Patricia Benner is the Director of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching National Nursing Education Study. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, is re-examining education in the professions 100 years after Abraham Flexner published his report on medical education in the United States and Canada (Flexner, 1910). As part of a broad series of studies entitled the Preparation for the Professions Program, the Carnegie Foundation is studying the education of professionals in engineering, the clergy, law, medicine, and nursing.
During 2004-2005, the interdisciplinary Carnegie research team visited nine schools of nursing, representing all types of entry to practice programs considered to have a reputation for excellence in teaching and high success rates on licensure examinations. With informed consent and human subjects protection approval from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the University of California, San Francisco, the team conducted interviews with administrators, faculty, students, course coordinators, and clinical instructors. The team conducted interviews of teachers responsible for and students enrolled in pivotal courses. By pivotal, we mean courses that faculty identified as central to the overall success of students in the program. In addition to the tape recorded interviews of faculty and students, team members observed the classes and when applicable the clinical instruction associated with the class. All interviews were transcribed and coded using NVIVO. The team also developed extensive field notes for each visit and conducted several debriefings on the site visits colleagues at the Carnegie Foundation. The site visits and interview protocols were structured to allow comparisons across the following professions: clergy, engineering law, medicine, nursing, and teaching. On completion of the analysis of the data from the nine site visits, the research team developed in collaboration with the National League for Nursing, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the National Student Nurses Association, three national web-based surveys to confirm, disconfirm, and extend findings from the study.
In collaboration with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the National League for Nursing, two different national surveys of nursing faculty were conducted in 2007 to clarify and extend the findings from the nine in-depth site visits. In collaboration with the National Student Nurses’ Association a national survey of student nurses was conducted in 2007 to clarify findings from nursing students. The study will be published in 2009 jointly by Jossey-Bass Publishers and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.