Rappahannock Community College is pleased to announce that several members of its nursing faculty earned the designation of Certified Nurse Educator (CNE). In order to gain this standing, they were required to meet strict eligibility criteria, as well as successfully completing a rigorous certification examination developed and administered by the National League for Nursing (NLN).
Associate professor Sara Headley and assistant professor Cheryl Riley are the latest to gain this credential. They join associate professor Carrie Lewis, who earned her CNE in the spring of this year, and the head of RCC’s nursing programs, Ellen Koehler — a CNE of four years’ experience — to bring the total number at the college who have attained this level of excellence to four.
“This is an incredible accomplishment for a group of talented nursing educators,” says Charles Smith, RCC’s dean of health sciences. “Our nursing programs enjoy a distinction of national presence unknown by most of our sister colleges.”
“We strive to provide excellent educational opportunities to our students,” says Headley, “and this certification ensured that our teaching methods were grounded in evidenced-based and effective pedagogy methods. The nursing students in our service region deserve the best instruction possible regardless of location or resources.”
With nearly half of the United States’ nursing faculty expected to retire within the next decade — and nearly three-quarters within 15 years — replacing these dedicated individuals is a matter of grave concern. The NLN’s Academic Nurse Educator Certification program has ensured that more than 4,000 CNEs, a majority of whom hold master’s degrees while the remainder hold doctorates, are already available to fill these positions. Many academic nursing programs in colleges and university settings recognize the importance of the certification and encourage all eligible nursing faculty to become certified.
“The [CNE] program has conferred new visibility and stature upon the academic nursing community that is long overdue,” said Dr. Beverly Malone, CEO of the National League for Nursing. “Through the certification program, we have made clear to the ranks of higher education that the role of nurse educator is an advanced professional practice discipline with a defined practice setting and demonstrable standards of excellence.”
“I chose to become certified as a nursing educator back before I ever imagined being a program head,” states Ellen Koehler. “I wanted to test my level of expertise in the field of education. My master’s degree specialty was in education, and I was verifying in my own mind that I was prepared to continue in the role of educator. I secured my CNE one month before coming to RCC, and I feel that this certification opened the door for me in my current position.”
“I value certification in any discipline and enjoy putting the extra initials behind my signature,” says Koehler.“I am extremely proud to belong to a group of faculty that thinks as I do about this important marker of excellence.”