Highlighting real world examples of Social Mission Metrics concepts in practice.
Related social mission measurement(s): Curriculum
(The following text is an excerpt from Driving toward a culture shift: Case studies of social mission in nursing education)
At the University of Portland School of Nursing (UP SON), the guiding tradition is the Order of the Holy Cross, which includes social justice as a central tenet, and drives the culture of the university. School administrators and faculty report that social justice competency is a Bachelor Science of Nursing (BSN) program outcome and have worked to embed it in the curriculum. In 2016, faculty agreed that the traditional topic-based curriculum prevalent in nursing education was no longer serving them or their students, and adopted a concept-based approach (Brussow et al., 2019).
Social determinants of health and health disparities concepts were woven throughout the entire curriculum, allowing students to engage with the concepts in greater depth, since the BSN program is now delivered across the entire four years of their education. Both faculty and students reported that this weaving of content throughout the four years has had a secondary effect of refocusing students on the larger reasons for learning the material.
Implementation of this reform involved internal surveys as well as a review of evidence. A survey was distributed by the UP SON administration to both faculty and community practice partners to determine which competencies were important in new graduates. They found that broader concepts such as teamwork, communication, critical thinking and clinical judgment were valued over specific task-based skills. Their aim was to create nurse generalists, with broad-based knowledge and a population health lens who can adapt to various settings and situations.
The concept-based curriculum, implemented in 2019, covers fifty-two concepts across the lifespan and care continuum that range from physiologic concepts to professionalism and spirituality. Additionally, a team-teaching approach is utilized, with two faculty co-teaching courses. According to leadership at UP SON, outcomes have been positive among both faculty and students. Faculty believe that students are now given tools and emerge as critical thinkers. Students would recommend a concept-based curriculum to others because they find value in “understanding nursing as a whole, rather than individual departments.”
UP SON administrators and faculty shared that the process of implementing a concept-based curriculum was labor-intensive. They recommended dedicated time and additional financial incentives for faculty to rewrite courses, and workgroups to plan and implement curricular changes. Identifying strengths of faculty was key to working efficiently and effectively. Finally, they developed a guide for co-teaching, which they believe is critical. At UP SON, curricular reform was team-based and faculty-driven; this may serve as a model for other schools of nursing.