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New Content Curriculum

1. When it becomes clear that a new content area needs to be added to the curriculum, there are a number of ways that faculty can incorporate this content area into the curriculum. As Giddens et al. (2008, p. 200) point out, new content needs to be merged under a single program of study using a conceptual approach rather than a content-based one and incorporating new approaches to clinical education as well as web-based teaching. Merging tracks prevents duplication of material so that nursing students do not receive the same information in multiple courses. A conceptual approach makes it easier for students to grasp the new concepts. Unlike content-oriented approaches, the conceptual approach helps students develop critical thinking skills (Giddens et al., 2008, p. 201). When students learn new material conceptually instead of in the context of a certain type of content, they are better able to generalize and understand how to use it in a variety of contexts. This idea carries over into clinical education as well, since students tend to be oriented to tasks in their patient care approach, and "developing clinical judgment results from an understanding of patient care on a conceptual level" (Giddens et al., 2008, p. 201). Finally, web-based teaching can provide a platform for learning that includes case studies and narratives that promote conceptual learning not just within but across their courses (Giddens et al., 2008, p. 203). This approach to incorporating new content areas ensures that students will do more than learn about them; they will grasp them on a conceptual level so that they understand how to use them in many different medical contexts and practice settings, which keeps the material relevant and the curriculum dynamic.

2. The rationale for developing level competencies in nursing programs is that students learn progressively through a building up of new information on top of the old (Poster et al., 2005, p....

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