Managing Professional Demands for CNEs

Instructor: Tara Schickel

Tara has taught staff nursing courses and has a master's degree in public health.

This lesson will help us learn how to manage the multiple demands we face as nurse educators. We will also learn how to improve and grow professionally by accepting feedback and implementing it.

Manage a Busy Educator Role

Do you feel as though there are never enough hours in the day? Most of us become so busy that we race from responsibility to responsibility and hope we aren't forgetting anything! As nurse educators, we understand how this feels.

The demands of the educator role have increased so much over the past decade that we do well just to keep our heads above water. This lesson will help us learn how to manage this busy role, as well as how to seek and accept feedback that can help us get better at what we do!

Managing the Teaching Part

Educating our future nursing work force is no small feat to undertake. Most of us who have worked for colleges and universities understand that the practical, financial perspective of the nursing program has to be considered. In order to keep the doors open, we must graduate nurses who are able to pass the state board exams and receive the licenses.

If we don't produce this success, we don't stay open. With that being said, it is our job as educators to be able to teach these students how to successfully pass the exam. Many times, this is referred to as 'teaching to the NCLEX', referring to the National Council Licensure Examination.

Teaching to the NCLEX can be frustrating because, as educators, we want to impart knowledge of how to be a good nurse, not how to be a good test-taker. However, we can't keep nursing schools open if we don't produce nurses who can successfully pass the test.

So how we can provide both a solid education and teach for the test?

  • Find out the nursing concepts the school requires you to teach, then you can formulate a plan to thoroughly cover each concept. Make sure to include a variety of teaching strategies that will help the various types of learners grasp what you're teaching. Teaching content and imparting knowledge should be your first priority.

  • Teach NCLEX-style exam-taking skills. Most testing centers provide preparation courses that can be purchased prior to taking the real test. Consult with your program leaders about the possibility of the university purchasing a test-prep course for your students. Additionally, there are multiple practice tests available that can provide a way to review content and allow students to practice taking that style of exam.

Managing the Scholarship Part

Many colleges and universities require nursing faculty to conduct research and publish. Let's be realistic; our tenure and evaluations depend on it.

The first step is to find out the expectation of frequency of publication, as well as what type of publication is required.

Then set small goals for yourself that will lead to the completion of the research and publication. Any large project will be easily doable if it is broken down into small, but timely steps. Once you have goals set for yourself, add timelines and deadlines to your calendar.

Being able to meet these deadlines will mean that you have to block off time in your schedule that is devoted to these publication projects. You know your own work habits and what will help you meet these deadlines.

Some people do better if they select two days during the week in which they can block off the entire afternoon or morning, others with blocking off small sections of time each day to work on the projects. These small sections can be as short as 20 minutes. Choose what works for you, as long as it will help you meet the requirements on time.

Don't be afraid to ask your university leader for guidance. Many colleges offer sabbaticals to faculty in order to facilitate research completion and publication. If your school offers this, take advantage of it.

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