1. Simmons, Larry E.

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Since their original release in 2005, the NLN Core Competencies for Nurse Educators and Related Task Statements have provided a framework for curriculum development and revision in graduate nurse educator academic programs, faculty role descriptions, faculty evaluations, and research about nurse educator roles, among other uses (Halstead, 2019). The core competencies and task statements also provided a guide for the development of nurse education certification and the creation of the NLN Certified Nurse Educator (CNE(R)) program in 2005.


The initial focus of the core competencies was on the role of the academic nurse educator. As our certification program expanded, there was an intentional focus on being inclusive of academic nurse educators at all levels of nursing education, including faculty from diploma, associate degree, and practical nursing programs. After reflection and many development activities, the Certified Academic Clinical Nurse Educator (CNEcl) and Certified Novice Nurse Educator (CNEn) certifications were added to our certification opportunities, creating a framework in line with Benner's novice to expert model of nursing.



The competencies were developed for nurse educators practicing in the full scope of the academic role. Since the inception of the CNE(R)n program, more than 14,000 nurse educators have achieved certification. Many changes in the program were also implemented, including changes in eligibility criteria and, importantly, the opening of the program to the international cadre of nurse educators, resulting in global nurse educator certification. The Board of Commissioners for the Certification Program now includes a Canadian commissioner and a commissioner from Saudi Arabia.



We launched CNE(R)cl certification in 2018. This certification is focused on academic clinical nurse educators who guide and teach nursing students in clinical experiences. These educators do not necessarily practice in the full scope of the role and do not have classroom or other faculty responsibilities (e.g., curriculum revision and committee work). At the present time, we have more than 500 clinical instructors certified. This year, we finished a new practice analysis and a new test plan for this certification.



In September 2022, the NLN made available a new certification aimed at novice nurse educators (CNE(R)n), defined as less than three years of nurse educator practice and with competencies leveled to the performance expected of faculty new to nursing education. This certification is a bit different from the others in that it is not renewable, but it opens the door for educators to become confident in the role. We currently have 220 certified novice educators who may wish to continue with CNEcl or CNE certification.



All of these certifications result from the work of task groups that developed the competencies and task statement based on the literature, validated the concepts with member feedback, and performed practice analyses that further validated the concepts, ensuring they are evidence based. The NLN offers useful publications containing in-depth information, including The Scope of Practice for Academic Nurse Educators (Christensen & Simmons, 2020) and Clinical Nurse Educator Competencies: Creating an Evidence-Based Practice for Academic Clinical Nurse Educators (Shellenbarger, 2019). A new edition of The Scope of Practice, to be published in 2023, will provide information on the development of novice educator certification and specific competencies and task statements.


The work of practice analysis committees for each certification program will lead to a new practice analysis every five years, the certification program standard. Each certification has its own handbook, with specific detailed information available at as follows: CNE,; CNEcl,; and CNEn,




Christensen L. S., Simmons L. E. (2020). The scope of practice for academic nurse educators and academic clinical nurse educators (3rd ed.). National League for Nursing. [Context Link]


Halstead J. A. (2019). NLN core competencies for nurse educators: A decade of influence. National League for Nursing. [Context Link]


Shellenbarger T. (2019). Clinical nurse educator competencies: Creating an evidence-based practice for clinical nurse educators. National League for Nursing. [Context Link]