1. Pullen, Richard L. Jr. EdD, MSN, RN, CMSRN, CNE-cl, ANEF

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Q: What's the role of a nursing scholar and how can I develop these skills?

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A: A scholar is a well-educated and independent critical thinker who embraces intellectual activities as a trusted, respected, and accomplished expert in a particular subject area.1 The role of the nursing scholar is to critique the evidence in academic and clinical practice settings; integrate the evidence into teaching and learning with students, patients, and families; conduct research; participate in professional committees and organizations; and serve on editorial boards for academic and clinical journals.1,2


Educator Ernest Boyer created a more comprehensive definition of what it means to be a scholar.3-5 Boyer's model of scholarship is commonly used across academic disciplines to guide faculty work; it may also be incorporated into a nurse's academic or clinical practice setting to develop a scholarly persona.2-5 The model includes four domains:1-5


* The scholarship of discovery is new and unique knowledge generated through research, development of clinical or educational models, and philosophical inquiry.Example: A risk management nurse director and informatics nurse director in a hospital system are conducting a quality improvement mixed-methods research study of patients' experiences with NPs and physicians using telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic.


* The scholarship of teaching entails the teacher building bridges between their own understanding and the students' learning through innovative teaching and evaluation strategies and being a role model and mentor for the nursing profession.Example: A nursing faculty member develops a case study from the current literature (evidence) on diversity, equity, and inclusion and conducts a brainstorming session with students using their mobile devices on ways to role model respect, appreciation, and embracing all people.


* The scholarship of application emphasizes the use of new knowledge in the academic and clinical practice settings.Example: Hospice nurses are developing a teaching tool for patients and families about palliative care based on the hospice director's peer-reviewed publications in research and clinical journals.


* The scholarship of integration is the discovery of new relationships among disciplines, with a strong emphasis on interprofessional collaboration.



Example: Faculty members at a school of nursing collaborate with nurses, physicians, and pharmacists in a local hospital system to prepare a grant application to provide the funds to construct a new simulation center.


Becoming a scholar and influencing the nursing discipline takes time and begins by setting goals for professional development. Goals should include the achievement of advanced education and certifications; active involvement in professional nursing and civic organizations; conducting presentations at local, state, national, and international conferences; and publishing in peer-reviewed sources. Nurses can have a scholarly persona and reputation in any practice setting, from academia to the bedside.




1. McCambly H. Becoming a scholar. Association of American Colleges and Universities. 2013. [Context Link]


2. Wittmann-Price RA, Godshall M, Wilson L. Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) Review Manual. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Springer Publishing; 2013. [Context Link]


3. American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Defining scholarship for the discipline of nursing. 1999. [Context Link]


4. Boyer EL. Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate, Expanded Edition. San Francisco, CA: Josey Bass; 2015.


5. Wendling L. Valuing the engaged work of the professoriate: reflections on Ernest Boyer's scholarship reconsidered. J Scholar Teach Learn. 2020;20(2):127-142. [Context Link]