As the theory of novice to expert is applied to nursing practice, it could be argued that an expert nurse is able to contribute to the development of the novice nurses that they work with to aid in their progression through Benner’s stages. Notable leaders and educators possess motivational guidance with the capacity to encourage others. Through motivation, leaders can inspire pronounced transformation and support the development of leadership potential in others. Inspired nurses may be more capable of employing evidence-based practices, while striving to cultivate their own awareness of professional self. Being an effective leader encompasses being a proper advocate. Demonstrating proficient actions assists other nurses to develop these qualities as well.
Nurses practicing at the various stages of Benner’s model effect patient safety and quality of care. As the nurse progresses to more advanced stages, one’s assessment skills improve and more questions are asked during shift report. In addition to improved assessment skills, the developed knowledge exists to thoroughly respond to assessment findings. As knowledge builds, judgment alters based upon deepened ways of knowing. With increased nursing experience, patient safety improves. A knowledge-based framework has significant contributed to the primarily skill-based focus of nursing's past, to include ever-evolving evidence based best practices; fostering improved outcomes that target the goals of today and tomorrow.
With many of the experienced nurses approaching retirement age, it is imperative that nurses strive to develop their practice in order to maintain expertise and the ability to confidently educate the rising nursing population. As nurse educators transition from clinicians, Benner’s model can be applied to aid in role development and gauge progression from novice educator into proficiency.
The concept of expert nurse encompasses the notion that the nurse is able to see the numerous working parts of a situation as one significant whole. The perception gained from the advanced experiential background allows for nursing practice to be fluidly driven by intuition and deeper knowing. Common goals can be pursued collaboratively when novice and expert nurses work together to achieve them and promote safe, effective patient care.
Attaining expert status in one’s nursing practice is contingent on meeting select criteria. The expert nurse can be defined as one that has at least five years of experience, nurse-patient intuition, advanced assessment and delegation skills, continuous evaluation of situations, and continued education. The expert nurse can also be defined as one that functions in response to established and proficient learning. As an expert nurse, one practices skilled behavior based on the collection of experiences and can define themselves and their practice as expert.
In striving to progress towards the expert stage of practice, a nurse must build upon their knowledge and ways of knowing in their new role. The concept of expert nurse must be understood and interventions to reach that stage need to align with the meaning of being an expert. The expert nurse does not rely solely on rules to guide their actions, as they are able to hold a deeper conceptualization of practices and implement them as necessary. Expert nurses are able to focus on the most relevant tasks at hand and see to their successful completion. Upon entering into a situation that the expert nurse is unfamiliar with, or one that does not go as planned, analytical tools are used to supplement knowledge. All of these attributes that define the concept of the expert nurse, rely on the expansion of ways of knowing. Expert nurses have the ability to inspire growth in both their patients and their fellow nursing peers.