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Castlefield University School of Nursing

Assignment 1: Curriculum Case Study

Melissa Ackerly

SUNY Delhi


Kirsty Digger

Curriculum and Instructional Design

September 11, 2017



A discussion of faculty participation in curriculum revision or development in nursing education

are presented in this paper. Several questions related to faculty preparation and involvement in

the readiness for change are explored. The critical elements for curriculum analysis, design, and

implementation offered. The potential impact on students learning and program outcomes will

be discussed.

Castlefield University School of Nursing

Castlefield University School of Nursing (SON) is experiencing conflict among faculty

who are relatively new to nursing education and those who have been tenured for some time with

Castlefield. The curriculum is at the center of the conflict. The efforts of the current school

leader to encourage and facilitate faculty development opportunities related to curriculum change

have yielded little reform in the past 12 years. The students are seeking allegiance and guidance

from the newer faculty and are openly sharing faculty and program faults. The healthcare

agencies associated with Castlefield (SON) have reported dissatisfaction with the graduates from

the school (Iwasis & Goldenberg, 2015).

Question 1

There are primary concerns, which Castlefield University School of Nursing (SON)

should consider warning signals the curriculum needs attention immediately. The Castlefield

SON program philosophy does not support the curriculum or the institutions philosophy in its

current state and the reputation of the program is in jeopardy. Other factors include, but are not

limited to; NCLEX pass rate dropped, administration is pushing for increased enrollment, and a

re-accreditation review is coming up within 3 years (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015).

William and Martha joined the Castlefield SON faculty 2 years earlier as newly doctoral

prepared year 2 instructors of the 4 year integrated baccalaureate program. The two were

unsuccessful in efforts to provide direct examples of program and curriculum failure to the

established faculty. This has caused some splitting of the students and the majority of the faculty

disagree that there is need for revision. The drop in NCLEX pass rates was a surprise to the

entire faculty. If William and Martha had used this information to start the conversation for

curriculum change, the faculty may have been more receptive. Utilizing existing data directly

related to the curriculum and the NCLEX test plan to begin examining the curricula course by

course could help identify gaps in instruction (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015).

Question 2

In order to demonstrate to faculty at Castlefield who are resistant to concerns related

changes in the curriculum, the faculty members in support of revision could present the

institution mission and SON philosophy be examined as a group. The SON philosophy and

decisions related to developing a framework for the curriculum need to be reflective of the

intuitions mission and goals (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015). This process could reveal the

disparity in the foundation of the nursing curricula and encourage faculty buy-in for reform.

Question 3

The evidence collected revealed incongruence when examining the SON philosophy and

the institutions mission. The solution is for faculty to revisit the SON philosophy by delving

directly into the curricula. There is a need for a curriculum leader supported by stakeholders and

faculty, who is organized and at ease with curriculum development. The leader would be

selected as a respected member of the nursing faculty and should be versed in the accreditation

process. The Model of Evidence-Informed, Context-Related, Unified Curriculum Development

in nursing Education is used to assure faculty development, ongoing appraisal, and scholarship

are applied to any and all nursing course curricula. Personalities, knowledge, experiences, and

talents are some of the variables that are inherently evident in each SON faculty team. Faculty

may be resistant to curriculum revision related to fear of change or their position at the SON will

be compromised (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015).

Question 4

The strength of the evidence curriculum reform or development is necessary is a primary

factor to influence the support of stakeholders. In an organized effort to proceed in curriculum

development, intuitional support from leadership is critical for obtaining resources to support

faculty development in release time, funding, materials and technology, and assistive personnel

for example. There are internal and external motivators to entice stakeholders such as the

healthcare facilities, students, and community leaders to request support in curriculum revision.

