Case Study 7 Benner’s Stages

Case Study 7

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.(Benner’s Stages Case-Study Example)

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 900 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.

Benner’s Stages Case-Study Example-Solution

Case Study: A Patient’s Journey through Benner’s Stages of Clinical Competence

Patient Information:

Name: John Smith Age: 28 Gender: Male Occupation: Registered Nurse Clinical Experience: 1 year Clinical Setting: Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

Presenting Problem:

John Smith, a recently graduated registered nurse, has been working in the ICU for one year. He feels overwhelmed and anxious about his performance, questioning whether he is competent enough to provide safe and effective patient care. He frequently seeks reassurance from his senior colleagues and feels insecure in his decision-making abilities. John’s manager has noticed his struggle and recognizes the need for further support and mentorship.(Benner’s Stages Case-Study Example)


John graduated from nursing school with honors and immediately started working in the ICU. He has shown dedication and passion for nursing but faces challenges in applying theoretical knowledge to real-life clinical scenarios. He has excellent interpersonal skills, works well with the team, and is eager to learn and improve.(Benner’s Stages Case-Study Example)

Benner’s Stages of Clinical Competence:

  1. Novice:

    • Characteristics: Limited or no clinical experience. Relies on rules and protocols to guide actions. Lacks confidence and requires close supervision.
    • John’s Stage: During his early months as a novice nurse, John struggled to adapt to the fast-paced ICU environment. He often felt unsure about appropriate actions and sought constant guidance from more experienced nurses.
  2. Advanced Beginner:

  3. Competent:

  4. Proficient:

    • Characteristics: Has developed a deeper understanding of patient care. Can anticipate potential issues and proactively take actions. Focuses on long-term goals and is more resourceful.
    • John’s Stage: As John reaches this stage, he would exhibit a more proactive approach to patient care. He would feel more comfortable managing complex cases, recognizing patient trends, and working collaboratively with the healthcare team.(Benner’s Stages Case-Study Example)
  5. Expert:

    • Characteristics: Vast clinical experience and intuitive grasp of situations. Demonstrates exceptional clinical judgment and can mentor others effectively.
    • John’s Stage: The expert stage would represent John after several more years of experience. At this point, he would possess a deep understanding of critical care nursing, confidently handle any situation, and contribute significantly to the development of nursing practice in the ICU.(Benner’s Stages Case-Study Example)

Benner's Stages Case-Study Example

Interventions and Outcome:

Recognizing John’s struggles and potential, his manager assigns him a mentor, an experienced ICU nurse who has been through Benner’s stages. The mentor supports John in reflecting on his experiences, challenging him to think critically, and encouraging him to make more independent decisions while still providing guidance as needed.(Benner’s Stages Case-Study Example)

Over the course of the next six months, with the mentor’s guidance, John steadily progresses through the stages of Benner’s model. His confidence grows as he gains more clinical experience, and he becomes more comfortable handling complex cases. John starts mentoring new nurses who join the ICU, demonstrating his growth and transition to the proficient stage.(Benner’s Stages Case-Study Example)

In another year, with continued mentorship and clinical experience, John becomes an indispensable asset to the ICU team. He showcases excellent clinical judgment, anticipates patient needs, and even takes on leadership responsibilities. As an expert nurse, John contributes to quality improvement initiatives and serves as a role model for his peers.(Benner’s Stages Case-Study Example)

Benner's Stages Case-Study Example


This case study follows John Smith’s journey through Benner’s stages of clinical competence as he navigates the challenges of transitioning from a novice nurse to an expert. Through mentorship and continuous learning, John gains the confidence and skills necessary to provide exceptional patient care and thrive in the demanding ICU environment. The case study highlights the importance of mentorship and support in nurturing nurses’ professional development(Benner’s Stages Case-Study Example)


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All the Best, 

Cathy, CS