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June 2012, Volume 42 Number 6 , p 58 - 60


  • Abigail Mitchell DHEd, MSN, RN
  • Malena King-Jones MS, RN


SCHOOLS OF NURSING are struggling with increasing enrollments and a lack of qualified nursing faculty. (See Sizing up the faculty shortage.) In an attempt to address the faculty shortage, schools of nursing are turning to direct care nurses to fill the gap between academia and clinical education.This article explains why you and your direct care nursing colleagues would make great clinical faculty members and what steps your facility can take to ensure your success in this new role.As a direct care nurse, you can be a strong clinical faculty member because you're already oriented to the hospital, have expertise in your field, and have working relationships with members of the healthcare team. Besides your knowledge of specific clinical areas and facility policies and procedures, you know how to access the latest patient information and can demonstrate your technical skills to students.To qualify for a clinical faculty position within a college, you generally need to have at least a master's of science in nursing (MSN). If you don't have an MSN, take heart-in some instances, a bachelor's of science in nursing is the minimum requirement.When you transition from the bedside to the academic setting, you'll need to be able to demonstrate your role as a leader, educator, gatekeeper, and collaborator within the entire healthcare team. For example, as a clinical faculty member, you should be able to communicate well with other nurses on the unit to determine the most appropriate assignments for each student. You should also be able to work with your colleagues at the school to ensure you're meeting the course and clinical objectives, following the school and department policies, and meeting the students' needs.During this transition, your daily responsibilities shift. For example, planning student-centered activities becomes another priority in addition to caring for patients. You'll help choose appropriate patients for your students and assign other students to observe in

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