Wanted! Leaders to Advance Excellence, not Mediocrity, in Nursing Education

Monday, 9 November 2015

Theresa M. Valiga, EdD, RN, CNE, ANEF, FAAN
Beth Phillips, MSN, RN, CNE
School of Nursing, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA

Chances are good that if you ask faculty teaching in almost any nursing program about the quality of their program, you will get a response that it’s a great program.  After all, nearly every program that seeks national accreditation receives it.  Nearly every program that undergoes a review by its State Board of Nursing has a positive outcome.  And the vast majority of graduates of pre-licensure programs pass the licensing exam, while graduates of graduate programs are successful on certification exams.

But are these indicators of excellence?  Or are they indicators of being merely satisfactory?  Have our  schools become victims of the Mediocrity Principle, which asserts that there is nothing really special about who we are or what we do?  Measures such as those noted above may say that a program meets minimal standards.  Are we willing to accept that?  Are we willing to work as hard as we do merely to be average?

This session is designed to challenge participants to think about the concept of excellence … what it is, what it “looks like” in an academic environment, and how it can be measured.  Once this foundation has been laid, we will explore the “sacred cows” that often stand in the way of achieving excellence in nursing education, the “hidden curricula” that contribute to mediocrity, and the work life of faculty that prevents us from investing the time and energy needed to be innovative, creative and excellent … regardless of program type, the student population served, or faculty qualifications.  Excellence, after all, is not about resources … it’s about values, attitudes, and expectations.

Participants will be asked to respond to questions posed, engage in think-pair-share exercises, and outline strategies to use “back home” to lead the drive toward excellence.  Do we, as presenters, have THE answers to this challenge?  Not at all.  But do we have ideas to share about what excellence in nursing education might look like and how we might get there?  Absolutely!   Please join us for a stimulating, engaging dialogue.