The nurse teacher's clinical role now and in the future

Ioannides, Andreas P. (1999) The nurse teacher's clinical role now and in the future. Nurse Education Today, 19(3), pp. 207-214. ISSN (print) 0260-6917


The role of the nurse teacher in relation to the clinical setting has been debated for 20 years, yet it has been the subject of relatively few large studies. Recent studies led to inconclusive results, hence the nurse lecturer's clinical role remains an area of long-standing dispute. Changes in nurse education United Kingdom Central Council (UKCC) and the amalgamation of nurse education into higher education as part of the Strategy for Nursing, as well as the expansion of supernumerary status for student nurses, gave impetus to the search for a new clinical role for nurse lecturers. Research suggests that nurse teachers wish to maintain clinical contact, but the nature of this contact is vigorously debated at present. Lee, in reviewing the literature, concluded that this topic is highly contentious in terms of its nature, extent and purpose. She goes as far as to suggest that there is a need for empirical research to address the question as to whether there is a role for nurse lecturers in the clinical area. This paper examines some of the factors which influence the development of the clinical aspect of the role of nurse lecturers, explains how the author performed this role and the perceived benefits to students, mentors and the lecturer. It proposes a clinical role model based on the literature and the author's own personal experience as a 'clinical liaison lecturer' since the integration of nursing education into higher education. Key points The clinical role of the nurse teacher remains an area of long standing dispute Nurse lecturers wish to maintain clinical contact and maintain clinical competence, but in reality no consensus exists as to its meaning The mentor's role can be complemented by a clinically competent nurse lecturer who arguably should be able to teach in the classroom and the practice settings Using a triangular approach to reviewing student's experience, lecturers can update their clinical knowledge, demonstrate credibility, promote education-practice relations and ensure classroom teaching is relevant to current practice The establishment of guiding principles (recognized and agreed upon by service and educational managers) serves as a framework which nurse teachers can use to establish their own clinical role for each of their 'link' areas The nurse lecturer is in a good position to influence and maintain standards in nursing practice.

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