School of Nursing

Philosophy of the School of Nursing Appendix

Our philosophy of teaching nursing, as outlined in the Carnegie Foundation sponsored research on Educating Nurses (Benner, Sutphen, Leonard, & Day, 2010), advances four essential shifts for effective integration of the three apprenticeships of nursing (knowledge, know-how, and formation).

These four shifts are:

1. The shift from a focus on decontextualized knowledge (covering content) to a focus on “salience, situated cognition and action” (Benner et al., 2010, p. 82).

This shift makes the classroom a place where students draw on experience and knowledge to make sense of new situations.  Teachers support learners as they integrate their education in the basic sciences, the arts and the science of nursing into the care of human beings. Both teachers and students expect focused preparation from themselves and from each other to promote engagement in learning activities that teach clinical imagination, clinical reasoning, and foster formation.

2) The shift from a “separation of clinical and classroom teaching to an integration” of these learning experiences (Benner et al., 2010, p. 83).

Our curriculum is founded upon collaborative teaching with an integration of classroom, clinical and simulation-based learning. 

3) The shift from “an emphasis on critical thinking to an emphasis on clinical reasoning and using multiple ways of thinking that include critical thinking” (Benner et al., 2010, p. 84).

This change involves moving beyond critical thinking to develop “perceptual acuity and clinical imagination.” (Benner et al., 2010, p. 86).  It includes the use of stories and clinical examples that move from the specific to the general. Learners must engage in critical reflection taking salient learning from one situation into other circumstances and into their clinical practice.

4) The shift from a focus “on socialization and role-taking to an emphasis on [and an understanding of] formation” (Benner et al., 2010, p. 86).

Learners engage in transformational experiences and guided reflection that helps them develop and advance their professional identity. 

AACN. (2008). The essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice. Washington, DC.

Benner, P., Sutphen, M., Leonard, V., & Day, L. (2010). Educating nurses: A call for radical transformation San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

 Maine Partnership in Nursing Education and Practice. (2013). Maine Nurse Core Competencies. . 

University of Southern Maine Core Curriculum Committee (2011). University of Southern Maine Core Curriculum Learning Outcomes.   Retrieved 3/1/2015, 2015, from

Adopted 12 February 2015
Revised 11 March 2015