Patricia Benner: “From Novice to Expert”


Patricia Benner is a famous nursing theorist who produced the model “From Novice to Expert”. She is “currently a Professor Emerita at the University of Chicago” (Hill, 2010, p. 25). According to Benner, nurses and healthcare professionals must embrace new skills in order to become expert caregivers.

This understanding encouraged Patricia Benner to formulate a powerful nursing theory. This theory supports the competencies of many caregivers today. Patricia Benner has presented numerous ideas that have revolutionized the field of nursing. This discussion gives a brief overview of the theorist’s background.

A Brief Overview of the Theorist’s Background

Personal Life

Patricia Benner was born in August 1942. She was born in Hampton where her parents lived during the 1940s. Patricia Benner Sawyer encountered a lot of challenges during her childhood. She decided to work hard in school in order to become a nurse. She later joined college in order to achieve her educational goals.

She also joined “Pasadena City College (PCC) where she earned her first Associate’s Degree in Nursing in 1964” (Hill, 2010, p. 25). She also earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the same college. In 1967, Patricia decided to Marry Richard Benner. She also “earned a Master’s Degree in 1970” (Butts & Rich, 2010, p. 74). She joined the University of California in order to earn her PhD.

Career Background

Patricia has achieved many goals as a nursing theorist. To begin with, she joined UCSF whereby she pioneered several projects. She also wrote numerous books in order to support her thoughts. One of her books is called “From Novice to Expert: Excellence and Power in Clinical Nursing Practice”. She gained most of her ideas from the AMICAE Project.

She completed the project after joining UCSF’s nursing faculty. The theorist also “promoted the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition” (Butts & Rich, 2010, p. 82). This model made it easier for the scholar to identify the best healthcare competencies. Patricia’s powerful model has encouraged many nurses to become professional caregivers.

In 1989, Patricia decided to work with Wrubel Judith. This opportunity made it easier for the theorist to identify new concepts and ideas. Such ideas have improved the nature of caring. She also identified new stages that can improve the skills of many nurses. She also “analyzed the major aspects that define a person’s knowledge or understanding” (Butts & Rich, 2010, p. 86).

These “four aspects include the role of the situation, the role of temporality, the role of temporal concerns, and the role of the body” (Hill, 2010, p. 27). She eventually produced new concepts and ideas that would eventually make nursing a powerful practice.


The American Academy of Nursing named Patricia Benner as a Living Legend (LL) of the association. This designation is relevant because it honors every caregiver who presents meaningful nursing concepts. The above theorist introduced a powerful concept in order to make nursing a meaningful practice. According to Benner, nursing should be “a meaningful practice that informs different theoretical practices” (Hill, 2010, p. 32). Most of Benner’s ideas have become useful in many nursing organizations.

The theorist presented powerful arguments in order to support every caregiver. Benner’s theory has made it possible for many caregivers to improve their skills and competences. Many caregivers have embraced the power of evidence-based approach in order to support their patients. This discussion explains why Patricia Benner is a great nursing theorist.

Reference List

Butts, J., & Rich, K. (2010). Philosophies and Theories for Advanced Nursing Practice. New York, NY: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Hill, K. (2010). Improving Quality and Patient Safety by Retaining Nursing Expertise. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 15(3), 23-36.

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NursingBird. (2023, September 2). Patricia Benner: “From Novice to Expert”. Retrieved from


NursingBird. (2023, September 2). Patricia Benner: “From Novice to Expert”.

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NursingBird. (2023) 'Patricia Benner: “From Novice to Expert”'. 2 September.


NursingBird. 2023. "Patricia Benner: “From Novice to Expert”." September 2, 2023.

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NursingBird. "Patricia Benner: “From Novice to Expert”." September 2, 2023.