Nurse Educator Role - A Fifth Advanced Practice Nursing Speciality?

by VickyRN Senior Moderator | 25,944 Views | 20 Comments

  1. 13
    Advanced practice nurses (APNs) are defined as registered nurses "possessing advanced specialized clinical knowledge and skills through master's or doctoral education that prepares them for specialization, expansion, and advancement of practice" (Mirr Jansen & Zwygart-Stauffacher, 2005, p. 5). Presently within the nursing profession, there are four separate advanced practice specialty areas: nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, clinical nurse specialist, and certified registered nurse anesthetist.

    Nurse educators are held to high professional standards and must meet rigorous qualifications. Nursing faculty should demonstrate competency in the three-prong areas of education, clinical skills, and research. Additionally, they should promote excellence and provide leadership within their area of expertise. They should model an enthusiasm for lifelong learning, as well as being strategically involved in professional nursing organizations to influence public policy and effect positive change in the political process (NLN, 2007).

    With such high expectations and rigorous demands, shouldn't nurse educators be included in the ranks of advanced practice specialties within nursing? Without educators, none of the advanced specialties would exist. The burgeoning aging population will exert enormous demands on our healthcare system. We desperately need expert faculty to train aspiring nurses to help meet this demographic challenge.

    Would the inclusion of nurse educator as a separate advanced practice speciality enhance nursing education by crystallizing the professional qualifications and characteristics needed for this pivotal role? Or would such a designation only erect further barriers for those seeking to become nurse educators?

    What do you think? Please voice your opinion in the poll above.


    References

    Mirr Jansen, M. P., & Zwygart-Stauffacher, M. (2005). Advanced practice nursing: Core concepts for professional role development (3rd ed.). New York: Springer Publishing Company.

    NLN. (2007). Excellence initiatives. Retrieved June 18, 2009, from http://www.nln.org/excellence/hallmarks_indicators.htm
    Last edit by VickyRN on Jun 18, '09
    Moogie, Jessy_RN, RNEducator4u, and 10 others like this.
  2. Poll: Should the nurse educator role become another advanced practice nursing specialty?

    • View Results
  3. About VickyRN

    VickyRN has '16' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds'. From 'Under the shadow of His wings...'; Joined Mar '01; Posts: 12,043; Likes: 6,426.

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    20 Comments so far...

  4. 8
    I voted "no" for a couple of reasons.

    1. I support the opportunity to be certified in education, but would not want to see special licensure required -- and states are increasingly requiring special licensure for APN's. That would muck up a lot of stuff, make it hard to go from state to state and put more barriers up for people wanting to teach.

    2. Different types of nursing educators would need to be distinguished. The skills required for bedside clinical teaching for beginning level students are very different than those required for graduate faculty (who have more than enough hoops to jump through at the university level and would not benefit by having to jump through more hoops with the state licensing board). What about distance learning faculty? (There again, there are totally different skills required.) And what about Staff Development Educators? They are as "legitimate" as educators as are university faculty -- would they be required to have the same special licensure as graduate faculty? What about LPN faculty? etc. etc. etc.

    It's too messy to put all nursing educators under one set of requirements for special licensure. Lumping us all under one set of requirements would not work.

    However, I DO support the recognition of nursing education as a specialty -- one with several distinct subspecialties. I would support efforts to have that specialty (or speciaties) recognized through certification or some other such mechanism.

    llg (who has taught grad school, undergrad clinicals, undergrad lecture, distance education, and staff development)
    Last edit by llg on Jun 18, '09
  5. 3
    Quote from llg
    I voted "no" for a couple of reasons.

    1. I support the opportunity to be certified in education, but would not want to see special licensure required -- and states are increasingly requiring special licensure for APN's. That would muck up a lot of stuff, make it hard to go from state to state and put more barriers up for people wanting to teach.

    2. Different types of nursing educators would need to be distinguished. The skills required for bedside clinical teaching for beginning level students are very different than those required for graduate faculty (who have more than enough hoops to jump through at the university level and would not benefit by having to jump through more hoops with the state licensing board). What about distance learning faculty? (There again, there are totally different skills required.) And what about Staff Development Educators? They are as "legitimate" as educators as are university faculty -- would they be required to have the same special licensure as graduate faculty? What about LPN faculty? etc. etc. etc.

    It's too messy to put all nursing educators under one set of requirements for special licensure. Lumping us all under one set of requirements would not work.

