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Castlefield University School of Nursing

Whitney Hyde

SUNY Delhi

NURS 602, Curriculum Development and Instructional Design

Dr. Quartuccio

September 12, 2018


Castlefield University Case Study

Castlefield is a four-year baccalaureate nursing school. Castlefield’s current curriculum

was developed 12 years ago and has undergone minimal curriculum revisions. Many of the

faculty members and students are displeased with the current curriculum and feel that the

program’s curriculum does not represent an evidence-informed, context relevant, unified


Question 1

There are many factors that can propel Castlefield’s nursing faculty towards a review of

the current curriculum. These factors include faculty numbers and faculty expertise, general

discontent with the status quo, and results of internal and external curriculum evaluations

(Iwasis, Goldberg, & Andrusyszyn, 2015). There appears to be a large amount of faculty that

have been teaching at Castlefield since the current curriculum was developed, 12 years ago.

Although many of the faculty members have many years of experience teaching nursing

students, they may not be up to date on new teaching techniques and approaches. Several faculty

members, including Martha and William, have openly discussed their concerns about their

discontent with the status quo of the program. This year, Castlefield had a 20% unsuccessful

passing rate on the National Council Licensure Examination (NECLEX) and many of the

graduating nursing students were vocal about their displeasure about the nursing program and

several faculty members. Another external factor that should propel faculty to review the current

curriculum is that healthcare agencies are reporting that nursing students and graduates are not

prepare to meet practice expectations.


Martha and William discussed their concerns at a monthly Undergraduate Curriculum

Committee meeting. Martha and William both have their doctorates and have been teaching as

full-time faculty for two years. Therefore, they are both relatively new faculty. Another way that

they could have raised their concerns about the curriculum is by speaking privately to someone

who has many years of experience at Castlefield and is viewed by faculty as an informal leader.

Faculty can be more resistant to the proposed curriculum development because they may not

have respect for Martha and William (Iwasis, et al., 2015). Therefore, at the committee meeting,

if an informal leader whom was respected by faculty proposed the need for curriculum change,

faculty may not be as resistant. Another method they could have used when proposing the

curriculum change is that instead of expressing only the ways in which the curriculum needed to

be improved, they could have affirmed the strengths of the present curriculum and then discussed

alternatives that could be made to eliminate the weaker aspects of the curriculum (Iwasis, et al.,

2015). By addressing the strengths of the present curriculum before addressing the weaknesses,

Martha and William would have acknowledged the work that the faculty had previously done for

the past 12 years. When Martha and William only addressed the flaws in the present curriculum,

staff who have been working on the curriculum for the past 12 years ago, may be offended and

not have an open mind to the suggested changes.

Question 2

An evidence-informed, context-relevant, and unified curriculum means that the

curriculum’s foundation is built on evidence about nursing education, nursing practice, students,

and society, and the curriculum is responsive to the current needs of students, society, the

nursing profession, and healthcare system (Iwasis, et al., 2015). To be unified, the curriculum

must address present and future nursing needs and be organized in a coherent way with obvious

relationships between curricular elements (Iwasis, et al., 2015).

Martha, William, and other committed faculty members can convince the other faculty to

develop an evidence-informed, context-relevant, and unified curriculum by appealing to both

logic and the values of Castlefield’s nursing program and faculty. It is important that factual data

and deficiencies are discussed in the beginning to support why the curriculum changes are

necessary (Iwasis, et al., 2015). By presenting general ideas about an alternative curriculum,

colleagues think about the changes and it increases their acceptance of redesigning the

curriculum (Iwasis, et al., 2015). Committed faculty can appeal to the logical needs for the

curriculum changes by discussing the unsatisfactory internal and external evaluations, evidence

from the literature that supports changes and new teaching approaches, and how curriculum

needs to reflect current and future healthcare and societal needs (Iwasis, et al., 2015). The values

that Martha and William could appeal to are the faculties desires to have competent graduates

who experience personal and professional growth throughout the program and the opportunity

for enhancement in Castlefield’s prestige, personal faculty prestige, and enhanced reputation of

the faculty and Castlefield (Iwasis, et al., 2015). Committed faculty should also include the

rewards for implementing changes in the curriculum, favorable internal and external evaluations,

increased employability of graduates, and enhanced appeal of the school to future faculty and

students (Iwasis, et al., 2015). During the proposal of the curriculum development, it is critical

that committed faculty allow other views to be expressed and give careful attention to those

views (Iwasis, et al., 2015).

Question 3

Martha, William, and other committed faculty should provide support for the curriculum

development idea to help convince the other staff that it is a necessary change. Current students

and Alumni could support the need for a new curriculum through course and program

evaluations. The most recent graduates had previously been vocal about their displeasure with

the nursing program. It is important that student displeasure is used to support the curriculum

change because if students do not feel they are getting the education required from the program,

they may leave and Castlefield enrollment will decrease. The decreased student enrollment will

impact the nursing program and the faculty.

