Journal of Professional Nursing

A Critique Of Problem-Based Learning in  Nursing Education and the Contribution It Can Make Toward Beginning Professional  Practice - Part Two   

Esther Vallance, MA, BN, RCpN, Senior Lecturer, School of Nursing  Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, Christchurch   

Sue Scott, MA, BA, RGON, RM, Senior Lecturer/BN Programme  Co-ordinator, Wellington Campus, Massey University, Wellington 

 Vallance, E., & Scott, S. (2003). A critique of  problem-based learning in nursing education and  the contribution it can make toward beginning  professional practice - Part two. Nursing Praxis in  New Zealand, 19(3), 40-49. 



Problem based learning (PBL) has recently been identified as a preferred method  for teaching undergraduate nursing in New Zealand. In this article, the second of  two that explores what this means for nursing and nursing education, the literature  is examined to determine the ability of PBL to develop professional nursing practice.  Professional practice depends on critical thinking for the development of both  rational problem-solving skills and critical reflective thinking. This article proposes  that PBL has the potential to develop the critical thinking skills required for problemsolving  and decision-making. However PBL is less likely to promote the critical  reflective thinking without which the transformative practice needed to drive health  gains in the 21st century is unlikely to emerge.

Key Words: Problem-based learning, problem-solving, critical thinking,  transformative practice     

Introduction and Overview   

This article explores the claim that  PBL (problem-based learning) can  produce critically reflective  practitioners. It reviews literature to  ascertain the philosophical  underpinnings of this teaching and  learning method and the  appropriateness of PBL to promote  transformative practice within  nursing education. 

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