    However, I DO support the recognition of nursing education as a specialty -- one with several distinct subspecialties. I would support efforts to have that specialty (or speciaties) recognized through certification or some other such mechanism.

    llg (who had taught grad school, undergrad clinicals, undergrad lecture, distance education, and staff development)
    Thank you for your comments, llg - excellent and insightful as usual. You brought up several points that I had not considered. I agree with you that it is time that nursing education be recognized as a specialty in its own right.
    qhilldogs, kanzi monkey, and llg like this.
  6. 8
    Oh ... and here is another reason to vote no:

    If the practice of education is a form of "advanced practice" requiring special licensure ... what about preceptors? They do a lot of education. ... And what about patient education?

    Also ... why would the practice of nursing education be "advanced practice," but not the practice of nursing research ... or nursing administration? It makes no sense to single out education in this way.

    Education, research, management ... are all roles that nurses perform equally. Some do it at the staff nurse levle (precepting, research team member, charge nurse, etc.). Others perform those functions at a more advanced level -- staff develoment specialists, school faculty, principle investigators, corporate vice presidents, etc.

    So ... where exactly would you draw the lines as to what functions/actions would require an "advanced practice" educator or manager or researcher -- and what actions could be taken by someone without a special license as an APN in any one of those specialties?

    I believe that these things are role functions that can be performed at varying levels of sophistication by any RN. The level of sophistication depends on the education and experience of the RN. That's not exactly true of the existing APN's whose roles involve functions that are not included under the typical Nurse Practice Acts (which is why I never approved of CNS's being pushed into an APN role that included prescriptions righs, etc. It muddies the waters too much between CNS's and NP's.)

    Let's not similarly muddy the waters among educators, managers, researchers, etc. Let's allow us to continue to function under the basic RN scope of practice and not over-complicate it. The benefits will not be worth the costs.
    Jessy_RN, buransic, Thunderwolf, and 5 others like this.
  7. 2
    I voted "no" before I saw llg's excellent posts -- because the four present "advanced practice" roles are all advanced clinical practice (the "clinical" has always been, at least, implied in the term), and I don't see education as clinical practice. I also agree with all the points llg made (as usual! )

    That is not to say that I don't support recognition of nursing education as a v. important specialty.

    (BTW, since llg mentioned it, my teaching experience includes ADN and BSN programs and providing clinical supervision to grad students.)
    showbizrn and sirI like this.
  8. 2
    I agree with llg and elkpark for same reasons they cite.

    Adding, Nurse Educator to the four (4) areas of CNM, CRNA, NP, and CNS, would muddy the waters in clinical practice.

    I, too, am an educator as well as APN (NP) and completely support Nurse Educator as a very vital specialty area.
    showbizrn and VickyRN like this.
  9. 3
    My initial reaction was to say "Yes" the nurse educator deserves to be the fifth advanced practice nursing specialty. However, since reading some of the arguments made by other users it makes me wonder if making the nurse educator the fifth advance practice nursing specialty is such a good idea. How would this be structured? What types of nurse educators would be included under this umbrella? What kinds of rules, regulations and additional certification would our nurse educators need to have because they would be considered advanced practice nurses? As other users have mentioned we definitely need to recognize nursing education as a specialty but I think if we made nurse educators advanced practice nurses we would just end up adding more hoops and obstacles for them to encounter.

    !Chris
    showbizrn, heyitsjaii, and VickyRN like this.
  10. 3
    As a Staff Development educator, I would definitely say no. There are so many types of educators. Would academic faculty be considered advanced practice versus staff development and facility based educators? Would the same standards apply to both, even though their foci are different? (Staff development is more focused on application of knowledge and academia is more focused on delivery of knowledge; although, there is crossover, of course.)

    I would definitely support a recognized specialty for educators. There is already a recognized specialty for Nursing Professional Development through ANCC.
    showbizrn, VickyRN, and KeyMaster like this.
  11. 2
    hmmmm...
    i initially voted "yes"
    but after reading some posts
    i don't know...

    advanced practice nursing being understood
    as advanced clinical practice
    coupled with the various ways
    of nursing education
    being implemented and facilitated
    how will this work?

    what group of educators will be included
    and what group(s) will be "kicked-to-the-curb?"

    with the shortage of candidates existing in
    any form of nursing education
    if it becomes more regulated
    who will be left to teach?

    cardiacRN2006 and VickyRN like this.
  12. 1
    I am a recent RN, and I really appreciate this info, as I am beginning to work on my BSN with plans to go into nursing education eventually. I see the points that the PP's have made.

    VickyRN likes this.


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