The NCLEX scores reflect a great need for curriculum development, this year, there was

a 20% unsuccessfully rate for Castlefield nursing graduates. This is a poor reflection on the

nursing program. In order for Castlefield to be accredited by the Accreditation Commission for

Education in Nursing (ACEN), the mean average for the licensure exam pass rate must be at or

above the national mean for three years (ACEN, 2013). With Castlefield scheduled for approval

and accreditation review in three years, it is critical that they develop a new curriculum that will

prepare nursing students with the knowledge to be able to pass their licensing exams.

Question 4

Dr. Higgins and the committed faculty can obtain strong support for the curriculum

development by gaining support from students, professional colleagues, administrators,

healthcare clients, and stakeholders. The decision for curriculum change is ultimately made by

faculty, nursing administrators, and stakeholders (Iwasis, et al., 2015). Stakeholder involvement

in the curriculum development will strength the relationship between Castlefield and

stakeholders and can result in a curriculum with wide support (Iwasis et al., 2015). Stakeholders

are people or organizations that are vested in the nursing school, curriculum, and graduates

(Iwasis, et al., 2015). Dr. Higgins should recruit stakeholders that have been affected by the

current curriculum, this could include healthcare agencies that work with the nursing school.

There have been unsatisfactory reports from healthcare agencies that feel the current Castlefield

nursing curriculum does not teach nursing students evidence-based practice and patient safety.

Dr. Higgins could recruit these healthcare agencies by informing them of the curriculum

development idea and how that will positively impact them. With endorsement from

stakeholders, administrators, and faculty, Dr. Higgins and committed faculty will have strong

support for the curriculum development idea.

Question 5

When Martha and William presented their concerns about the current curriculum, they

only addressed the flaws and inadequacies of the curriculum. It could be expected that by

Martha and William criticizing the current curriculum, faculty would feel hesitant and resistant

to the idea of curriculum development. As previously mentioned in Question 1, Martha and

William have two years of full-time teaching experience at Castlefield and many of the other

faculty have been teaching at Castlefield for 12 years or more and played a role in the

development of the current curriculum. Although both Martha and William have doctorate

degrees and have been teaching for two-years, experienced faculty may not regard them with

respect. It would be fair to assume that faculty that had previously worked on the current

curriculum would feel attacked and undervalued by Martha and William. The current curriculum

problems needed to be addressed, however, it would have been better if instead of Martha and

William presenting the curriculum development idea, another faculty or Dr. Higgins had led the

discussion because they would have been viewed as creditable by faculty (Iwasis, et al., 2015). I

feel that experienced faculty was already opposed to the curriculum development idea before

evidence could be presented because inexperience faculty, Martha and William, presented the

idea and the way they went about presenting it. As a result of the opposition, there most likely

would be hostility and arguments among faculty about their perspectives on the current


Question 6

Each faculty member at Castlefield has their own unique talents, personalities, goals,

knowledge, experiences, and values which may impact their perspectives of what should be

included in the nursing program curriculum. Nursing faculty should be cautioned that their

allegiance to their nursing practice may overshadow their perspective on the boarder

contemporary undergraduate nursing education. One way this could be done diplomatically is

by having faculty reflect on their ideas and beliefs and discuss them openly with a colleague.

Faculty should be encouraged to consider how their belief and ideas could impact the

development of the curriculum (Iwasis, et al., 2015). For curriculum development to be

successful, all members involved with the curriculum development need to feel valued and

appreciated for their ideas and the work that they completed (Iwasis, et al., 2015).

Question 7

Dr. Higgins is the school leader who has developed excellent relationships with many of

the staff members who have taught at Castlefield for 12 or more years. She has previously

helped facilitate nursing faculty to attend workshops and conferences on teaching and curriculum

approaches. At the faculty meeting, Dr. Higgins needs to inform faculty of the idea to redesign

the curriculum. Dr. Higgins should initiation the idea to staff by first acknowledging the hard

work that faculty has done and applauding their commitment to the nursing school and the

students. After presenting the idea of curriculum redesign, many of the faculty may feel

overstretched with their current workloads (Iwasis, et al., 2015). Dr. Higgins could recognize that

curriculum redesign is a large undertaking and inform faculty that if they feel overstretched, they

should speak to her privately because she would be open to some faculty delaying or giving up

some of their responsibilities in order to timely and successfully redesign the curriculum (Iwasis,

et al., 2015). She should be open and actively listen to all the faculties concerns and perspectives

and provide answers and explanations to all questions and concerns. Dr. Higgins can assess

faculty’s acceptance to support the process for development of the curriculum by taking a taking

a vote. It is important that there is a consensus from faculty to move forward with the curriculum

development because they are the ones who will have the greatest responsibility for the work of

the curriculum development (Iwasis, et al., 2015).

Question 8

To build an evidence-informed, unified curriculum that is relevant for current and future

contexts, a new curriculum needs to be created (Iwasis, et al., 2015). There is urgency for the

redesign of the curriculum because the program has a high student unsuccessful rate on the

NCLEX and Castlefield is scheduled for an accreditation in three years. The revision of the

curriculum will take several years to successfully completed because many of the faculty

members are not up to date with the nature of an evidence-informed, content relevant, and

unified curriculum therefore, extensive faculty development will be necessary (Iwasis, et al.,

2015). Another factor that will impact the timely completion of the curriculum is staff

availability to devote and concentrate on the curriculum development (Iwasis, et al., 2015).

