Pat Benner and Her Impact on Nursing Education Essay

Pat Benner and Her Impact on Nursing Education Essay

See questions below: Select a nursing theory and theorist analyze the impact on nursing education. What is the classification of the nursing theorist? Argue for or against classification of nursing theorist. Pat Benner is the theorist to be used for this paper. Please use APA 7th ed.

Pat Benner is a recognized nursing theorist. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Pasadena College, before proceeding to the University of California, San Francisco, for her Master’s in Medical-Surgical Nursing. She then did a Ph.D. in Stress, Coping, and Health at the University of California, Berkeley. The renowned theorist has been a professor at the University of California, has authored several books, and has been recognized for her skills, research, among other accomplishments. Much of her recognition is tied to her work in stress, health and coping, ethics, and acquisition of skills (Benner, 2019). The Benner Novice-Expert theory suggests that nurses can gain expertise through practical education instead and sound training. In her opinion, a nurse could become competent by developing hands-on skills without necessarily learning theory. Pat Benner and Her Impact on Nursing Education Essay.

Benner’s Contribution to Nursing Education

In her theory Novice-Expert, Benner proposes that proficiency in technical fields like medicine and nursing develops over clinical experience and knowledge (Ozdemir, 2019). The accomplished theorist places nursing practice at the center of nursing education and care, prompting clinically experienced nurses’ training. A publication she authored, From Novice to Expert: Excellence and Practice in Clinical Nursing Power, Dr. Benner characterized nursing education and training, giving the program a hands-on approach hence enhancing practicability (Ozdemir, 2019). The theory draws its relevance from the Dreyfus Model of Skill and Acquisition, established by Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus. Pat Benner associated the idea with nursing, developing a five-stage model through which nurses develop into expert caregivers. The five stages of developing nursing competence include novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient, and expert (Benner, 2019). The theory provides a background against which nurses’ needs at each level can be analyzed and solutions found.

The theory hypothesizes that expert nurses draw their expertise from performing and understanding their roles in nursing (Ozdemir, 2019). Novice, otherwise referred to as beginners, barely have hands-on caregiving skills. Nurses, at this level, basically act following the instructions and rules from their mentors or seniors. They have little experience with patients hence cannot relate clinical situations to any past experiences. Advanced beginners have a bit of exposure; therefore, they can relate problems and determine the needs of patients and predict the outcome for some interventions. Competent nurses have gained substantial clinical experience in a particular field; hence their capacity plans their approaches and offers quality nursing care to patients (Benner, 2019). Proficient nurses have developed a wholesome understanding of situations over the years of clinical experience. Their decision-making skills are quite polished, and they can learn from experience (Oshvandi et al., 2016). Pat Benner and Her Impact on Nursing Education Essay. Expert nurses are highly flexible and proficient in that they draw interventions on a case by case analysis.

Classification of the Theorist

Benner’s Novice-Expert theory is classified as a middle-range theory. Middle-range theories represent a specific aspect of nursing; developing expertise. Such theories attempt to integrate theoretical frameworks with empirical research. Middle-range theories offer definitions, descriptions, and predictions of different nursing fields phenomena (Mgbekem et al., 2016). The theories are not as broad as grand theories. The theories are specific and offer solid connections between grand theories and practice theories. Like all middle-range theories, Benner’s Novice to Expert is barely abstract and verified through research. The theory is founded in Dr. Benner’s studies and is thus verifiable. According to Mgbekem et al. (2016), the Novice to Expert theory is classified as middle-range since it illustrates nursing competence levels and is socially significant.


Justification for the Classification

Benner’s theory presents the five stages of nursing skills, consequently discussing how clinicians develop their expertise throughout practice levels (Oshvandi et al., 2016). The theory has theoretical and social significance as it represents a criterion against which clinicians can be classified while marking out the importance of providing help or recognizing nurses. The theory attaches meaning to expertise, describing it as the capacity to assess patients’ situations and determine the best interventions on a case by case analysis (Mgbekem et al., 2016). The environment of expert nurses and the clinical situations they handle must reflect efficient decision-making and problem-solving skills. Like all middle-range theories, the theory’s criticism does not require lengthy explanations (Mgbekem et al., 2016). The theory’s descriptive parameters are precise, hence a clear understanding of the subject matter. Benner’s theory is ideal and represents real scenarios in the nursing field.Pat Benner and Her Impact on Nursing Education Essay.


Pat Benner is an experienced nursing theorist and author. She has a rich educational background in nursing and research. She has since conducted several studies making immense contributions to nursing care and education. Benner’s Novice to Expert Theory represents the concept of competence in nursing, which has been undermined with numerous inconsistencies from lack of literature. The theory provides a backdrop against which nurses’ needs at different levels of competence can be analyzed. Benner suggests that nurses develop expertise through nursing practice and knowledge integration. Benner is categorized as a middle-range theorist since the Novice to Expert theory links theory with practical setups in the nursing field.  The theory is both theoretically and socially significant since it explains the categories of nurses in practice and provides a platform for understanding the needs of practicing nurses at varying competency levels. Pat Benner and Her Impact on Nursing Education Essay.


Benner, P. (2019). Skill Acquisition and Clinical Judgement in Nursing Practice: Towards Expertise and Practical Wisdom. In Practice Wisdom (pp. 225-240). Brill Sense.

Mgbekem, M. A., Ojong, I. N., Lukpata, F. E., Armon, M., & Kalu, V. (2016). Middle range theory evaluation: bridging the theory-practice gap. Global Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences, 22(2), 249-254.

Oshvandi, K., Moghadam, A. S., Khatiban, M., Cheraghi, F., Borzu, R., & Moradi, Y. (2016). On the application of novice to expert theory in nursing; a systematic review. Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 9(4), 3014-3020.

Ozdemir, N. G. (2019). The Development of nurses’ individualized care perceptions and practices: Benner’s novice to expert model perspective. International Journal of Caring Sciences, 12(2), 1279. Pat Benner and Her Impact on Nursing Education Essay.