1. Czekaj, Lori A. MSN, RN, Issue Editor

Article Content

Is this really an education issue? That is a question that clinical educators ask frequently. We may argue that the subject in question is a process issue or perhaps a compliance issue, or maybe indeed it is a true education issue. Regardless, educators are routinely are asked to identify problems, develop action plans, implement training, rework processes, write policies and evaluate outcomes. These activities mirror the processes educators incorporate every day in planning educational activities. Educators are favorite team members-they are efficient, resourceful, cost-conscious, informed, organized, and can get things done!!


Staff education comes in many forms in healthcare settings. Staff development delivery models are not always clearly defined and frequently change. Education is a part of most every process, but educator positions are often considered "low-hanging fruit" and are the first to get scrutinized during a budget crunch. Staff development educators may hold formal positions at regional, facility, or unit levels, may be associated with schools of nursing, or may be staff nurses or other healthcare providers willing to share their expertise. There may be a single hospital educator or there may be a whole team of education subspecialists. In any situation, all educators find that they must meet the diverse needs and preferences of a multigenerational workforce who provide care in a wide variety of clinical settings.


Educators provide instructional activities in the classroom, during unit in-services, through self-study modules, through one-on-one preceptorships, and even during student clinical rotations. Also, the increased use of technology and e-learning has opened up a world of educational opportunities not limited to time slots or classroom/instructor availability. Educators must develop their own set of best practices so that content is delivered using methods that are efficient, engaging, and effective. No matter how education it is delivered or by whom, it has to reach the bedside. Education must ultimately translate into the development of competent healthcare workers who provide a safe environment and quality patient care.


Healthcare workers need to view education as means to promote professional development. They need a safe but challenging environment in which to learn, question, and practice. Staff members need to be able to apply what they have learned to real clinical settings. Hospitals and healthcare systems that commit to the development of their staff will benefit on many fronts, not the least being patient satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and physician satisfaction. Education is a powerful recruitment and retention tool.


Critical care presents many unique educational challenges. It is a fast-paced environment where critical-thinking and communication skills are vital, where decisions are made quickly, and where there is little room for error. New employee on-boarding processes must allow time for staff new to the intensive care unit setting to develop appropriate knowledge and skills. This process involves the collaboration of management, educators, preceptors, and peers who need to be aware of the desired outcomes of orientation, and who can continue to mentor and provide continuing support as the orientee advances in their development. This edition of Critical Care Nurse Quarterly will present some perspectives on the issues that critical care educators and staff encounter every day.


Lori A. Czekaj, MSN, RN, Issue Editor


Regional Director of Education


Baptist Health System


San Antonio, Texas