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Certification for Nurse Educator

Exploring Advanced Practice Roles

Sarah Scobie

SUNY Delhi

NURS 604 CRN 11309, Graduate Practicum One

Kirsty Digger

February 9, 2017


This paper will delineate the certification for nurse educator role in exploring several aspects of

this position. To promote successful student outcomes it is essential for nurse educators to be

highly organized as health care continues to advance both technologically and in complexity of

care provided. Nursing programs are required to remain current and relevant to maintain

accreditation standards. The certification for nurse educator role is an examination that promotes

nurse educators to be leaders within the field through completing this specialty (National League

for Nurses, 2017). The eligibility and role responsibilities will be disseminated for the

certification for nurse educator process. Specific role challenges and legal/ethical aspects of this

advance practice nurse will be discussed. Aspects regarding curriculum development and

working within a collaborative team is essential for building and maintaining a successful

nursing program. Entering the role as a novice educator has specific challenges, just as

remaining current in practice once the novice transitions into an experienced educator. Wittman-

Price stated through teaching we can touch more patients then ever possible with our own two

hands (Wittman-Price, Godshall, & Wilson, 2016, p. xvii).


Certification for Nurse Educator

This paper will explore the advanced practice role of the certification for nurse educator

(CNE). Discussion of the multiple role responsibilities and conflicts that certified nurse

educators face will be evaluated. The completion of the CNE establishes an area of specialty

expertise within nursing education (National League for Nurses [NLN], 2017). This educator

role requires effective collaboration and teamwork to facilitate student education. The diverse

and ever-changing health care system requires that the CNEs remain involved in lifelong

learning process to remain current in the standards of practice. Complex legal and ethical issues

that CNEs face within this role will be explored.

Introduction and Background

Despite Florence Nightingale being accredited for disease reduction during the Crimean

War, the creation of the nursing program following the war was influential as one of the first

programs with formal nurse training (Masters, 2015). Through this type of nursing program the

profession began to attain a higher respect and recruitment into the field of nursing. Nursing

education is a specialty which is essential in producing competent nurse graduates. The nurse

educator faces challenges in new delivery methods that incorporate technology and advanced


Masters (2015) identified that the first formal nursing schools in the United States (US)

opened in 1862 and were largely modelled after the nursing schools in London. The transition

within nursing education from more traditional values to acceptance of evidence-based practices

(EBP) disseminates current professional nursing practice. Kerry and Mullen (2014) identify that

a severe shortage of nursing faculty both current and is projected to increase, which directly

impacts amount of accepted students. Shortages within education have occurred due to the

number of retiring educators and a lack of adequate numbers entering the field of nursing

education. In 1977 the accreditation standards for certification programs was established with

the initial 174 educators taking the first CNE examination in 2005 (NLN, 2017). In 2009 the

CNE examination became certified and is currently recognized as a specialty certification (NLN,


Education and Certification

The initial Certification for Nurse Educators (CNE) was created in 2005 and renewed in

2014 (NLN, 2017). For a nurse educator to complete the CNE a Masters or doctoral degree in

nursing education and current employment in non-hospital based nursing education is required

(NLN, 2017). This certification is valid for five years and renewable through accepted

professional education or re-taking the examination (NLN, 2017). For NLN members the

examination cost is 400 dollars and for non-NLN members the cost is 500 dollars (NLN, 2017).

Nursing education has transitioned into further improving the education role and

education requirements to become a nursing educator. The education requirements however

have the potential to deter students from seeking a career in education associated with the cost of

this advanced education. Promoting and recruitment into nursing education is essential to

continue to attain the number of educators required for the number of nurses required for the


Wittmann-Price, Godshall, and Wilson (2016) discuss for a nurse educator to successfully

complete the certification process preparation must include these areas (a) facilitation of

learning, (b) facilitate learner socialization, (c) assessment strategies, (d) curriculum

development with evaluation, (e) quality improvement, and (f) engage in scholarship. Practice

examinations are available prior to completing the examination through the NLN website. The

CNE examination does not evaluate education program effectiveness and seeks to assure that all

components of the nursing educator role are fulfilled (NLN, 2017).

