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 

Reference:  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.

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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