1. Stuckey, Lanette PhD, RN, CMSRN, CNE, CNE-cl
  2. Wright, Ariel MSN, MS, RN, CNE
  3. Wallace, Rita MSN-Ed, RN
  4. Key, Eleni MSN-Ed, RN

Article Content

Nurse educators have a responsibility to prepare safe, competent nursing graduates through effective teaching practices. However, educators may struggle to implement them. For that reason, a professional development initiative was created that implemented a Champions of Teaching Excellence Program to increase and stabilize NCLEX-RN pass rate and to increase the quality of teaching. A culture of teaching effectiveness was formed through extensive professional development and education for nurse educators. Teaching strategies were implemented throughout the nursing program to provide faculty with the resources and skills needed to improve student learning and clinical judgment. Having a professional development program in place can provide the resources needed to foster teaching effectiveness and improve the quality of teaching.


Professional Development Programs

Professional development opportunities can assist with strengthening nurse educators within their roles. The need for professional development programs to support new nurse educators is discussed in the literature, but there is no clear guidance about how to carry out a professional development program.1 When professional development programs offer coaching and mentoring, this increases the confidence and resilience of new nurse educators as they are transitioning into the academic role.2 Structured professional development programs promote educator engagement, the achievement of student learning outcomes, and teaching effectiveness. Continuous professional development and support for nurse educators are critical for enhanced teaching effectiveness and overall program success.3


Teaching Effectiveness

Teaching effectiveness is defined as producing a desired result and can be judged by the extent to which it produces planned learning outcomes.4 The quality of teaching is one of the single most important factors in determining student success, and consequently, student performance declines when being taught by ineffective educators.5 However, the literature suggests that nurse educators are challenged to maintain teaching effectiveness in light of the increasing number of students, a declining number of experienced nurse educators, complexity of the health care environment, and health care restraints.6 A culture of teaching excellence can be created by modeling best practices through teaching. Nurse educators' preparation, positive attitude, and effective teaching and learning strategies are fundamental in creating a culture of teaching excellence.6 Therefore, teaching effectiveness is important in the learning process and demands expertise, knowledge, and skills in creating effective student-centered learning environments.


Champions of Teaching Excellence Program

Teaching effectiveness was one area that was a concern for our BSN program. Satisfaction surveys indicated that the college performed lower than other peer institutions in areas related to teaching effectiveness. Teaching effectiveness was a challenge because of the shortage of nurse educators in the area, along with the reliance of novice educators. In response to this concern, a Champions of Teaching Excellence Program was created with the goal to increase teaching effectiveness through professional development.


Recruitment included emailing 16 full-time nurse educators in the BSN program to gauge their interest. Six nurse educators volunteered and were enrolled in this innovative program to receive ongoing professional development opportunities and implement a workshop for the other faculty focusing on teaching effectiveness at the end of the academic year. The 6 educators had a variety of experience and academic rank, ranging from instructor to associate professor. All nurse educators had a minimum of a master's degree, with one holding a doctorate. The champions had a mix of experienced and novice nurse educators with different specialty areas noted.


The champions attended conferences with a central focus on areas related to teaching effectiveness. In addition, educators who were eligible took the Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) examination during this time. From the knowledge gained through the nursing education conferences and studying for the CNE examination, an educational workshop was created and presented to all nurse educators teaching in the nursing program led by the champions.


Workshop Planning Meetings

Champion educators held 4 planning meetings throughout the semester to prepare and formalize the workshop focusing on teaching effectiveness with current best practices. The champions received a stipend for each planning meeting needed for successful implementation of the workshop. Working in partnership and with a collaborative approach, the experienced educators facilitated the meetings and coached the novice educators in the program. During the first meeting, the educators established ground rules for participation and developed a needs assessment survey for all to complete to identify their strengths and weaknesses related to teaching. In the second planning meeting, the nurse educators created an outline schedule and built activities for the workshop based on key topics that were presented at recent educational conferences. In the third planning meeting, the needs assessment was evaluated and reviewed with the agenda for the workshop. The fourth and final teaching excellence planning meeting allowed the educators to practice the agenda, prepare the learning environment, and create a posteducation survey.


Teaching Excellence Workshop

The agenda and time frames for the workshop used a scrambled classroom teaching strategy with each activity divided into 15-minute increments. Educators were presented with teaching strategies and techniques to incorporate in their own teaching. The champion educators rotated through the teaching activities to facilitate learning in their areas of expertise. The primary focus of these activities was on student-centered learning strategies such as active learning. These student-centered strategies gave nurse educators new ideas to implement in the classroom. Furthermore, classroom management, classroom assessment, clinical assessment, and simulation-based techniques that can be used at all levels to facilitate teaching effectiveness were discussed. Time was also allotted for reflection in small groups to identify how to use newly introduced teaching strategies in the classroom, clinical practice, and simulation environments. Finally, an evaluation of the workshop was completed electronically at the completion of the day.



NCLEX-RN pass rates were collected for 2017 and 2018 to compare pass rates before and after implementation of the teaching excellence program. The official pass rate for the nursing program in 2017 was 71%. After the implementation of the teaching excellence program, the pass rate for 2018 was 91%.


Furthermore, the nursing program uses an exit survey to gain student feedback. One category that is rated by students on the survey is teaching effectiveness: students rate their satisfaction with the quality of nursing instruction. Before the implementation of the teaching excellence program, the rating in this category was 3.92 for the 2017-2018 academic year. After implementation, scores in this category increased to 4.91 for the 2018-2019 academic year. In addition, in the category of satisfaction in course lecture and interaction, the scores also improved from 5.01 (2017-2018) to 5.49 for the 2018-2019 academic year.



The Champions of Teaching Excellence Program was successful at increasing teaching effectiveness. The program supported the efforts to improve NCLEX pass rates through improving the quality of teaching. This peer-driven program expanded teaching effectiveness strategies, along with creating a culture that values teaching and learning. The program strengthened classroom and clinical teaching and fostered a sense of community about teaching excellence. The Champions of Teaching Excellence Program provided professional development on learner-centered teaching strategies and gave an opportunity to engage in dialogue on teaching. In addition, the educators received feedback, problem-solved teaching-related challenges along with implementing new approaches into classes, and created meaningful measures of student learning. Furthermore, to date, 2 nurse educators have obtained their CNE certification, with others planning to take in the near future.


With the positive feedback received, the program will be continued. Sustainability of the Champions of Teaching Excellence Program was ensured by using the program in the new faculty orientation as well as continuing the program on an annual basis.



The creation of the Champions of Teaching Excellence Program provided professional development and education on teaching strategies for nurse educators. Focusing on nursing education best practices provided a transformation process, bringing new and experienced nurse educators together and closing the gap on identified professional development needs. Through this innovative active learning workshop, educators were able to solidify active learning activities that increase student learning and teaching effectiveness.




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