Benner’s Novice to Expert

The Benner Model

The Benner Model is designed to emphasize the skill acquisition of health care professionals.  There are 5 steps from novice to expert practitioner within the model (Benner, 2001).  As a novice, a new practitioner’s practice is driven by rules and tends to provide task focused care.  As advanced beginners, stage 2, providers have developed safe practice but lack a strong knowledge base to found their practice and management skills.  As a competent provider NPs will find they can prioritize and begin to use past experiences to form their care.  Proficient providers have a good sense of what their patient situation is and can prioritize needs and routinely predict accurate outcomes.  Finally, as expert providers, NPs are confident, have an extensive knowledge base and will be able to quickly grasp complex patient situations.

The transition from novice NP to expert takes time.  Often NPs come to their practice as expert nurses at the bedside.  The realization that you are back at the novice stage of development even in a new role, can be frustrating. Patience and perseverance are critical to successfully bridging the transition from RN to NP.  With time you can become an expert NP.  This process may take up to five years to progress from the beginner or novice level to the proficient or expert level.

Here is a pdf of Benner’s Self-Assessment Tool



Benner, P. (2001).  From Novice to Expert: Excellence and power in clinical nursing practice. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall Health.