The stakeholders role in assessing and informing the SON of the needs and assessment of

graduates performance and the regional healthcare needs will to provide education to students

with the knowledge, skills, and ability to meet the expectations and challenges shared in the

community and healthcare facilities. The current economic impact on student financial support

related to government aid is imperative to take into consideration as both an external and internal

motivator to make revisions (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015). Students may not get funding if the

program is not accredited. The support of the community at large will provide the impetus to

make curriculum changes at the SON

Question 5

The nursing faculty are protective of their roles and curricula at Castlefield SON. The

school leader has provided and encouraged faculty development opportunities on current

curriculum approaches which did not result in any significant changes. William and Martha

were openly critical of specific content missing from courses in faculty meetings. It is

reasonable to believe the faculty responsible for the topic content mentioned in these meetings

would be defensive of the educational material they developed (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015).

Question 6

Providing a diplomatic but cautionary message to faculty resistant to move forward is

important. The faculty must all be involved in curriculum revision for the best interest of the

nursing profession education regardless of the specialized topic they may instruct. Providing a

clear and consistent expectation for course appraisal to determine the effectiveness of the

teaching to be shared and discussed in full faculty. This process will identify deficiencies or

strengths and allow for change related to curriculum development, implementation, and

evaluations (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015).

Question 7

The SON leader at Castlefield can influence support and participation of faculty for

curriculum revision by presenting the goals, support the institution will provide, and support for

collaborative faculty development, which are in place to the collective group. The possible

consequences of not revising the curriculum should also be discussed. The faculty members

resistant to change could be reassured every effort to retain the effective, historic practices of

Castlefield SON will be taken into consideration for every course. The opportunity for those

resistant to speak openly and honestly with their colleagues is important. By listening, concerns

are identified and addressed as the process continues. There is mitigation for the daunting task of

curriculum revision through committee work, opposed to full faculty to expedite the process of

revisions/development. The faculty concern there is no room for more material in the course

could be relieved to hear the process could reduce, condense, or offer alternate innovation to

delivery of the content. In essence, the faculty apt to be resistant to change may be influenced to

proceed with assurance of the value of their experience and knowledge is necessary to provide

positive curricular revisions/development. The faculty participation in preparing for committee

work in curriculum development is evidence there is readiness to proceed. There are several

theories to determine readiness for change. The change theory selected will provide framework

to help assess faculty responses to the change (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015).

Question 8

A reasonable period for curriculum revision is best suited to the Gantt chart for

curriculum development. A 2 year course is carefully plotted out for all of the curriculum

activities, design, and approvals to be completed for implementation. Castlefield SON will need

to assure every step of the curriculum changes made are documented. The faculty development

activities and stakeholder involvement should be included in the notes and activities related to

preparing for the accreditation visit 1 year after implementing the new Castlefield SON

curriculum. Strengthening the nursing educational program through curriculum evaluation is

important information for the accreditation review (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015).


The curriculum revision/development process is a huge undertaking. As I answered the

questions above, I realized the whole curriculum is dependent on the institutions support and

alignment of the SON in values, goals, and mission. The SON course changes done in isolation

of the rest of the curriculum places a further distance between not only the SON values, goals,

and mission; but also the intuitions. Like dominoes; eventually there will be a collapse. When

periodic modification is applied to a curriculum over several years, it is not likely to have a

robust and current educational component or desired student outcomes as evidenced in the

Castlefield University case study. As I see it, the source of the curriculum problem at

Castlefield is the absence of a formal model to direct the faculty to develop a unified curriculum.

The faculty have a laisse fare approach to application of current practices in their courses. The

result is an unstructured program, job dissatisfaction, lack of scholarly activities to promote the

curricula, and a nursing program that failed to meet the needs of their students, and community at


Gap Analysis

The use of a gap analysis (Fater, 2013) to the curriculum of a nursing program will

identify what the current situation is within a course and the difference to what the preferred

situation should be. The nursing program must first select a tool for core competencies to

measure the knowledge, attitude, and skills (KAS) to drive their curriculum development to

determine what their preferred situation would be. A gap is a deficiency and use of a gap

analysis can highlight areas of the curriculum in need of attention or areas of strength, which can

endorse the preferred situation as the process continues. Selecting the KAS tool, such as Quality

and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) provides a means to develop goals and objectives for

the preferred situation to be analyzed from the curriculum. Whether full faculty are performing

the analysis or a team, use of grids for documenting KAS desired behaviors from each course is

crucial to align each competency (ex: safety) to the KAS of that course to see where relevant

course objectives fit or needs revision.


