1. Oermann, Marilyn H. PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN

Article Content

In 2015, we celebrated Nurse Educator's 40th year of publication. As the year comes to a close with this issue, I decided to reflect on the articles we published over the year. Readers look to the journal to learn about new teaching methods, and we published nearly 20 articles that described innovative teaching approaches in nursing education. Many of these new strategies are intended to build active and collaborative learning in the classroom and online environment. One trend that is apparent is an increase in the use of a flipped classroom approach, with students viewing recorded lectures and completing other learning activities ahead of class to prepare them for engaging in active learning and problem-solving strategies in class. Measuring the outcomes of new teaching approaches remains a need in nursing education as well as other health professions education. Do these teaching strategies make a difference in students' learning, problem solving, higher-level thinking, and working in a team? Is there transfer to clinical practice? Far too many studies continue to evaluate only student and faculty satisfaction with the teaching strategy, and although important, it should not be the only outcome examined.


Interprofessional education (IPE) is an emphasis across schools of nursing. A search in PubMed using the key terms "interprofessional education" and "nursing students" yielded 2550 articles at the time I was writing this editorial. We published 11 articles on IPE in Nurse Educator this year, and these articles made important contributions to the literature. Nurse educators need a framework to guide development and evaluation of IPE experiences, such as Pardue's1 framework and the PEEER Model for Effective Healthcare Team Communication, which includes patients and caregivers.2 You do not need a medical school to have IPE experiences for nursing students. Authors described how they integrated IPE into the curriculum for nutrition, physical therapy, respiratory therapy, and nursing3; developed an IPE initiative between nursing and pharmacy in Qatar4; and placed students in an optometry pediatric clinic to provide pediatric clinical experiences and IPE,5 among others. What effects do IPE experiences have on students' competencies especially when they are in the practice setting? Do IPE experiences make a difference in collaboration and teamwork with other providers in the clinical setting as students and more importantly as nurses? How many IPE experiences are needed and what types for students to gain long-term benefits for practice? Although studies on IPE across disciplines report positive outcomes, a Cochrane review of 15 studies indicated conclusions could not be drawn about the effectiveness of IPE, and better research designs were needed.6


Use of simulation continues to increase especially with schools having difficulty in securing clinical placements. Most students and faculty perceive simulation as a positive learning experience, but what about long-term retention and effects on patient care? We published more articles in 2015 on simulation than clinical nursing education. Let's not forget about the importance of students' experiences with patients, families, and other providers in the clinical setting. What are strategies for "getting the most" out of students' clinical experiences? What evidence is available to guide our decisions about clinical learning activities that help students link concepts and knowledge from class and readings to patient care, gain clinical reasoning and higher-level thinking skills, and achieve other outcomes? There are hundreds of articles now available on simulation and debriefing, and research evidence has led to the development of best practices for debriefing. Yet limited research is available on postclinical conferences, which have many of the same goals as debriefing. Simulation is here to stay, but so is clinical practice, and we need nurse educators committed to developing and testing innovative approaches to clinical education in nursing.


Dedicated education units (DEUs) and similar models promote collaboration between the school of nursing and health care setting, and these partnerships yield many benefits for both students and staff. Whether it is a DEU or another type of partnership, students learn to practice nursing with and be mentored by an experienced clinician.7 In a recent article, Chmura8 described adapting the DEU model to the hospice and palliative care setting and how this model addressed a void in the clinical education of prelicensure nursing students. The DEU met the needs of the nursing program and hospice with many positive outcomes for students. Another school placed master's degree students in triads for a collaborative practicum experience, and students worked in these teams to solve a problem in the health setting.9 Not every school will develop a DEU or formal partnership, but readers can get ideas from these articles that might be useful in solving their own problems with clinical placements and improving the quality of the clinical experience for students.


I hope you enjoyed the articles in Nurse Educator in 2015 and had an opportunity to view some of the authors' video abstracts at the journal's Web site ( While you are at the Web site, listen to our podcasts with nursing education leaders as they reflect on the last 40 years and look to the future. I extend a special acknowledgement to the editorial board and our many reviewers, authors, and readers.




1. Pardue KT. A framework for the design, implementation, and evaluation of interprofessional education. Nurse Educ. 2015; 40(1): 10-15. [Context Link]


2. Arentsen A, Welsh D, Jones M, et al. Student perception of improvement in communication and value in 2 interprofessional education delivery formats [published online ahead of print July 31, 2015]. Nurse Educ. 2015. [Context Link]


3. Cranford JS, Bates T. Infusing interprofessional education into the nursing curriculum. Nurse Educ. 2015; 40(1): 16-20. [Context Link]


4. Wilbur K, Hasnani-Samnani Z, Kelly I. Interprofessional education activity among undergraduate nursing and pharmacy students in the Middle East. Nurse Educ. 2015; 40( 4): 163-164. [Context Link]


5. Hensel D, Lyon DW. Interprofessional education at a pediatric optometry clinic. Nurse Educ. 2015; 40(4): 165-166. [Context Link]


6. Reeves S, Perrier L, Goldman J, Freeth D, Zwarenstein M. Interprofessional education: effects on professional practice and healthcare outcomes (update). Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013; 3: CD002213. [Context Link]


7. Nishioka VM, Coe MT, Hanita M, Moscato SR. Dedicated education unit: student perspectives. Nurs Educ Perspect. 2014; 35(5): 301-307. [Context Link]


8. Chmura JQ. Dedicated education unit model in a hospice and palliative care setting [published online ahead of print July 3, 2015]. Nurse Educ. 2015. [Context Link]


9. Goodwin M, Jenkins-Weinrub E. Student triads: a collaborative approach to practicum experiences for master's nursing students. Nurse Educ. 2015; 40(4): 199-202. [Context Link]