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ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

Utilizing Nurse Practitioners to Eliminate the Nursing Faculty Shortage

Published April 8, 2015 8:36 AM by Guest Blogger

Guest blogger Rebecca Bone, MSN, RN is assistant professor, Tennessee State University

Indeed, a nursing faculty shortage exists within nursing programs across the nation. Many institutions of higher learning are choosing to fill nurse educator positions with advanced practice nurses, in particular, nurse practitioners. As this may appear to be a quick fix for a serious problem, filling educator positions with individuals that lack formal nursing education curriculum presents a number of challenges for practitioners as well as students.

Nurse Practitioners definitely possess exceptional clinical knowledge, but many quickly discover they are treading on unfamiliar territory when attempting to enter the nurse educator arena. Often, they lack the skills to effectively communicate knowledge for student learning to occur. Most students complain that practitioners have a tendency to teach above the level of the average nursing student's comprehension. Frequently, nurse practitioners assume the student has prior knowledge of certain content, when in fact, sufficient learning has not occurred which hinders the student from progressing to higher level concepts. This false assumption retards student learning.

Nurse practitioners who lack formal training in nursing education struggle with the daily responsibilities of the nurse educator role. Many do not understand the theoretical concepts of teaching and learning, much less using Bloom's Taxonomy to guide item writing to effectively evaluate student learning. They certainly are baffled when asked to link course learning outcomes with program learning outcomes. These are essential skills that must be mastered in order to be an effective nurse educator. Practitioners know what the NCLEX is, but don't understand the importance of the NCLEX blueprint. Therefore, practitioners frequently experience and express frustration when assuming nurse educator roles without acquiring formal knowledge.

The purpose of post article is to enlighten practitioners who are contemplating nurse educator positions to the challenges that have been observed and reported. Many have a false sense of the nurse educator role, not realizing that it is common practice to devote evening and weekend hours for lecture preparation and/or examination construction. In addition, nurse educators are expected to participate in university activities, be active members of professional organizations, and engage in research. Thus, the role of the nurse educator can be very overwhelming at best and most often undervalued.


ATI Nursing Education is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

The Nursing Summit is a great way to get some of those much needed CEUs. The Summit has over 500 nurse educators, deans and directors that attend.

Libby Sanford January 27, 2016 3:28 PM
Roeland Park KS

I am unemployed at this time. I am trying to get a job since receiving my MSN in Health and  Nursing education and as yet to get a job. As new educator we need mentoring and that is what is also lacking.

Zenna Allen April 16, 2015 12:49 PM

If educators were compensate like they should be and administration supported their nursing faculty,we would not be having this conversation!

MSN Nurse Educator

Post graduate AGNP student

Lesley, MSN, RN April 15, 2015 3:27 PM

That is exactly my point. Thanks for the comment.

Rebecca Bone April 11, 2015 4:25 PM

NPs are not trained teachers! Many of them have no clue how to teach. NPs should be forced to have an education degree if they want to teach. NPs have hard time to get hired in hospitals, so they are taking away the nursing instructors' positions.

CS April 11, 2015 1:14 PM

I think you misinterpreted the purpose of the article. The purpose of the blog was to enlighten readers that all is not what is seems as far as serving as a nursing faculty member. I know, first hand, of NPs that could not find a job as a practitioner and thought that teaching would be an easy fill-in while still looking for that practitioner position. They became very frustrated very quickly.

Rebecca Bone April 9, 2015 2:59 PM

Flawed logic.

Saying that NPs lack the skills to teach is as illogical as saying that physicians lack the ability to teach physicians, or that PAs lack the ability to teach PAs.

Fact is, generalist graduate programs in nursing are largely a waste of time and money and nursing faculty are wasted on those programs. My NP program had a substantial number of nurses with generalist graduate degrees who returned to become NPs to become more legitimate educators.

There are two major problems with nursing education. The first is compensation, and the second is that it is run by nurses who have created a convoluted plan that squanders the educational process and makes it unpalatable to practical people. The constant pounding of nursing theory and nursing language is divisive and pointless.

Larry Wilson, NP - NP, NP April 9, 2015 4:32 AM
Atlanta GA

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