Professionalism for CNEs in the Academic Community

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.

Certified Nurse Educators (CNEs) are highly esteemed, professional nurses with specialty skills and certifications. Read this lesson to learn more about the behaviors and skills of successful CNEs.

What is a Certified Nurse Educator?

Throughout the course of their career, nurses are constantly learning skills to help them be successful professionals. A Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) is an important player for promoting the advancement of nursing practice.

While nursing education can be formal or informal, Certified Nurse Educators can be found behind the scenes creating curriculum, planning educational events, and advocating for standards of practice.

They can be found in many different settings and perform in a variety of roles and functions. Examples include:

  • Formal education environment, like a school or university
  • Informally providing education in team huddles and at staff in-services
  • Instructing different audiences: patients, nursing students, colleagues, community members
  • Clinical settings within the community
  • Lobbying for legislature

Characteristics of Certified Nurse Educators

The CNE is a versatile role, requiring the individual to continually stay up to date on his or her skills, remain knowledgeable about practice changes, and share their expertise with colleagues.

Nurse Justine is a CNE at local hospital, and is looking forward to celebrating her five year anniversary at her company. While she does not know it yet, she will be presented with an award of appreciation during the service celebration.

For the past five years, Nurse Justine's colleagues have admired her. The local hospital is a small satellite facility, requiring individuals in positions of leadership to be flexible and take on many different responsibilities. Justine's colleagues hope to present this award in appreciation for Justine's many exceptional qualities.


Not only has Justine been able to demonstrate respect during difficult situations, she is also able to coach others through ethical, cultural, and interprofessional conflicts. She teaches others that to truly care for someone else, you must be able to set your own personal biases, or pre-existing feelings, aside. In doing so, she has helped her facility become a regional leader in teamwork and cultural competence.


Justine's colleagues also hope to recognize her as a facility-wide role model for professionalism. Her continued ability to remain current with her skills and knowledge has inspired other healthcare professionals to creatively promote their profession. Throughout her five years at the facility, Justine assisted with the initiation of several skills workshops, interprofessional activities, and educational in-services.


Justine's operational foundation of respect and professionalism has sent a rippling effect throughout the entire organization. Prior to Justine's arrival to the small facility, the local hospital was out of the loop. Justine's role modeled and promoted collegiality (the ability to foster and maintain relationships with others) to make significant changes.

Justine has networked with other facilities and professional organizations to establish shared goals and strategies for success. Some examples of partnerships that she helped to establish include:

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