Role Modeling

Role modeling can be an adjunct to teaching, especially in the clinical setting. The article by Davis (2013) discusses the use of role modeling in teaching and learning, but also for critical self-analysis. It is considered both a teaching strategy and theory of student learning.

The teacher will have a dual role of educational model, but also clinical/nursing model. The student will learn by attempting to assume the role of nurse as modeled by the teacher. It is necessary for the teacher to be a competent nurse as well as an educator, since the student’s behaviors and learning will be based of off the teacher’s.

The student will use role modeling to learn new clinical and interactive skills, and also to develop the personal identity of “nurse”.

Role modeling can be utilized in clinical learning/simulation lab, as the student can demonstrate his/her modeling of a competent nurse. This can be an opportunity for both personal reflection and teacher/group feedback. This is also an opportunity for the student to explore how to adapt the nursing role to self in a safe environment.

The article suggests that this can be an adjunct to learning, part of a variety of teaching approaches. Students learn individually and should be encouraged to interact, communicate, and be involved freely.

I agree that this is a good strategy for teaching. I often use this myself in the clinical setting with nurse practitioner students in first rotation. Students will follow me and watch me initially for several sessions. When I ask them to take charge of the history and physical exam for the first time, I will say, “Pretend you’re me”. Later I will encourage adding his/her own personal nuances to behavior, communication and decision-making. Using role modeling provides a simple basis for practice.


Davis, J. (2013). Modelling as a strategy for learning and teaching in nursing education. Singapore Nursing Journal, 40(3), 5-10.

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