22.01.2018 in Nursing
Influencing Factors of Curriculum Development

Adding a nursing program to the education program offered at a university or college involves a significant process of designing an effective program for the nursing program. Curriculum development is defined as, “ a systematic  planning of what is learnt and taught  in learning institutions  as reflected in  school programs and on the study courses”(Sarah 2009). The primary objective or focus of any curriculum is on when and what is to be learned or taught, leaving the decisions as to how curriculum provisions should be carried out to the institutions’ teaching profession. Curriculum development of a nursing program involves a long procedure of coming up with curriculum, learning theories to be applied in the program, and undergoing vigorous approval processes by the relevant bodies. Blueprint development of a curriculum requires many processes such as designing models for delivering knowledge to students, selecting learning objectives or goals, and creating assessment criteria and methods for groups or individual processes. However, there exist many types of external and internal factors, which will have a lot of impact on the curriculum design of this nursing program.

Distinct types of internal factors will have many effects on the curriculum development of this nursing program. Curriculum committees, is one of the most salient internal factors, and will largely affect the design of the nursing curriculum. This is because the committees will take a lot of time to approve the curriculum. Curriculum committees comprise of academics and experts in the specific field who have mandates to oversee the whole process of curriculum design. As Dodson (1957) reckon, “the curriculum committees play pivotal roles in learning institutions and for high curriculum standards to be maintained, the role of curriculum committees must be understood”. This is because vigorous scrutiny of the curriculum design is often carried out by the relevant bodies which consumes a lot of time. This will thus delay the process of curriculum design as a number of curriculum committees have to scrutinize the program before it is fully approved. This process may take several months or even years. In addition, the curriculum committees are mandated to review the curriculum and make recommendations to the learning institution’s Governing Board on whether to approve or reject the proposed curriculum. If the curriculum committees are not satisfied by the curriculum design, then it hits a dead end.

Organizational processes are another internal factor that has many impacts on the design of this curriculum. Organization processes can be conceived as, “the flow of activities that must successfully link together for the curriculum development to be successful” (Donohue & Jane 2011). This involves prioritizing, planning, and organizing the execution of the curriculum program. Organization processes often dictate how a certain curriculum should be developed or designed. This will affect the curriculum design, as some of the organization processes will prove to be cumbersome.

In addition, internal review bodies is another  internal factor that also have a lot of impact on curriculum development in that they take months or years just to review  proposed curriculum. These bodies have responsibilities of ensuring that all the curriculum programs designed at the learning institutions meet the set standards and requirements. Thus, they have to evaluate the whole process to confirm that it corresponds to the set standards,

External factors also affect curriculum design largely. The learning institution’s stakeholders affect curriculum design in that they compete to have many impacts on the control or all learning programs introduced in the institutions. As Sarah (2009) posits, “Over the years, development of curriculum in the education sector has faced with many challenges mostly from ideological camps that compete for control over the curriculum taught in higher learning institutions”. Thus, the proposed nursing curriculum will experience a lot of influences and pressures from both internal and external stakeholders, all trying to have a say on how the development of the curriculum should be done.

Another external factor that will affect curriculum development is the regulatory and accrediting agencies. As there exists many agencies all aimed at regulating health courses being offered at higher learning institutions, the curriculum developer will be faced with many challenges when seeking accreditation from these agencies. In addition, the accrediting agencies charge high fees for them to review and accredit the program. This funds are no easily available thus negatively affecting the accreditation process which is mandatory. In addition, regulatory and accrediting agencies are in most cases very strict on the standards to be followed and are resistant to any change proposed. Thus, the curriculum being developed has to follow these standards which are sometimes primitive and not in line with the current trends.

Funding of the program is also another external factor that will greatly affect the curriculum development, especially if the college or university lacks the necessary resources to implement the curriculum. All stakeholders in this program will be greatly concerned about the funding of the proposed program. The development of any curriculum in a learning institution may be greatly affected by funding resources more than any of the other program’s contextual factors (Iwasiw & Dolly, 2008). Effective designing and planning of the program will involve full knowledge of the amount of money the university has, the entire cost of implementing the program, and how much money is likely to be allocated to the program. As the development of this new program has to be funded from  the existing available resources, it is mandatory for a committee to be formed that will look  at how much  the program is going to  cost for it to be implemented successfully and then approve or disapprove the viability of this program. This process consumes a lot of time before the whole verification process is carried out completely.

Mission of the parent institution and the program also affect curriculum design. This is because the mission has to be strictly followed in the design of the nursing program. Parent institutions always dictate the mission to be followed hence, the curriculum developer has no autonomy to change the mission established. It is mandatory to follow the set mission no matter how primitive or conflicting it is. Framework set for the program will also affect curriculum development. This is because it will dictate what is to be followed during the curriculum design without allowing any room for change. Nursing educators are often faced with many challenges and influences as they design nursing curricula or implement it. Some of the significant contents and influences such as safety, quality, research-method, and evidence-based practices are important (Sarah 2009). In addition, philosophy that the program or the parent institution holds in the implementation of this program will affect its design and there will be conflicting ideas presented which will tend to halt the curriculum development process.

A cordial collaboration without unnecessary competition between external and internal stakeholders in the learning instruction will b..e much needed through out the entire process of curriculum development. Unnecessary competition in trying to control curriculum development between these two parties will largely slow down the curriculum development process. Thus, it is paramount to maintain positive collaboration because it will fasten the execution of this process thus making the addition of a nursing program in this learning institution a great success.

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