Nursing Faculty Members Named Certified Nurse Educators

Three Pennsylvania College of Technology faculty members have earned the designation of Certified Nurse Educator after successfully completing a rigorous certification examination developed and administered by the New York City-based National League for Nursing.

Jane J. Benedict, Linda L. Crayton and Pam B. Schappert, all associate professors of nursing, earned the certification. All three faculty members hold master’s degrees in nursing: Benedict from The Pennsylvania State University, Crayton from Wilkes University, and Schappert from the University of Nebraska.

Certification is a mark of professionalism, and for academic nurse educators, it establishes nursing education as a specialty area of practice and creates a means for faculty to demonstrate their expertise in this role. It communicates to students, peers, and the academic and health-care communities that the highest standards of excellence are being met.

The newly certified nurse educators reflect the spectrum of their academic colleagues in the United States:

  • Thirty-seven percent hold doctoral degrees; the remainder hold master’s degrees.
  • Fifty percent teach in baccalaureate or higher degree programs; 38 percent in associate-degree programs; eight percent in diploma programs; and three percent in practical nursing programs.
  • Sixty-five percent hold the rank of assistant professor or higher; 18 percent are full professors; 25 percent associate professors; and 22 percent assistant professors.
  • Forty-one percent have more than 15 years’ experience as academic nurse educators.

With nearly half (46 percent) of nurse educators projected to retire within the next decade and nearly three-quarters (72 percent) within 15 years, replacing them is of grave concern, Dr. Beverly Malone, CEO of the National League for Nursing, said.

“We must encourage more nurse faculty to prepare for certification as nurse educators so that our nursing schools can be staffed by academicians of the highest caliber,” she said. “Only in this way can excellence in nursing education be ensured for another generation. As matters stand, the number of nurses qualified to teach continues to decline. The National League for Nursing’s 2005 NNED (National Nursing Education Database) survey documented an 18-percent increase in the number of qualified (student) applications turned away from nursing programs due to the disheartening shortage of nurse educators.”

The league unveiled the Certified Nurse Educator program in 2005, with 174 passing the examination that first year an 85 percent pass rate representing 45 states and the District of Columbia. As of July 31, 2007, 683 nurse educators have earned the Certified Nurse Educator credential, with an overall pass rate of 84 percent.

Dedicated to excellence in nursing education, the National League for Nursing is the premier organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education, offering faculty development, networking opportunities, testing and assessment, nursing research grants, and public policy initiatives to its 21,000 individual and 1,100 institutional members.

Penn College offers bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and certificates in nursing.

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