Several forces are influencing clinical education in the early 21st century. The clinical environment is changing as both patient acuity and patient-to-nurse staffing ratios increase. In many communities, the number of nursing students exceeds the number of clinical placements available. As nursing education moves forward, it is worthwhile to look more closely at how education occurs in the clinical environment regarding student progression from novice to more advanced levels of practice and how best to support development of student clinical judgment. Concept-based learning activities, first described by Heims and Boyd, are used to assist students in examining and addressing fundamental aspects (i.e., concepts) of pediatric patient and family care. The Clinical Judgment Model has been incorporated into concept-based learning activities as a framework to guide student thinking about the concepts.
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