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Preferred Vision of the Professoriate in Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Programs

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The growing shortage of nurse faculty has generated much debate about the appropriate deployment and educational preparation of nurse educators. To bring clarity to this discussion, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) proposes the following recommendations to create a preferred future for teaching in baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs. These recommendations, which are presented as aspirational goals, address the desired education level and role responsibilities for full- and part-time faculty, clinical instructors, and preceptors and are based on the assumption that the terminal degree in nursing is the doctorate (research or practice-focused).

To meet the demand for high quality faculty in baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs, AACN endorses the following preferred vision of the nursing professoriate:   

  • Educational institutions vary in culture and policy. Qualifications and performance of nursing faculty will be congruent with accepted institutional standards. Consistent with academy expectations, faculty with primary responsibility for the oversight of courses in baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral nursing programs will have doctoral preparation. Doctoral graduates who will be involved in an academic role will have preparation in educational methods and pedagogies.

  • The nursing program faculty must balance its stature within the academy with its concurrent responsibility to prepare graduates for the practice environment. Therefore, the mix of faculty expertise, roles, and responsibilities will vary according to the mission of the academic program.

  • Courses in the nursing program will be taught by faculty with graduate-level academic preparation and advanced expertise in the areas of content they teach.

  • Nursing science is enriched by the knowledge and expertise of many disciplines.  Selected nursing program courses and electives may be taught by either nurse or non-nurse faculty with appropriate educational and experiential preparation.

  • Clinically focused graduate preparation is the minimal expectation for clinical instruction and the coordination and mentoring of preceptors.

  • Preceptors from the practice environment working under the guidance of nursing faculty serve as role models for the design, organization, and implementation of patient care. Preceptors in entry-level pre-licensure programs must, at minimum, hold a baccalaureate degree in nursing.

Endorsed March 31, 2008