Mistaken, misshapen and mythical images of nurse education: creating a shared identity for clinical nurse educator practice.

Nurse education in practice

PubMedID: 17689443

Conway J, Elwin C. Mistaken, misshapen and mythical images of nurse education: creating a shared identity for clinical nurse educator practice. Nurse Educ Pract. 2007;7(3):187-94.
The hospital-based clinical nurse educator is pivotal to the integration of formal learning and clinical practice. Clinical nurse educators are generally considered to be expert nurses within a particular clinical environment; however, many of those who are expert clinicians suffer some loss of identity when assuming clinical teaching roles. It is necessary to facilitate the expression of identity in order to foster collective agency and to empower individuals and groups. In a health care system that is awash with change, the importance of this may often be overlooked. This paper reports on the process and outcomes of a series of workshops with clinical nurse educators in a New South Wales area health service that sought to create a shared identity and role for clinical nurse educators within the health service. Challenges in role demarcation and delineation of the roles and functions of clinical nurse educators clinical nurse specialists, clinical nurse consultants, practice development facilitators and nurse educators have been reported. Each of these has overlapping and complementary roles to support learning, however, the primary focus and area of responsibility varies among each of these groups.