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My name is Sarah Fry, and this is a presentation for Technology in Nursing Education.
This powerpoint will serve as an introduction to my project, which is Concept Map based
Care plans. This presentation will cover why concept mapping is beneficial as well as
evidence for applying concept maps to care planning.
Planning of patient care has long been a part of nursing education. Regulatory and
professional associations such as these address the importance of planning patient care.
Care planning has improved patient outcomes by increasing the organization of care with
collaborative team members. Teaching the care planning process to nursing students can
be challenging. The goal is for students to determine the most appropriate plan of care
for their patients and then how to implement the plan. The planning process should
stimulate critical thinking; it should connect theory with practice and new theory with
Current methods to assess planning patient care, can include a written care plan. This
includes patient data, nursing diagnosis, patient goals, implementation and evaluation of
the goals. This care plan format sometimes changes from course to course and can range
in length from 2-30 pages. There is no evidence that states, more is better.
Thirty page care plans are redundant, requesting the same information in multiple forms.
Here, in this care plan, labs are requested on the system concept map, a lab table, and a
lab section on the SBAR communication as well as being included in narrative charting.
The students’ learning is minimal with this type of exercise. They become confused,
fatigued, stressed, and then angry.
From the instructor’s point of view, it is frustrating to have an assessment method that
stops at the knowledge level. After correcting ten, 30 page care plans, the instructor is
just as stressed, confused, and angry as the students are. Why are we working so hard to
gain so little? This is where concept map based care plans come in.
Concept Mapping uses ideas or concepts that are placed in shapes. These concepts are
linked to sub items or other concepts by using a linking word such as causes, relates to, or
exhibits. The map is hierarchical with the broadest information broken down to its sub
parts. Concept Maps are based on the theory of meaningful learning.
Meaningful learning was proposed by David Ausubel, an educational psychologist. The
theory of meaningful learning states that a student must have prior knowledge in which to
connect ideas of new information to. Concept mapping enables the student to input
previous knowledge and connect new concepts to that knowledge
This type of learning enables the learner to recall concepts and apply the knowledge to
clinical decision making. Now the question is how do we implement meaningful learning
and increase critical thinking in our nursing curriculum?
Studies show that concept mapping improves critical thinking through meaningful
learning. Nurses are required to use critical thinking skills in order to make clinical
judgments and handle complex problems as a part of their daily duties. Evidence shows
that new graduate nurses are deficient in these skills. The teaching strategies in nursing
education focus on outcomes, and less on student learning.
In order to improve patient care and to satisfy regulatory demands, care planning remains
crucial in nursing education curriculum. It is imperative that teaching strategies for care
planning promote meaningful learning in order for nursing students to improve their
critical thinking needed for their future careers.
Concept maps remove the linear nature out of learning and conceptualize content. The
care plan will still consist of the same data but in a mapping format that links concepts
that are related. This will reinforce meaningful learning, increase critical thinking skills,
and will cut down on the repetition and linear learning as well as the amount of pages in a
So let’s review. Thirty page care plans are repetitious; they are usually linear in
formatting which leads to linear thinking. These care plans create confusion, frustration
and are stressful for students and instructors alike. These care plans are not favored.
A concept map based care plan would range from 1-3 pages in length. This strategy
would promote meaningful learning and increase critical thinking skills that are necessary
for the future careers of the students. Concept map based care plans are …favored.
In order to test the effects of concept mapping on critical thinking, I have proposed a
quasi-experimental research study with an equivalent control group design. The study
involves the implementation of concept map based care plans in first year nursing
students of a baccalaureate nursing program. The experimental group will consist of 22
students at a satellite campus and a control group of 22 students at the main campus of a
state university in southern California.
During week 3 of the quarter, in the students’ respective clinical class, they will learn
about care plans including the process in which to write them. During this activity, the
control group will continue with previous teaching methods and the previous care plan
forms. At the same time, the experimental group will also be learning about care plans,
including the process in which to write them in a concept map format.
Throughout the remainder of the quarter, students in the control group will use previous
care plan methods and formatting during their clinical rotations and for their four care
plan assignments. The students in the experimental group will also have four care plan
assignments but will use concept map format and teaching methods. The first care plan
at both campus’ will be copied and scored using a grading tool used to evaluate critical
thinking. The fourth care plans in both groups will be scored using the same tool.
The expected outcome of this study is that the experimental group will have a higher
critical thinking score after the fourth care plan as compared to the control group scores
of the fourth care plan. This will be due to the concept mapping effects on critical