The tripartite nursing model focuses on education/ teaching, scholarship and service. This article will briefly overview the three areas of the model and also discuss the education needed to enter the field. Focusing on the role of an adjunct professor this paper will summarize needed education and typical job description for an entry level faculty member.
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Tripartite Nursing Model
The role of a nurse educator is more than just providing information to nursing students. A nurse educator serves many functions and also professionally follows the traditional triad of teaching, scholarship and service. New nursing educators enter the teaching arena in different fashions, they can be an adjunct faculty member, guest lecturer, associate professor or full professor, or even a mentor for students. With the improvement in nursing education and the rise of more graduate and doctoral programs the number of well-educated nurses is growing.
The New Adjunct Nursing Educator
When a nurse chooses to enter the field of education over a career of hospital or other practice it is often a decision that is not made lightly. The demands of a new nurse educator are vast. Learning to teach, while continuing to serve and practice, while rising to the university or colleges needs or desires for continued scholarship are all a juggling act the new educator must learn to master. The new adjunct educator will have possibly taken this role for varied reasons, they may want to see is teaching is a career path for them or they may want to expand their practice and share information with others. They are professors who are not on the tenure track, but still teach a certain number of classes or hours. However, a typical job description for an adjunct nursing educator will vary from college to college. Using the job description from the National American University the job entails leading faculty of the associated course(s), participating in program development, evaluation, and revisions, student instruction in the assigned nursing course(s) and other matters as assigned in accordance with the mission, core values, and purposes of the university (National American University 2016).
As an adjunct professor, one would be responsible for teaching only a certain number of classes as assigned, these classes may involve classroom, simulation lab, or direct clinical setting. It would vary depending upon the course and at times may involve all three components. For a clinical class it would involve classroom to teach and review theory, and then it would lead to the simulation lab to practice skills that would be needed to participate in the direct clinical experience.
The adjunct is responsible for completing their own syllabi, provides clinical instruction, feedback and evaluation of students. Teaching the students is more than just lecturing. It is bringing the information they are taught in the classroom together in an organized fashion utilizing all the tools that an adjunct may have at their disposal. It is also to advise, mentor, and coach learners throughout various stages of their careers as students, by planning learning experiences; using theories, pedagogies, strategies, and educational technologies to promote active learning, stimulate critical thinking, and assure professional role development and competent entry level nurses (Billings 2003).
As a nurse educator and adjunct professor service can be viewed in different ways. Service to the educational institution, the public, or service to the patients through teaching via service learning. Service learning is complex it involves not just education from a text book but causes learners need to reflect on the benefit of the inclusion of civic responsibility, intentionally caring for others, and including others from diverse backgrounds. As a result, service learning with its diverse objectives can help learners appreciate the needs of those with diverse needs and can minimize unintended harm to disadvantaged and vulnerable citizens. The nurse educator, by using service learning principles, you can instigate social appreciation and change among learners, recipients of care and other individuals in the community (Adegbola 2013). An adjunct professor is also potentially responsible to participate in committees and in the job description from National American University in Kansas there are five committees on which the adjunct is required to serve (National American University 2016). Providing service on a committee can influence policy and curriculum. As an adjunct service to the college is important in this instance to provide support to the program, and engaging the service learning model will help students learn social appreciation.
Scholarship is an important factor in a nursing educator. To be an approved educator you must meet certain academic and practice qualifications. These qualifications are the minimum required, an educator should never stop learning. Some examples of scholarly/creative activity include creative production and theory/method development, integrated scholarship, preparation of grant proposals, development of courses, continuing education, conducting workshops, supervision of graduate and undergraduate research projects, and completion of a terminal degree (Bosold & Darnell 2012). Professional scholarship may include engaging in activities to advance educational theory and practice, translating evidence to nursing practice, conducting research to create new knowledge, and disseminating information through national presentations and publications (Lindell, Hagler & Poindexter 2012). While not every nurse aspires to be published or is required to, every nurse must continue learning to stay abreast of new treatments, updates in technology and what is known about different diseases and conditions and be able to pass this knowledge along to their students. By utilizing nursing journals such as the American Nursing Association and Nursing Outlook the adjunct faculty would have an overview of changes, and challenges in nursing and a broad picture of updates. However, as an adjunct and teaching a particular section or module the faculty would be well served by reading journals in their educational specialty such as the Journal of Vascular Access and the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing for nurses educating students in cardiology. As an adjunct faculty it is important to stay abreast and take note of changes and updates and bring these back to the program and assist with updating the syllabi, and curriculum.
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Adjunct faculty need to have a plan or an end goal. As a goal one would think that the student will successfully learn and be able to utilize and act upon the information that is taught. Nurse educators can increase their effectiveness by intentionally including the service learning model and engaging students as interactively as possible. Adjunct faculty can do this by engaging students, planning learning and reflection as a thread in courses, thus engaging civic minded healthcare professionals who develop as engaged and intentionally caring citizens (Adegbola 2013). A vital part of a plan is a well thought out syllabi and specific course outcomes and a tie in to all of the outcomes with the course material is an important part of an educators’ plan. Also part of the plan for an adjunct is to continue to stay abreast of changes in nursing and the subject matter they teach by reading journals, conducting research, attending in-services and conferences related to subject matter. Nurse educators should strive to complete multiple continuing education units each year. Utilizing the organizations continuing education programs to help offset the cost of programs and conferences can be very helpful in achieving the goals of obtaining a certain number of educational units. Utilizing deadlines from the organization will enable the educator to plan work on syllabi and updating it, as well as allow for the planning of their continued learning. Most organizations require faculty both full time and adjunct to create a professional development plan which requires you to list your learning objectives and goals. Using this plan in conjunction with required duties, the syllabi and specific deadlines as outlined in the academic year will allow the adjunct the opportunity to create a semester or yearlong plan.
To enter the world of nursing education as an adjunct professor one must have a Master’s Degree, and multiple years of nursing experience. Nursing experience varies due to the setting that one practices in, and a nurse with no experience in obstetrics will not provide the same learning experience as a nurse who has practiced in that specialty and can bring both clinical experience and theory to the student. So a nurse must have practical clinical experience in the realm of which they teach, and additional certification in the area that is being taught lends more mastery to the subject matter, for example a CCRN who is teaching cardiac care. When an adjunct is teaching the cardiac module and proctoring clinical for nursing students it is important that they are competent in teaching the required information to avoid potential lapses in needed care.
Adjunct faculty who are highly qualified provide improved educational opportunities and can serve as change agents by stimulating interest in different specialty areas, as well as setting an example for students. By teaching evidence based practice and promoting the role and practice of a nurse as a true professional the adjunct will be serving as a role model, mentor and providing education and preparation for future nurse leaders.
- Adegbola M. (2013). Relevance of Service Learning to Nursing Education, The ABNF journal: Association of Black Nursing Faculty in Higher Education, Inc., 24(2), 39.
- Billings, D., (2003), What Does it Take to be a Nurse Educator? Journal of Nursing Education. 2003;42(3):99https://doi.org/10.3928/0148-4834-20030301-03
- Bosold, C., Darnell, M. (2012), Faculty Practice: Is It Scholarly Activity?, Journal of Professional Nursing, Volume 28, Issue 2, March–April 2012, Pages 90-95
- Lindell, D.; Hagler, D., Poindexter, K., (2015), Your Path to Becoming a Nurse Educator American Nurse Today (AM NURSE TODAY), May2015; 10(5): 40-42.
- National American University, (2016) Adjunct Nursing Faculty Job Description https://www.national.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Adjunct-Nursing-Faculty.pdf
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