1. Simmons, Larry E.

Article Content

Certified Nurse Educator(R) (CNE) certification, established in 2005, has been identified as the mark of excellence for nurse educators for 15 years. Initial efforts by the National League for Nursing (NLN) were in support of the full scope of the role of the academic nurse educator, established with competencies, task statements, and then certification. Since its inception, the NLN Nurse Educator Certification Program has evolved in terms of eligibility, inclusiveness, and international recognition. One of the largest changes took place in 2018, with the establishment of CNEcl certification, focused on nurse educators who primarily work with nursing students in clinical settings and do not necessarily function in the full scope of the role. With the review of data from many years of testing and a close examination of candidates who were not successful on the certification exam, recognition emerged that novice nurse educators (those with less than two years of experience) are at risk for being unsuccessful on the exam. We determined that this finding could and should be investigated.



After a consultant for the NLN did a basic analysis of the literature, we convened a task group to meet in the NLN Washington, DC office to define competencies for novice nurse educators. The group consisted of NLN staff and nine volunteers recruited from the membership, some with certification as nurse educators and some without. After initial discussion regarding the group's purpose, task group members began their work with a review of CNE competencies and task statements (Christensen & Simmons, 2020) and the literature review data. After careful review, the group decided that the competencies could be examined as they stood: 1) facilitate learning, 2) facilitate learner development and socialization, 3) use assessment and evaluation strategies, 4) participate in curriculum design and evaluation of program outcomes, 5) function as change agent and leader, 6) pursue continuous quality improvement in role of nurse educator, 7) engage in scholarship, and 8) function within the educational environment.


Subgroups of two or three were then assigned the task of linking competencies and task statements to the functions of the novice educator and submitting their work to NLN staff in time for the second meeting. Staff created a master document, and the next meetings were held virtually. Discussions focused on how expectations differed for novice and seasoned faculty. Although much of the previous competency and task statement work was found to be pertinent, the group worked to level actions and outcomes expected of novice educators, and some task statements were removed.



In the final revisions of expectations and outcomes, many of the cognitive levels of action verbs associated with the original task statements were altered to "knowledge" level of tasks as opposed to expectations for the full scope of the role of academic educator. The new competencies and task statements were placed on the NLN website in survey form, and members were asked for review, commentary, and suggestions for revision. The survey was terminated after 30 days, and the results were analyzed by NLN staff using a qualitative research software program. The task group was reconvened to review the themes and comments from the membership review. Edits and revisions were done based on those data, and the resultant document was presented to the NLN Board of Governors.


The next step was the creation of a validation survey sent electronically to nurse educators with two years or less of faculty experience. Novice educators were asked to identify and rank the competencies and task statements related to their experiences. The results will be analyzed, much like a practice analysis, and changes, edits, and revisions will be made.



As a result of the careful consideration by the task group, the novice nurse educator role has been defined by competencies and task statements pertinent to the role. Validation of these activities will offer additional support for the novice role. Many academic programs of nursing education use the CNE competencies and task statements to guide evaluation of faculty. Validation of novice role expectations has the potential to help establish performance evaluation criteria for nurses beginning their careers as educators.




Christensen L. S., Simmons L. E. (2020). The scope of practice for academic nurse educators & academic clinical nurse educators (3rd ed.). Wolters Kluwer. [Context Link]