Nurse Faculty Preparation: Recommendations for the Future
It is time for nursing education to recognize that a research doctorate without coursework preparing the graduate to function in academic environments is a real disservice to the student. As the DNP comes of age, it is important to include content that will prepare the graduate to be effective in teaching and evaluation as well as research and clinical practice. Curricula currently available online seldom include nursing education courses. When they are available, it is often almost as an afterthought, an elective that can be taken when other coursework is reduced or less demanding.
PhD graduates who seek employment in institutions of higher learning should be required to complete basic coursework to prepare them for teaching and evaluating baccalaureate and master's degree students. NPs who are to participate in classroom and clinical teaching need similar preparation, which could be delivered in a series of online modules. This is just the beginning, as experienced mentors are needed to guide them in applying that knowledge as well.
When considering doctoral education, potential students who plan to pursue a teaching career or to teach and conduct research should review curricula to see whether they provide opportunities for didactic and practicum experiences. The minimum should include courses in curriculum, evaluation, and teaching strategies (approximately 9 hours of coursework). The addition of a residency or practicum with the availability of a master teacher would be desirable. Most PhD and some DNP programs already have these courses or they may be added as electives.
Our students deserve high-quality instruction that is based on sound educational principles, carefully crafted curricula, and valid measurement and evaluation. This preparation is essential rather than optional for potential faculty members.