Schumacher and Risco (2017) speak to the overall picture of desirable nursing program

development. Though the article is for a NP program, the premise is the unified use of a

competency-based curriculum for nursing and healthcare, as it is an outcomes-based framework

to allow for continuous assessment and implementation of educational strategies to meet the

healthcare population needs. The terms program outcomes, course outcomes; competency and

student level outcomes are clearly defined. This has always been difficult to decipher and a

unified approach to healthcare program development may help with interprofessional


communication as well. All components of a nursing program need to undertake the process of

using measurement to determine effectiveness of their student learning outcomes and then the

program outcomes.

Transition to Revised Curriculum

It occurred to me as I read the study from Mills, Krouse, Rossi-Schwartz, and Klein

(2017), that transitioning students to a new curriculum can be a very real challenge for the

students and the instructors. From my perspective, I envisioned the new curriculum being

implemented in steps with step one applied to the new incoming cohort for the first year. The

current students would ride out the existing curriculum with their cohort to their finish line of

graduation. The reality Mills, Krouse, Rossi-Schwartz, and Klein (2017) bring to the study is

freshman 4 year students would be riding out an ineffective curriculum. This would have led to

continued low program performance and student success. The changes made to reorganize

student learning from memorization to actively participating in their learning was an emotionally

and physically stressful experience. The new curriculum design and active learning strategies

require students to prepare for class ahead of time and be responsible for their learning. There is

no opportunity to sit in the back of the class and listen to lecture to feed information, learning is

interactive and preparing ahead with reading and assignments takes work. Exams are developed

to evaluate application of knowledge through multiple choices. These are more rigorous to

determine connections of content and clinical reasoning.

Concerns related to student stress were identified by the faculty from the Mills, Krouse,

Rossi-Schwartz, and Klein (2017) study. Students grades and morale were affected during the

transition to active learning. Stress can induce a decline in the students ability to absorb content

and negatively influence their ability to be successful in the program. In this study the faculty

identified the students stress, but did not effectively intervene which led to a tense relationship.

Faculty can facilitate coping mechanisms in advance for a nursing program in preparing students

for the rigor prior to enrollment.


The curriculum for any nursing program needs to be an interactive and living series of

documents that can support every action taken to promote student success. The evolving nature

of population healthcare needs requires the foundation of nursing education to be grounded in

educational and nursing theories that identify with the mission and goals of the parent institution

and the nursing profession (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015).

The structure and framework for curriculum design is important to promote student

success in the nursing program. Support services for academic achievement are readily known

and available at the university level. Nursing students significant financial and personal

commitment to be successful is dependent on the delivery of a unified curriculum based on a

model that supports all aspects of a context-relevant, future-oriented, and evidence informed

professional preparation for practice (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015).



Fater, K. H. (2013). Gap Analysis: A Method to Assess Core Competency Development in the

Curriculum. Nursing Education Perspectives (National League For Nursing), 34(2), 101-


Iwasiw, C.L., & Goldenberg, D. (2015). Curriculum development in nursing education (3rd ed.).

Jones and Bartlett: Burlington, MA

Mills, S., Krouse, A. M., Rossi-Schwartz, R., & Klein, J. M. (2017). Curriculum Revision:

Student Stress and Lessons Learned. Journal of Nursing Education, 56(6), 337-342.


Schumacher, G., & Risco, K. (2017). By Faculty for Faculty: Nurse Practitioner Program

Curriculum Development: A Competency-based approach. The Journal for Nurse

Practitioners, 13, 75-81. doi:10.1016/j.nurpra.2016.10.014