The changes proposed by health care reform have the potential to significantly alter the surroundings in which the medical staff and other medical professionals will practice. The emerging emphasis on primary care, transition care, and accountable care organizations underscores a fundamental shift in how the US wellness care delivery program is envisioned to function later on. This upcoming wellness care atmosphere is very different from the one that many of us in academia currently prepare our learners to exercise in, i.e., an atmosphere that has been predominately focused on preparing learners for practice in the acute care setting. The IOM’s Future for Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health (2011) clearly identifies changes that need to occur in nursing education and learning if we hope to prepare the nurses with the competencies and skills required to practice in a redesigned wellness care program.
What is the part of nursing education and learning in realizing a transformed wellness care system? The part can be a significant one, but only if we are willing to re-examine our current nursing education and learning designs. To produce the nurses prepared to practice in reformed wellness care environments, we can no longer educate our future nurses using the traditional academic methods that we have long embraced.
There exists no substantive proof to suggest that our traditional means of clinical education and learning in nursing and other wellness professions are particularly effective in creating clinical reasoning, so it is an opportune time to pay attention to our academic methods and create new learning paradigms that are grounded in proof. I believe we need to focus on four priority areas in order to achieve meaningful transformation in our nursing education and learning models: building faculty capacity; designing new structures of clinical education; creating innovative designs of academic/practice collaboration; and advancing the science of nursing education and learning through research.