International Journal of Nurse Practitioner Educators

Problem-Based Learning: A Creative Approach to Teaching Physical Assessment to Advanced Practice Nursing Students

Hobie Etta Feagai, Catharine Maureen Critz


This article presents an innovative approach to teaching advanced physical assessment for Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) students in a hybrid course which integrates problem-based learning with more traditional teaching approaches.  The article also includes implementation strategies and student feedback.   An advanced physical assessment course is a foundational and essential component to a graduate nursing curriculum and where the student begins to assume the role of APRN.  Aside from the classic systems approach to assessment and refinement of skills, the demanding health care climate of today requires the APRN student to additionally refine critical thinking and diagnostic reasoning skills.  By using a problem-based learning approach, the APRN student is better prepared to make skillful, cost-effective, and evidenced-based decisions in health care delivery for future practical applications.  By application of what the student has learned in the laboratory to clinical rotations in future courses, the path is paved for future employment opportunities.


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