Martha and William voiced their opinions for the need for the curriculum change, however, they

are both full-time faculty and may not have time during the semester to devote to the curriculum.

Therefore, the time that faculty can devote to the curriculum development may need to be

integrated into the ongoing work of the school required assessments. For example, if Martha and

William develop new curriculum changes within the second-year program, they could have

students’ complete course and faculty evaluations by the end of the semester. Course

evaluations could help full-time faculty create changes within the curriculum in a timelier

manner. I think a suitable timeframe for creating a new curriculum would be two years. This

would allow faculty to work on the curriculum during the summer when there are no students

and have several semesters where students would provide feedback on the curriculum. The

accreditation review is in three years, this would give Castlefield one year to address any issues

in the curriculum for the accreditation review.


The current curriculum in the Castlefield case study was outdated because it was not

evaluated and modified on a regular basis. The ones most affected by the out to dated

curriculum were the students because they were not receiving the education required to be able

to successfully pass their NCLEX and provide safe care to the patient population. Many of the

students voiced their concerns about the curriculum and faculty but were not listened too. I was

able to relate to this case study because in my ADN nursing program, I was in the first year of a

new curriculum development. It was obvious that many of the faculty were not in favor of the

new curriculum development and were resistant to the change. When they were teaching the

new curriculum, they were always comparing it to the previous curriculum and informed us

students that this curriculum was not as effective. It was very frustrating to be a “guinea pig”

because nursing school was stressful enough just trying to learn the material and study for tests,

but it became even more stressful when the experienced faculty was telling students that the

current curriculum was not going to teach us what we needed to know to successfully pass the

NCLEX and practice after graduation. When I started my ADN program, there were over 100

students, when I graduated the program, the class was down to 25 students. Over the course of

my two years in my ADN program, there were three different Deans of the program. I think that

this played a large role in the inconsistencies of the how the curriculum was implemented

throughout the four semesters. Iwasis, Goldberg, and Andrusyszyn (2015), stressed the

importance of having a school leader who was a respected member of the faculty support the

curriculum development. During my ADN program, the school leader was changing frequently,

and they did not have the faculties trust and respect because they had not held their position for

very long. Curriculum change and development can be hostile at times, I can only imagine the

hostility between faculty when there is no school leader. I understand that for curriculum

development to be successful, it is important that there is a strong nursing leader in support of the

development and that faculty supports the change.

The Castlefield case study helped me to come to a personal realization about it is easier to

create change and for your ideas to be heard when you have respect from co-workers. In the

case study, Martha and William were determined to improve the curriculum but they were met

with resistance from many of the experienced faculty. I worked in in-patient Neurology for two

years as a new nurse and then I went to out-patient Neurology, both places were part of the same

hospital organization. When I started in the outpatient setting, I was surprised how different it

was from the inpatient setting, the technology was out of date and nurses were not practicing the

same standards of practice as inpatient nurses and there were no protocols. Around the time that

I started in outpatient, two other nurses with similar years of experience and both from another

neurology floor at the same organization started in outpatient neurology. We would voice our

concerns and suggest better ways that would improve patient care and nursing practice.

However, all we ever heard from the nurses who had worked in the outpatient setting for five or

more years was “this is how it has always been done”. This was very discouraging because the

other two nurses and I had been so excited to bring forth this positive change to the clinic. I have

been at the outpatient neurology clinic for almost two years, the other two nurses and I have been

able to bring about minimal change to improve the clinic. Unfortunately, we have been met with

resistance and a lack of support from leaders and experienced nursing staff. It is very difficult to

create change when not everyone is on-board and staff does not view your opinions with respect.

In the case study, Martha and William both had their doctorates degrees, it does not say the

educational level of the other faculty. When I started in the outpatient setting, out of eight

nurses, only four of us had our bachelors degree, and three of those nurses were the two other

nurses from inpatient and myself. I wonder if having a higher education level then more

experienced nurses works against the nurses with higher education and less experience trying to

create change. For example, if Martha and William had both had their MSN degrees and not

their doctorates, would that have changed the way faculty viewed them? I think sometimes in

the nursing profession, when less experienced nurses have a higher education level then more

experienced nurses, it creates problems and hostility. Therefore, in the case study, I think it was

important that Dr. Higgins addressed the faculty about the curriculum development idea because

she had her doctorates degree, was in a leadership role, and was well respected by faculty. What

I learned about this case study was that going forward, when I want to propose change, I think I

will be more successful if I individually address a nursing leader and propose my idea and

encourage them to present that idea to the larger group. I understand that this approach may

always be appropriate, but I think in my current working environment, it may be the only way to

promote improvement and change.



Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). ACEN 2013 standards and

criteria baccalaureate. Retrieved from


Iwasis, C.L., Goldenberg, D., & Andrusyszyn, M. (2015). Curriculum development in nursing

education (3rd ed.) Jones and Bartlett: Burlington, MA