Benner vs. Ericsson on experience

Mindhacks reports on a recent Time magazine article that highlights work by Dr. K. Anders Ericsson, who has shown that experience is not a good measure of expertise. Rather, it is challenge and exertion that produces expert performance. This seems to be at odds with the Patricia Benner idea of novice to expert nursing, in which inexperienced nurses just follow rules, while experienced ones perform intuitively.

Actually, I don't have any idea if Benner and Ericsson are at odds, because I don't know enough about either theory. However, Ericsson-as-presented-in-blog-post is at odds with Benner-as-presented-in-nursing-concepts-course. I have the feeling that part of the point of promoting Benner to nursing students is social control--that is, get students to internalize the idea they are novices so you can tell them "hey, just the follow the rules."

Nursing programs as I have witness them are two-faced in promoting "critical thinking" and "evidence-based practice" on the one hand and hierarchy and the authority of elders on the other. It would be nice to say that this is the difference between newer and older nurses, trained under different systems, but it doesn't seem to be.

In fact, just today, just an hour ago, I had one of the Dean Vaughn system medical terminology labs in which the instructor told us before class that, in her PhD program, they had been learning about the importance of learning styles and that we each had to develop our own ways to study and learn, and told me during class that I should stop studying the terminology by myself (quietly) and follow the video with the rest of class.

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