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The Application of Problem Based Learning in Undergraduate Nursing Education: A Strategy for Curriculum Reform

DOI: 10.4236/jbm.2016.46008, PP. 52-59

Keywords: Problem Based Learning, Critical Thinking, Patient Simulation, Nurse Education, Constructivism

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Abstract:

Background: Problem based learning (PBL) is an innovative way of delivering instruction in which problems are used as the basis of learning. Problem based learning was developed in the 1960s by Harold Barrows at McMaster University Medical School in Canada. Since then, PBL had been im-plemented as a teaching method in other reputable education institutions internationally, includ-ing nursing education. Curriculum reform is proposed through PBL in conjunction with patient simulation in undergraduate nursing education. The first author, Tan Kan Ku, PhD Candidate, MHS (Transcultural Mental Health—by Research) worked as a Registered Nurse for more than two decades internationally in England, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and Australia, where she worked as a Case Manager in Community Mental Health Rehabilitation Program. Since 2001, she focused on nurse education and research into the stigma of mental illness from a cross-cultural perspective. Currently, she teaches Mental Health, Cultural Diversity and Research in the Diploma of Nursing course at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, while completing her PhD thesis for examination at Charisma University. The second author, Dr. Michael Ha, FSA, MAAA, CFA, CPA (Australia) FRM, PRM, LLM, is the Founding Director of the MSc Financial Mathematics programme at Xian Jiaotong-Liverpool University. He was previously Vice President of Strategic Business In-itiatives Units at ING Life Insurance in its Taiwan operation. Ninety percent of his students are enrolled in the Financial Mathematics programme. They learn not only mathematics and statistics theories but also their applications in the Finance and Investment areas, especially Portfolio Con-struction and Financial Risk Management. Creating a real-world Finance work environment in university lecture-halls embracing theories and practice, Dr. Ha strongly believes the PBL method can be employed in the Financial Mathematics training agenda so students can be better-prepared for work. Students are no longer instructed-learners but active thinkers and problem-solvers. Conclusion: Educators in fields such as Medical, Nursing, Engineering, Financial Mathematics, Ac-counting, Computing, etc., need to be prepared to change their teaching philosophy from didactic to problem solving for PBL to be implemented. Constructive alignment is recommended for curri-culum reform.

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