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 Nursing Education and Faculty Competencies Development & Evaluation

National League for Nursing Core Competencies of Nurse Educators, Orientation Programs and Faculty Development In Nursing Education, Orientation Programs In Nursing Education, Faculty Development In Nursing Education, Evaluation of Teaching Performance In Nursing Education

National League for Nursing Core Competencies of Nurse Educators

    Teaching in nursing is a complex activity that integrates the art and science of nursing and clinical practice into the teaching–learning process. Specifically, teaching involves a set of skills, or competencies, that are essential to facilitating student-learning outcomes. The NLN (2005; 2012) published eight Core Competencies of Nurse Educators (see Box 1-1). 

    These competencies encompass the entirety of the nurse faculty role (teaching, research, and service) that can be developed through educational preparation, faculty orientation programs, and faculty development opportunities. 

    Most graduate programs in nursing, unless they are specifically preparation for the educator role, do not prepare the graduate to teach. Therefore, mentoring of new faculty and strong professional development programs are essential for the preparation of nursing faculty.

Orientation Programs and Faculty Development In Nursing Education

    Orientation to the teaching role and the school of nursing for newly appointed faculty, as well as ongoing faculty development for all faculty, is assuming renewed importance as rapid changes in higher education and health care and the use of information technologies are creating new environments for teaching and changes in the faculty role. 

    Most schools of nursing have established orientation programs and instituted mechanisms for faculty development and renewal.

Orientation Programs In Nursing Education

    Comprehensive orientation programs are necessary to assist new faculty to acquire teaching competencies, facilitate socialization to the teaching role, and support faculty members as they develop as fully participating members of the faculty. 

    Orientation programs should include information about the rights and responsibilities of the faculty and institution, information about school and department specific policies and procedures, an overview of the curriculum with an orientation to the instructional technologies and computer mediated instruction used at the school, and orientation to teaching assignments and clinical facilities. 

    Orientation is particularly important for part-time faculty members, who have fewer opportunities for contact with the school and faculty colleagues.

    Orientation programs are most effective when they occur over time and provide for ongoing support. Some schools of nursing have school-, department-, or course-developed programs. 

    Orientation to the teaching aspect of the faculty role also can be facilitated through a mentor relationship. Many schools of nursing have formal mentor programs in which each new faculty member is assigned to a senior faculty member, who guides the new faculty member. Other mentoring relationships can occur on an informal basis.

Faculty Development In Nursing Education

    Faculty development refers to a planned course of action to develop all faculty members, not only those newly appointed for current and future teaching positions. Faculty development is assuming new importance as faculty prepares for teaching in new and reformed health care environments and community based settings, delivering instruction in new ways, and using new teaching and learning technologies.

    Faculty development is a shared responsibility of individual faculty members, the department chair and other academic officers, and the school or university. It may include the school providing formal and informal workshops and sessions, credit courses, and informal “brown bag lunches,” and encouraging faculty to attend local and national conferences related to teaching, as well as providing the financial support to do so. 

    Because effective teaching also requires clinical competence, faculty are encouraged to maintain clinical expertise through faculty practice and by keeping abreast of changes in the field through literature review and attending professional meetings related to the practice area. 

    Sabbatical leaves provide another opportunity for faculty renewal for tenured faculty, and are approved based on submission of an acceptable project plan for research or publication during the sabbatical leave. The university supports sabbatical leaves when the proposed project meets both the Individual’s and institution’s goals. Specific outcome deliverables are required for sabbaticals.

Evaluation of Teaching Performance In Nursing Education

    To ensure competent teaching, the faculty members themselves, as well as administrators, peers, colleagues, and students, regularly review their teaching performance. Evaluation of teaching is a critical component of tenure review and reappointment for non tenure track faculty. 

    Results of this evaluation may also be used in making decisions about reappointment, merit raises, and awards that recognize and honor excellence in teaching. 

    Evidence for review of teaching effectiveness can be provided by a number of sources, including student evaluations of teaching, peer and colleague observations of teaching and teaching products (eg, syllabi, case studies, publications, videotapes, computer mediated lessons, Internet based courses, study guides), letters from former students, success of graduates in employment, publications of students, teaching awards, administrative review, and self-evaluation.

    Methods for gathering data for evaluation include promotion and tenure review, peer and colleague review, post-tenure review, and the use of a teaching portfolio or dossier (Halstead & Frank, 2011).

    Because of the multiple aspects of the faculty role, the demands of a career in academia can be challenging and require the ability to develop and change with the needs of the learner. 

    To be successful, individuals aspiring to the role of a faculty member must be clear about the expectations of the role. This chapter described the various competencies expected of faculty members, as well as their rights and responsibilities.

    Many nursing faculty have found that the rewards of the role greatly outweigh the demands and expectations. The challenges of the role provide many creative and innovative opportunities for faculty, leading to a career filled with diversity and productivity. 

    Whether it be through teaching a new generation of nurses the art and science of nursing; providing service and consultation to constituents within a local, regional, national, or even international community; or generating new knowledge that influences the delivery of quality patient care through evidence based nursing, being a member of the academic community provides faculty with stimulation and the opportunity to debate and collaborate with colleagues from their own discipline and others. 

    Faculty are given a “laboratory” to explore new technology and solutions to the problems found in society and health care, while meeting an important societal need. 

    In what another role could a nurse touch the lives of patients and future generations of nurses while developing a knowledge base that will assist in the further evolution of nursing and health care? The career of a faculty member is indeed a rewarding one

 

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