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Concept Analysis (Part One): Novice to Expert, Nursing Concept Defined

Updated: May 22, 2020

In this three part series we will review the theory, identify how it can be used for the developing nurse with particular focus on the role of the hospital educator (whether that be the educator within the education department, the nurse manager, the charge nurse, or any other leader supporting competency development), and review how the theory can be applied to the development journey of the educator themselves.


Patricia Benner, a researcher, author, and nursing educator, created the Model of Novice to Expert, which applies the idea of transition in practice from novice to expert nurse. Benner’s model expresses that as nursing skills and knowledge build, the care delivered strengthens and the nurse makes their way to the expert stage. This model is based on intuitive decision-making. Benner’s model encompasses five progressive stages, with novice being stage one and expert being stage five. This model is considered a middle range theory. The requirements for each stage are clearly defined and measurable and it also integrates more specific concepts. As this theory relates to a specific concept, the scope is finer. As the nurse meets the clearly delineated requirements of one of the stages, it is a predictive model. The stages are met through application of practical knowledge and clinical experience. Nurses often incorporate many of these thoughts and share the philosophies found within this theory without definition.


The nursing metaparadigm includes person, health, nursing, and environment. The metaparadigm emphasizes holistic care as it highlights humanistic aspects woven with scientific knowledge. Knowing-how is primarily skill-based and developed through hands-on clinical experiences and mentorships. As nurses develop deeper understanding of practice, knowing-that guides their actions and reactions. This model is increasingly relevant to nursing practice, as these connecting concepts align with the nursing field as a whole. Knowledge gained through formal education and observation, along with that obtained through preceptorships and work experience, encourage ongoing role development and strengthened ways of knowing.


Now, please travel over to Part Two.



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