The basic theoretical assertions or propositions

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Patricia Benner is a one of the professor in the Department of Physiological Nursing at the University of California and also at San Francisco School of Nursing. She views nursing care as a combination of perfection of skills and education over a period where one progresses from one level of experience to another.Benner emphasizes more on nursing skills that come with experience, performance and research and not knowledge obtained through theoretical work.

In her concept “from novice to expert,” Patricia Benner clearly stipulates the stages one goes through as he/she acquires the necessary skills necessary to provide nursing care.She put across five stages of development one must go through, and these include¬; novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient, and expert. The novice at the lowest level of the continuum is a person without any skills and works best under instructions from someone else as well as observing what is being done while being guided by rules and principles at the place of work (Benner, 1996).

Advanced beginner, has already obtained the initial experiences in nursing and concentrates on building on the most common procedures or experiences in the place of work as part of acquiring the required skills.Competency, according to Patricia Benner comes with a period one has been in a given field of nursing care. For one to considered as competent he/she should have practiced in one field for a period not less than two to three years and performs his/her duties in line with set goals. A proficient nurse has nursed at his/her fingertips and has perfected the art of making decisions that are situation specific and appropriate planning (Benner, 1996).

Analysis of the model

According to Benner (1996), to become an expert in nursing you need a wealth of experience which will eventually become a basis for making an informed decision in one’s field of specialization. Experience tends to be a game changer in the field of nursing, where a successful nurse is judged basing on the quality nursing services she provides to the patients.Not by the wealth of information one has acquired over the years but by making sound experience based decisions that are situation specific and those that improve the quality of nursing care to patients.

According to Benner (1996), research is an important ingredient in sharpening skills and enabling one to be competent enough in discharging his/her nursing care mandate. For a long time research has been at the center stage of advancement and development in various fields Nursing included, and Benner seems to understand this way too well.


Skill perfection through experience is an important aspect of any profession, not just nursing; the theoretical part of it is also important and, therefore, cannot be underscored. One needs to understand what they do and the reason they are doing it the way they are doing it.The implication is that Patricia Benner’s theory on nursing education could be far reaching. With more emphasis and more time being spend on developing a skill and carrying out research and little or no time at all was being set aside for theory.It is very difficult for one to rely entirely on the previously acquired nursing experiences to provide quality nursing care because nursing is an ever-changing field with the emergence of new diseases and new management guidelines(Gentile, 2012).

Furthermore, if we use Benner’s theory as the guiding principle in research, then we will have more work being done to improve a skill in nursing and not a theory in nursing.It is, therefore, important to have a nurse who is better informed theoretically and well equipped to carry out her duties. It is, therefore, important to combine experience and theory so as to improve the quality of nursing care to the patient(Gentile, 2012).



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