Innovation in Clinical Nursing Education: Retooling the Old Model for a 21st-Century Workforce

Health care in the United States is undergoing revolutionary change, spurred by the Affordable Care Act, as well as increased emphasis on prevention, cost control, population health, community-based care, and care coordination. Despite all that is changing, most clinical nursing education in associate (ADN) and baccalaureate (BSN) degree programs still emphasizes hospital-based care. The result is a widening gap between clinical nursing education and the 21st-century competencies that nurses need today and for the future.

Barriers to change, both real and perceived, have hampered progress in closing this gap, but many educators are striving to transform clinical education. They are embracing curricular innovation to ensure that new nursing graduates are better prepared for tomorrow’s challenges: working collaboratively in teams, providing evidence-based care, managing chronic conditions, coordinating complex care, and promoting a culture of health.

This brief, issue 23 of the Charting Nursing’s Future series, explores a number of innovations in clinical education, showcases some of the nursing leaders who have championed them, and shares the thoughts of educators and others who hope to accelerate the pace of change.

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