Examining Influences on Practicing Nurse Educators' Values and Beliefs of the Need for Training in Teaching Methodologies
Research shows that nurse educators have generally followed the traditional pathway into the classroom, from clinical experience and training directly to the academic setting with little, if any, education in teaching methodologies and practices. In the early years of the twenty first century the National League for Nursing developed a set of core competencies for nurse educators, designed to serve as a benchmark for effectiveness as an educator. Working from those core competencies and available research, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, National Council State Boards of Nursing, and others published and promoted a preferred vision for educational preparation. This preferred vision included doctoral preparation, education in teaching methods, adult learning theory, and accepted course development and assessment techniques. A review of current literature suggests, however, that most nurse educators have little or no education in teaching, and three fourths of nurse educators are prepared only at the master’s level. There is also a significant lack of literature on nurse educators’ values and beliefs about the need for teacher education. This descriptive exploratory study utilized a social constructivist theoretical framework, based on the works of Vygotsky and Lave and Wenger to explore and identify common themes in those beliefs and values and factors influencing those beliefs. The results of this small study produced evidence of social constructivist processes in play regarding influences on nurse educators’ values and beliefs. Established institutional and generational practices and expectations, along with the mentorship of peers and experienced educators appears to strongly influence a perpetuated belief that clinical experience is all that is needed for nurses to be successful as educators. This study should serve as an impetus for additional research in this area and add to the body of knowledge in an area found sorely lacking in the literature, but vital to long term change, as evidenced by accepted organizational and institutional change theory.