Novice to Expert Theory Concept Map

The Novice to Expert Theory by Brenner in 1984 postulated that skills acquisition transitions between five main stages, starting with the novice level, advanced beginner, competent, proficient stage, and finally, the expert (McEwen & Wills, 2018).

Novice to Expert Theory Concept Map

The key concepts in this theory are knowledge, skills, competence, and experience. These concepts interact in a ladder fashion to push a clinician through learning the practice to advance at varied paces. In the provided case scenario, Sue aims at moving the student nurse from the novice level up the ranks of competencies through skill acquisition. The attached appendix A is a concept map that illustrates this process.

Explanation of the Concept Map

The concept map is presented in a flow chart format with text boxes and arrows. The unidirectional arrows are on at the subsequent steps for the chart. Color coding has been sued to represent the stages of skill acquisition according to Brenner’s novice to expert nursing theory. Contemporary nursing practice uses evidence-based practice to guide practice and improve quality.

This flow chart incorporates the nursing process with the best-documented interventions and goals that a nurse would want to use to precept and guide the student nurse in their development of skills during learning skills in the care for patients with gestational diabetes mellitus during labor. The nursing process is a five-step model of providing care for a patient (Toney-Butler & Thayer., 2022).

Every nurse follows this process during their encounter with every patient, and this cyclic model has become an international standard for the nursing care provision process. The concept map follows the nursing process, and every step represents at least one step in the nursing process.

In this concept map, Sue would want to impart knowledge to the student nurse before getting to more complex skills. Therefore, the first step requires the student nurse to demonstrate an understanding of the risks and complications of gestational diabetes during labor. This corresponds to the novice stage in Brenner’s theory. In the second step of this concept map, the student nurse would demonstrate good diagnostic strategies to identify gestational diabetes in subsequent patients presenting in labor. This step corresponds with the advanced beginner stage in the theory.

Step three of the map requires that the nurse demonstrates satisfactory skills in planning the care during delivery for a petit with gestational diabetes. This would include planning the interventions, setting the care goals, and the expected outcomes, and the set target blood sugar levels. When the student nurse reaches steps 4 and 5 of this concept map, they would be able to implement these planned goals and interventions and evaluate the outcomes.

A proficient nurse would implement these interventions and achieve the goals, while an expert nurse will be able to evaluate the goals and adjust interventions and goals appropriately. An expert will also be able to demonstrate nursing leadership and coordination competencies, such as coordination of multidisciplinary care for quality and safety outcomes.

The five stages of Brenner’s model represent cumulative skill competencies, meaning that the competencies in the subsequent stage also include the previous competencies.  At the novice stage, the learner should have no experience and have just begun their skill acquisition journey (Quinn, 2020). The advanced beginner’s performance is acceptable, and has gained some experience.

A competent learner has gained some expertise for more than two years and can plan effectively. A proficient learner perceives situations wholesomely and can predict patterns in patient needs and associated risks. An expert has nonconscious pattern recognition and no longer relies on the principles of pertinent situations. They have flexible and highly reliable performances.

The student nurse in Sue’s case is still at the novice stage. Currently, I am also at the novice stage with minimal experience. Sue is most likely in the proficient stage with three years of experience in the subfield. My personalized model from the take-home messages from this assignment is based on the principle that learning of skill follows the acquisition of knowledge, but the latter must be constantly maintained to sustain the former. To get the skills, you require the knowledge first, but to sustain these skills, you must maintain the knowledge constantly to prevent moving down the continuum in Brenner’s model.


  • McEwen, M., & Wills, E. M. (2018). Theoretical basis for nursing (5th ed.). Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
  • Quinn, B. (2020). Using Benner’s model of clinical competency to promote nursing leadership. Nursing Management (Harrow, London, England: 1994)27(2), 33–41.
  • Toney-Butler T. J., & Thayer. J. M. (2022). Nursing Process. StatPearls [Internet].

Appendix A: Concept map

Novice to Expert Theory Concept Map Assignment Instructions

   Exam Content

Case Study

Read the following case study:

Sue is an RN who has been practicing for 3 years and typically works in labor and delivery, and she volunteers at a clinic that serves diabetic OB patients. She encounters two patients, one who has developed gestational diabetes and the other who has been diabetic her entire life.

While working on her normal shift in labor and delivery, Sue is in charge of a student nurse who will be graduating in 2 weeks and assigns this nurse to the newly admitted patient with gestational diabetes. The patient started having contractions about 2 hours ago that are now 2–3 minutes apart, lasting approximately 10–15 seconds.


Create a concept map showing Benner\'s stages from novice to expert and its alignment to the nursing process for an improved nursing care plan.

Write a 525- to 700-word summary explaining the concept map and how the concepts in Benner’s theory relate to the nursing process, including alignment with critical thinking and clinical decision-making for an improved nursing care plan. In addition, address the following:

Define each stage on the continuum and describe the characteristics associated with each stage. Include setting, patient needs, level of understanding, and complexities that may contribute to increased risks.
Explain where you fall on the continuum. Where do Sue and the student nurse fall?
Include an explanation to why you placed each stage in the specific area.
Use this information to develop a personalized nursing theory or model for the above scenario to address the care needed for each patient.

Use visual presentation software from the College of Education Technology Resource Library to create your concept map. To review your options, do the following:

Select Web Tools in the Table of Contents.
Select Collaboration & Productivity from the list of tools.

Include at least 2 scholarly resources from the University Library to support you work.