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Certified Nurse Educators as Colleague Mentors

Instructor: Alyssa Campbell

Alyssa is an active RN and teaches Nursing and Leadership university courses. She also has a Doctorate in Nursing Practice and a Master's in Business Administration.

A Certified Nurse Educator is viewed as a well credentialed educator, trainer, and instructor. Read this lesson to learn more about the CNE role, and how CNE's empower their colleagues through support and mentorship.

The Certified Nurse Educator Role

Certified Nurse Educators are products of hard work, dedication, and passion for nursing education. Many Certified Nurse Educators (CNE's) begin as faculty in a nursing program within a college or university. In an effort to show their commitment and expertise, some choose to study and sit for a national certification exam.

Let's meet Julia. She is a new CNE who teaches at a local community college. Even though she has only been a nurse for a few years, she established her love of teaching fellow nurses and patients early in her professional career. To validate her skills and passion for teaching within the nursing profession, Julia decided to take her certification exam a few months ago. Now that she has passed, she looks forward to the opportunity to put some of her specialized skills into action hoping that her colleagues could benefit from her fresh ideas.

Special Skills

Now that Julia is a CNE, her plan is to refresh the professional development program of her teaching colleagues at the local college. To do this, she first considers the standard responsibilities of the Nurse Educator role:

  • Teach and instruct students within the traditional classroom setting
  • Involvement in curriculum planning
  • Provide support and mentorship to students and help them attain their academic goals

Julia knows she is off to a good start after identifying basic roles of the educator, but she begins to consider everything she learned while studying for her certification. She knows that with a little bit of mentoring and encouragement, she could get her colleagues to become exemplary educators.

The Mentorship Model

Julia learns that there is so much more to being a nurse educator than teaching students about nursing theory and clinical skills. She thinks back on how her new skills could help her colleagues build from the standard nurse educator responsibilities.

Empowerment

Julia decides that while her colleagues were present for curriculum planning, that they never really participated or spoke up. After asking around, she learns that her fellow educators believe that they had no say in what was going to be taught, and that the education plan had not changed much from year to year anyway.

Like many of her colleagues, Julia still picks up a few patient care shifts as needed in the neighborhood hospital. Clinical standards and techniques are always changing, and while studying for her certification, Julia knew how important it was to be a change agent (someone who proactively supports change and growth) and takes advantage of the opportunity to expand their knowledge base.

To facilitate empowerment, or the ability to take action, amongst her colleagues, she develops an action plan.

  • Provide education: Julia knows that some of her colleagues have never worked on curriculum plans before and that it would be a new skill. She decides to register the group for a webinar on curriculum development after determining enough interest within the group.
  • Allow time for discussion: After the webinar, Julia facilitates a group discussion about what they learned, and how they could use it in the future. Many good ideas come from the discussion, including the notion that their college's nursing curriculum should be regularly reviewed and revised.
  • Plan for the future: The group is so excited to put their new skills and knowledge into action. With Julia's help, they are able to create a curriculum committee, who decide to meet regularly and discuss the educational goals of the program.

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