy, 2014). In the competent stage, the nurse can be able to recognize patterns that clinical situations quicker than the advanced beginner, are more aware of the goals that are long term and can be able to rely on planning that is advance and organizational skills (Snowden, Donnell & Duffy, 2014). In the proficient level, the nurse able to view situations as ‘wholes’ and not as ‘parts’, and they are capable of modifying or changing plans depending on the situation or event since they have the experience (Snowden, Donnell & Duffy, 2014).


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