CON addresses nursing education issues

April 11, 2012

(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — The shift from baccalaureate nursing students to the role of professional nurses is being analyzed by a pair of nurses in an effort to effectively transition senior nursing students to collaborative and interprofessional practice.

Jodie Gary, Ph.D., RN, from the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Nursing is working with Cynthia O’Neal, Ph.D., RN, from the Texas A&M Corpus Christi College of Nursing and Health Sciences on educating student nurses as they transition from the role of student to professional. This project provides an opportunity to creatively reconfigure the final semester for graduating nursing students. Course topics plan to include ethical, legal, political, professional, collaborative and interprofessional aspects relevant to nursing practice.

Dr. Jodie Gary

The Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy, developed by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International’s (STTI) Leadership Institute with a grant from The Elsevier Foundation, will help alleviate the nurse faculty shortage by providing knowledge, skill development opportunities and support to retain new nurse educators who have transitioned into the role.

The 2012-13 NFLA cohort includes 16 scholars, 16 mentors and eight faculty, who represent 29 universities, 15 states and provinces, and four countries including Australia, Canada and Thailand.

“The Elsevier Foundation is pleased to support this program that is helping to develop a new generation of nurse faculty leaders,” said David Ruth, executive director for the Elsevier Foundation.  “We believe that when we invest in leadership and provide the opportunity for individuals to grow and influence others, we are also helping the broader community of colleagues and nursing students down the road, all of whom contribute to improving health care quality.”

The pairs are addressing such topics as implementing team teaching structures, developing strategies to assist new graduation nurses transitioning to practice and improving health care through the development of transdisciplinary teams. Two groups are working with integrating and evaluating clinical simulation into the nursing curriculum.

“The NFLA supports new nurse faculty in their quest to lead the development and implementation of innovative nursing education programs. Through a mentoring relationship and a leadership project, academy Fellows focus on developing essential leadership skills and learn how to incorporate emerging teaching methodologies such as simulation and other technologies into the nursing curriculum,” said Suzanne Prevost, Ph.D., RN, COI, STTI president.

Research shows that new faculty who have worked successfully with a mentor have higher job satisfaction, with increased promotions and mobility than those without mentors. Faculty who have worked with a mentor are also more productive in obtaining competitive grants, leading professional organizations and publishing in scholarly books and journal articles.

Tony Forrester, Ph.D., RN, ANEF, NFLA’s lead faculty member, shares STTI’s commitment to individual leadership development.

“I want nurse faculty to be successful — more than just satisfied with their career. I want faculty to lead the innovation and provide the leadership needed to truly transform nursing education for the future,” he said.

— Marketing & Communications