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Teaching Authentic Nursing Knowledge


The current ANS featured article is titled “Proposing Standards for Teaching Authentic Nursing Knowledge,” authored by Debra R. Hanna, PhD.  This article appears at a time when many nursing faculty are realizing the importance of re-claiming and emphasizing nursing’s own body of knowledge and are discussing effective ways to do so.  The article is available at no cost while it is featured; we invite you to consider Dr. Hanna’s ideas and return here to share your comments and reflections on her work.  Dr. Hanna shared this message about her work followed by slides summarizing her main points:

Debra Hanna

This article is based on a speech I gave at the Case Western Reserve Nursing Theory conference on March 22, 2019 called Differentiated Standards for Teaching Nursing at Four Learner Levels. As I worked on the manuscript, I began to consider a wider scope of concerns that relate to how we teach authentic theoretical nursing knowledge.

Questions I’ve wondered about are: Which teaching standards might ensure that authentic nursing knowledge would be well taught at each learner level? When do nursing students learn to speak with the true words of authentic nursing knowledge? In fact, what is authentic nursing knowledge? What are nurses’ true words?

Authentic theoretical nursing knowledge has been incrementally set aside in official curricular documents for nearly two decades. Maybe one reason we’ve relinquished authentic nursing knowledge is that we never developed standards for how such knowledge should be taught at each learner level. In this article I present my thoughts about a simple structure of four learner levels that lead to four types of nursing practice.

The article has four sections. The history of our first curricular standards precedes a section on authentic nursing knowledge and ideas from Paolo Friere about true words. The next section shows that some teaching standards exist for prelicensure and graduate education. Yet, hardly any standards exist for teaching authentic nursing knowledge at each learner level. The final section differentiates curricular standards from teaching methods from teaching standards. This section is where proposals for new teaching standards are made.

From November 15, 2019 until January 15, 2020 the American Association of Colleges of Nursing called for a National Faculty meeting so that academic nurse educators could discuss proposed revisions to the AACN Essentials curricular documents. The next step will be regional meetings to collect feedback on the proposed AACN Essentials. This article offers timely ideas that might be useful for that important National Faculty discussion.

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