Invoking Role Responsibilities

Role responsibilities for the CNE include (a) being an innovative leader in the field of

education, (b) curriculum development, (c) determining if professional role aligns with the

theory supported by the institution in which the CNE works, and (d) lifelong and continual

advancement of professional practices that incorporates current technology. Louie (2015)

identifies limitations exist regarding how nurse educator knowledge and skills are acquired.

Mentoring and collaboration are identified as an integral component in success within nursing

education (Louie, 2015). Mentors providing guidance and insights when transitioning into the

education role promotes competent practice. Wittmann-Price et al (2016) identify that

participation on committees on campus are essential in being an integral part of the school or


Billings and Halstead (2015) discuss that approval of the official curriculum must be

supported by the full faculty. Professional contribution of curriculum development ensures

consistent growth within nursing programs. An important component in curriculum development

includes considerations of the student demographic, learning styles, and the integration of

technology. Practicing CNEs role responsibilities include assessment of student performance,

providing theory components that consider diverse learning styles, and knowledge of

theories/policies of the educational area taught. Adelman-Mullally et al (2013) discuss that

nursing educators are expected to promote change within a diverse and complex healthcare

system. Promotion of change is essential in continuing both academic growth and the self-

evaluation process that enhances professional practice.


Scholarship and research are essential components in being a leader in nursing education.

Changes in curriculum and skills evaluation require research that assures the change in practice

is evidence-based. Experienced CNEs that contribute to scholarly research will promote

positive changes in practice and education. Wittmann-Price et al (2016) identifies a transition

into learner-centered academics and the enhanced education maintained through certification

allow for the novice educator to have a smoother transition into practice.

Effective test creation that promotes higher levels of critical thinking and incorporate

Blooms Taxonomy is another component to achieving a high level of competency in nursing

education. The ability to statistically evaluate the tests through scores and student review is an

additional task present for nurse educators. CNEs that have transitioned more into expert

educators are frequently expected to be mentors and professional role models for novice


Principle Role Supported by Literature

Wittmann-Price et al (2016) identify that Masters, doctoral, and certification programs

have expanded in nursing education as well as recruitment due to the identified educator

shortage. Novice nurse educators need strong mentors and collaboration to become successful to

fulfill this complex role (Louie, 2014). The expansion of the education provided in preparation

for this role has become more inclusive of education specific components. Wittmann-Price et al

(2016) identifies that the CNE examination assesses the readiness and level of understanding

associated with becoming a leader within the nurse educator field. Adelman-Mullally et al

(2013) identify that nursing educators who are transformative leaders have the ability to guide

students towards individual goals and are accepting of necessary curriculum changes.

The CNE and the changes present in educational requirements, have improved the overall

preparation of the expert clinician transitioning into the novice educator role (Wittmann-Price

et al., 2016, p. 2). The research supports the enhanced level of education required for the

advanced practice role of nurse educator by improving the preparedness for transition into the

role of education. Wittmann-Price et al (2016) identified that previous generations of nurse

educators who were not prepared specifically in education, often applied a trial and error of what

forms of pedagogy would lead to successful outcomes. Oermann and Gaberson (2016) identify

that both formative and summative evaluation of students is essential in assessment and

measuring student outcomes. The formative evaluation through tests provide grades but when

these questions encourage critical thinking or higher tiers of Blooms Taxonomy it enhances

transition into professional practice (Oermann & Gaberson, 2016).

Advanced Practice Role Concerns

An identified challenge for any advanced practice nursing role includes the (a)

dominance of the medical profession, (b) care based on medical models, (c) lack of

respect/understanding for advanced practice nursing roles, and (d) insufficient nursing education

(Kleinpell et al., 2014). Nursing educators face many challenges with the faculty shortage

impacting the ability to graduate the number of nurses required to care for the population needs.

Experienced faculty have the potential to struggle with the perpetual changes and technology

integration within the classroom and practicum settings.

