Teaching on the “Rough Ground”: Clinical Reasoning and Professional Formation in Clinical Nursing Education

Teaching on the “Rough Ground”: Clinical Reasoning and Professional Formation in Clinical Nursing Education

Learning how and when to use knowledge and skills in evolving clinical situations is essential to the development of competent and expert nursing practice. The best clinical educators use experiences and practices in a variety of learning environments to facilitate new nurses’ development of situated clinical reasoning skills. In this workshop, we will discuss the importance of developing a holistic grasp of nursing practices and demonstrate how clinical teachers can engage beginners in ways that maximize experiential learning for knowledge use. We will explore the vital role that situated coaching — and learning directly from whole practice situations — play into the development of new nurses’ clinical reasoning skills and professional identity formation.

Session Objectives
Following this session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify opportunities and strategies to maximize learning and professional formation in clinical settings
  • Engage students in situated clinical reasoning in clinical, lab, and classroom settings
  • Connect clinical reasoning and professional formation in classroom, lab, and clinical learning.


Lisa Day

Lisa Day, PhD, RN, CNE, is Vice Dean for Educational Innovation and Clinical Professor at Washington State University College of Nursing. Dr. Day has been involved in academic and clinical practice education since 1999 and, since 2008, has consulted on several national nursing education-related projects including the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s National Study of Nursing Education and the first phase of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded project Quality and Safety Education in Nursing (QSEN). She is a co-author of the landmark publication “Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation” (Benner, Sutphen, Leonard & Day, 2010), which reports the results of the Carnegie study, and has provided many faculty-development workshops and curriculum consultations for schools of nursing in the United States and Canada. She is certified as a Nurse Educator (CNE) by the National League for Nursing (NLN) and was selected as a Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Faculty Scholar in interprofessional health sciences education, 2013-15. Current projects include a study of a nursing education intervention focused on collaborative preparation of the direct-care nursing team in long-term care and development of a course for health-professions students in interprofessional values clarification. She recently co-wrote with a communication scientist an innovative book on safe communication in nursing practice (Hannawa, Wendt & Day) and is currently a member of the NLN Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (CNEA) residency program accreditation task force and the NLN Nursing Education Research Review Panel.