10 Teaching Strategies for Nurse Educators



Preparing the next generation of nurses can be daunting.  How can you make sure that they know everything they need to know - and can apply it in critical situations?  

Here are 10 Strategies according to Jie-hui Xu's Toolbox of Teaching Strategies in Nurse Education:

Strategy 1:  Lecture

We hear ya - lecture?  That's it? The truth is that time and again lecturing has proven to be one of the most effective ways to present information to large groups of students when you need to cover a lot of material quickly. 

But what about the belief that it gives the students a passive, non-thinking, information-receiving role?

With technology, lectures don't have to be boring.  Incorporating polling technology, videos, and interactive software applications, can make the lecture fun and combat the passive student role.

Strategy 2: High-Fidelity Simulation

Simulation allows you to to recreate a clinical scenario in an artificial setting. These scenarios often mimic the patient care environment and allow for direct application of theoretical knowledge.

Simulations often provide innovative educational experiences that help nurses assess and develop clinical competency.

Plus, it improves student satisfaction and self-confidence.  Win-win!

Incorporating debriefing sessions after each simulation as well will improve critical thinking and clinical reasoning.

Strategy 3: Concept Mapping

Remember all those sentence diagrams you did in English class?  This is kind of the concept here - but way more advanced.

This strategy motivates students to represent ideas visually, which causes them to analyze, evaluate, and think critically.  Concept mapping helps complete missing knowledge and clarify existing knowledge by allowing students to see interrelationships in clinical data and grasp a patient's total clinical picture.

These concept mapping applications are even available on mobile devices.

Strategy 4:  Online Course

The best part about online courses for nurses?  They can control their own study time and work it around their schedule. In today's hectic world, we don't always have time to make it into a physical classroom.

By using online courses, the instructor can prepare diverse learning materials, such as literature, videos, websites and discussion forums, and administer an online test to evaluate comprehension.

Strategy 5: Games

Now we're getting to the good stuff, because who doesn't like games?  Using games to teach content that may be considered dry or boring can bring about a fun, open, and enjoyable atmosphere ideal for learning.  

Plus, games combined with lectures are more effective than lectures alone in improving student knowledge.  Best of all worlds!

Strategy 6: Role Playing

Wait - isn't this the same as Simulation or Games that we have already listed as strategies?

Not exactly. In role playing, students represent and experience characters known in every day life, and helps students learn how to communicate and deal with conflict.

To utilize this strategy, establish the goal of the role playing activity, and debrief after the activity is complete to provide feedback to students.

Strategy 7: Jigsaw Classroom

In this strategy, Home Groups are formed to resolve a task. The Home Group allocates one member to each Expert or Research Group who gather data to bring back to the Home Group.  This technique reduces racial conflict, promotes better learning, improves student motivation, and increases enjoyment of the learning experience. 

Again, debriefing should follow to ensure that support, reflection, and increased learning can happen.

Strategy 8: Case Study

Generally when we think of case studies, we think of using them in business practice - but they can also be a great learning tools.

Case studies are realistic and complex stories that help bridge the gap between theory and practice, and between the classroom and the workplace. 

The use of Case studies in nurse education is suitable for teaching about clinical diseases, culture competence, communication skills, and other topics.  

Strategy 9:  Debating

Debating should be used when teaching a controversial issue or discussing a trend in nursing education. It helps students to become actively involved in in learning the course content and promotes critical thinking skills and enhances verbal communication skills.  

Strategy 10:  Problem-Based Learning

In this strategy, educators present realistic patient scenarios, ask questions, and require students to search for holistic answers.

It also encourages active and self-directed learning, self-appraisal, clinical problem-solving skills, teamwork, discipline, and integration of information.

This can be used to teach relatively complex or messy problems with broad association with basic science and clinical experience, such as heart failure or pneumonia.


Do you have unique strategies you've used in your Nursing Education or that an instructor used that you remember?

Post them below!

And, if you're looking for a way to help your Nursing Students organize and manage their credentials, documents, work history, and more, the Nurse Backpack app is here to help.  Contact us for a demo of our enterprise version to for your entire group of students, or check out the mobile app in the App Store or Google Play Store.

Have questions?  Contact us here.