CNE Program Policies: Standards for Progression

Instructor: Tara Schickel

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

This lesson will describe how nurse educators can best serve on academic standing committees to ensure that nursing students who are unable to progress through programs are evaluated fairly and objectively. The lesson will also discuss what educators do when the student disagrees.

Nurse Educators Want Their Students to Succeed

Nurse educators want their nursing students to do well, pass classes with flying colors, and graduate. However, as most teachers have experienced, not all students have what it takes to move to the next level towards graduation. Nurse educators have a responsibility to uphold the standards by which they move students through the system. This article will discuss how they can participate in upholding those standards, and what they need to know and understand in order to do this correctly.

Working Together as a Committee

In the college setting, it isn't just one person who determines the academic fate of a student. Fortunately, teachers can breathe a sigh of relief and be thankful student success doesn't rest entirely on their shoulders. Colleges and universities have committees that are established to review students who do not appear to be successful, and to determine whether or not they should continue in their program. However, just because teachers have the help of a committee to make a decision that can impact a student's life forever does not mean that they don't play a very serious role in it.

Nurse educators must take an active part in these committees. Part of their role is to collaborate with colleagues and help develop policies on academic standing and student progression through programs. Specifically, nurse educators bring expert knowledge to the table regarding what students must know prior to graduating. Using entry-level professional competence as a standard will assist them in developing policies that determine who should pass through the program and who is unable to do so. As educators work at developing these policies, they need to keep several factors in mind:

  • The policies must comply with the standards set by the university
  • The policies must be written clearly
  • The policies must specify fair, objective criteria against which student performance can be measured

As long as the committee members keep these important considerations in mind, the academic standing policies created by this group should serve as reliable guidelines when evaluating a student's ability to progress through the program.

Keeping the Policies Updated

In order to be fair to students, committees need to evaluate them according to the most current standards available. This means that nurse educators that have a working knowledge of both the nursing profession and the education system must be vigilant at ensuring academic standing policies are kept up to date. Bringing the team to the table on a regular basis and comparing current policies with updated evidence and standards of practice are essential duties in maintaining a reliable system by which to evaluate students.

How to Contribute to Student-Standing Decision Making

Nurse educators have debated their role in establishing academic standing policies. Now, they must consider what role they play in evaluating whether a nursing student can progress through the program or not. Nurse educators have several thoughts to consider when it comes to their part in student evaluation.

  • They have an obligation to ensure the policies they helped to create are being properly followed
  • They must make expert recommendations for student progression based on the objective policies
  • They must provide information to the committee as to whether alternate teaching strategies have been attempted based on student need

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