Consideration of the venue in which information is taught is another important

consideration for CNEs. The online learning environment does not allow for the non-verbal

communication and scholarly tone is important in an online environment. Avoidance of humor

and colloquial expressions would avoid potentially offending a student. Assessment of the venue

and the student population requires experience within the educator role to promote successful

outcomes. CNEs have to consider the perspectives of others as individual professionals and

encourage students to positively embrace viewing a topic from a different perspective. The

online education also opens the door to further risk of plagiarism and cheating, which is

potentially more difficult to identify.

Louie (2015) surveyed nurse educators and out of the responses noted that 42 educators

have completed the CNE and 232 educators had not taken the CNE. Of the nurse educators

surveyed 121 had completed a doctorate degree in nursing education. This data supports that the

CNE may not frequently be a goal for new graduates in the field of nursing education. Kerry and

Mullen (2014) further identified that credentialing needs to be more universal for all advanced

practice roles to have improved acceptance.

CNEs within the current educator role includes challenges in areas of continuing

professional development, large teaching loads, and limited career options (Kerry & Mullan,

2014). A challenge for CNEs include the promotion continued nursing education and how to

instill this in graduates. Recruitment into nursing education is an identified challenge due to the

reduction in salary and high level of responsibility associated within this role (DeNisco &

Barker, 2013). Improved diversity within the nursing education population would be an asset

within nursing education. Diversity and enhanced community program involvement would

transition the student experience level from hospital-based focus which is present in current

education (Fraher, Spetz, & Naylor, 2015).

Legal and Ethical Considerations

Ethical considerations for a CNE include (a) professional and cultural competence, (b)

awareness of individual biases, (c) assessment and identification of students who will not be

successful in meeting client needs, and (d) recognizing when a client or student scenario is

unsafe or unethical. Ethics plays a vital role in nursing education and educators often act as

positive leader for developing competent nursing students. Cultural competence and

professionalism are essential in a CNEs success in practice. Certain faiths or religions have

specific boundaries in place regarding caring for members of the opposite sex. The standards of

the religion versus the professional role of the nursing student is an area in which legal counsel

could be required. Accountability of an individuals bias is an important consideration when a

difficult student arises and utilizing a different educator to assess this student provides additional

prospective to determine if concerns were legitimate or in fact individual bias.

The identification of students that struggle academically or are limited in critical thinking

abilities within practicum, is another ethical concern for CNEs. As educators it is awarding to

have successful and competent graduates. Recognition and evaluation of students who cannot

successfully meet objectives, also has both legal and ethical impacts. Nursing students and their

families invest a large amount of time and money into education, documentation of poor student

progression with remediation is an essential legal consideration.

Students that continue to demonstrate unsafe or unprofessional behavior despite

remediation attempts, is an important assessment that requires intervention. Assuring continual

growth in practice is important to building graduates that will be competent in practice of clients.

Plagiarism and cheating is another aspect that educators face in which more and more technology

has become available to students. CNEs need to assure that students are aware of what

constitutes cheating/plagiarism at the beginning of courses to assure that the students are aware

of the expectations.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is designed to protect privacy of

students (United States Department of Education, 2015). When a student is not progressing

within a nursing program or is having personal conflicts while in school, parents or loved ones

will attempt to get information from nurse educators. The sharing of information is illegal

without consent from the student to allow this information to be shared. Community members,

employers, or other nurses that are within the community have the potential to ask regarding a

students progress and this information also would violate the students rights as provided within


Summation of Certified Nurse Educator Role

Delineation of the advanced practice nurse role was informative in that the specialty of

obtaining a CNE is essentially confirming that a nurse educator is prepared for all essential roles

within this nursing specialty. The impact potential for a CNE on both the employed institution

and the field of nursing education has vast possibilities. The examination is affordable and

encourages nurse educators to seek enhanced educational opportunities to maintain the

certification. The legal and ethical considerations require a mentor for a nursing educator to

attain competence. Mentoring of novice educators is essential in both educator retention and

recruitment into this diverse role. Knowledge regarding areas of scholarship, assessment,

evaluation, and strong communication abilities are essential in the CNE role.


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