Nurse educators are clinical expertise who work in classrooms and the practice setting and are responsible for preparing and mentoring current and future generation of nurses. These professionals play a pivotal role in strengthening the nursing workforce, providing the leadership needed to implement evidence-based practices and also acts as role models. A number of difficulties have been witnessed in the bringing up of the nurse educators which include; gaps in knowledge, gaps in acquiring the current skills and gaps in accomplishment in the need to becoming a nurse educator.
Gaps in Knowledge and plan for Attaining this Knowledge
Gaps in knowledge
Nurse educators have been striving in a achieving a successful balance between academic and clinical education due to the nursing profession that demands graduates to have a broad-based knowledge at a time when there is a nursing shortage and more students are being recruited to meet these demands, nurse educators are increasingly facing more responsibility and demands to prepare graduates with necessary knowledge and skills to adjust quickly to the environment of the work setting. But they have been facing shortage in accessing proper and adequate learning materials and also proper and a clear guidelines in learning process (Nyquist, 2003).
Plans in attaining these knowledge
In trying to bridge these gaps so many teaching methodologies in health care field should been put in place, which include; the adoption of simulation as a teaching methodology, making leaning materials readily available to students and also organizing exchange programs among the students being prepared to be nurse educators. The adoption of computer simulation technology in nursing is designed to create an active learning environment; it attempts to replicate the entire essential aspects of a clinical situation so that the conditions may be more readily understood and managed when it occurs in the clinical practice setting. Simulation deals in evaluating learning objectives that involves the affective, psychomotor and cognitive domains of learning.
The use of simulation methods gives students to solve problems in the safety of the classroom. It also helps nursing students to widen clinical decision-making skills. Furthermore the use of simulation technology can potentially provide the student with opportunity to practice certain skills and exposes them to certain situations which would not be readily available in real life. If learning materials such as availability of books and other learning equipments and also exchange programs are practiced then all these will be of greatly help in bridging the gap in knowledge-based needed to become a nurse educator. (Rauen, 2004)
Gaps in Current Skills and plans for Attaining these Skills
Gaps in current skills
Some of the gaps that can be easily identified in nurse educators preparatory are; luck of updates in the improved technology, luck of effective communication and professional teaching skills, luck of clinical supervision. To come up with well professional nurse educator with abilities to carry their duties effectively in improving the sector of producing well and qualified nurses these gaps needs to be bridged.
Plans for Attaining these Skills
There are several ways of attaining these skills which are very essential for producing a qualified nurse educator to improve the leaning of the future nurses, which include the following; to improve the technological skills of the nurse educators, the use of computers among the educators should be encouraged and the machines should also be made available to them, new developed computer-software should also be availed to them to quicken compiling research reports and also help in sharing of ideas with other educators from different parts through internet access, to improve on their skills.
A part from acquiring the clinical knowledge the educators should also possess the teaching skills. Nurse educators are teacher and they need to learn the teaching methodology skills to make their students acquire the knowledge that is how to plan their lesson and how to make the points clear to students by using relevant methodology and materials for the study. Nurse educators as teachers they should also possess a good communication skills which is very essential part of communication. Teaching is all about communicating and hence for the effective communication the educator should possess good communication skills. (Craddock, 1993).
Gaps in Accomplishment and plans in Attaining these Accomplishments
Gaps in Accomplishments
There are number of problems that are associated with the accomplishment in becoming a nurse educator. Being the trainers of the future nurses and also their involvement in research works they have been facing problems which includes; poor government policies, low salary, limited time for clinical teaching, inadequate teaching materials, no opportunities for further studies and heavy workload. These challenges were perceived to have numerous consequences on the quality of clinical teaching and supervision. They made teaching difficult, impaired effective teaching and learning that will result to poor teaching outcomes, the students’ objectives will not be met and they will not acquire ideal techniques required of them. (H.Tamiko, 2000).
Plans in Attaining these Accomplishments
To attain these accomplishment for proper and well qualified nurse educator there are measures that must be put into place. If the required accomplishments are not reached it will have a negative impacts on the clinical educators, which will pass to the nurses they are training and eventually the patients who depends on the nurses will suffer due to poor clinical services.
A numbers of measure should be put be put in places. For example, the government should adopt a health policy that encourages the medical practitioners to enjoy and also do their work in a favorable working environment. Policies that hinder the performance of clinical practitioners should be avoided. Working materials should also be made available during clinical teaching and supervision, old and dilapidated hospitals infrastructures should be improved to provide a good environment for studies. This will enable clinical teachers to teach effectively and also demonstrate skills appropriately. It is also very important that opportunities for further studies should be available as this will help in improving students’ proficiency and their impact on patient outcome.
Clinical nurse educators need to be kept up-to-date in nursing practices and teaching skills in order for them to adequately coach, supervise, guide and assess student nurses on clinical placements. Furthermore, the role of the clinical educators can be enhanced by educational programs aimed at improving clinical teaching skills which will improve the quality of clinical teaching. Research work should also be greatly encouraged for nurse educators.