Use of the NLN Core Competencies of Nurse Educators as a Curriculum Guide

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Ann Fitzgerald, PhD
Ancilla Domini College, Donaldson, IN, USA

This study described the education courses in Master’s of Science in Nursing Education (MSN Ed) Degree and Post-master’s Certificate (PMC) in nursing education programs and determined which of the eight NLN Core Competencies, used to certify nurse educators, were represented. Data regarding the required credit hours, practicum hours, distance accessibility, and preparation for the Certified Nurse Educator (CNE®) exam also were collected. A descriptive design using a web scraping technique was used. Program information was obtained from the accrediting bodies for graduate nursing programs in 2015. Course description data were obtained from web pages via curriculum plans, course catalogs, graduate handbooks, or other institutional web pages. Data were collected from each program website, collated, uploaded and analyzed, as outlined in chapter three. In both types of programs, evidence was found for the NLN Core Competencies of: facilitate learning (97%), participate in curriculum design and evaluation of program outcomes (97%), use assessment and evaluation strategies (95%), pursue continuous quality improvement in the nurse educator role (88%), engage in scholarship (45%), function as a change agent and leader (30%), facilitate learner development and socialization (28%), and function within the educational environment (12%). Only 36% and 40% of Master’s of Science in Nursing Education and Post Master’s Certificate in nursing education programs, respectively, were completely distance accessible. Required credit hours varied from 28 to 65 for the entire MSN Ed, and from 6 to 47 for the nursing education courses. PMC credit hours varied from 3 to 45. Practicum clock hours, for both programs, ranged from 60-500 while practicum credit hours ranged from 1-18. Revision of MSN Ed and PMC curricula is indicated to improve inclusion of content in all competency areas. Moreover, increasing the number of distance accessible programs may encourage more nurses to consider a master’s degree or post master’s certificate in nursing education.