Qualitative Research Study of Implementation of Clinical Nurse Educator Competencies in Arizona

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Undergraduate nursing students are supervised in the clinical setting by adjunct faculty who often have little or no nursing pedagogy preparation. Despite the publication of Clinical Nurse Educator Competencies (CNEC) in 2018, a paucity of scholarly literature exists on their use in nursing education. The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand how nursing program leaders implemented CNEC in undergraduate nursing programs in Arizona and to what degree their implementation informed and improved the orientation and evaluation of clinical nurse educators. Transformational leadership theory supported by novice to expert nursing education leadership theory provided the study’s theoretical framework. Key research questions explored participant perceptions of how CNEC use informed orientation and evaluation processes for novice clinical nurse educators and how using CNEC improved those processes. The target population was undergraduate nursing education leaders serving in fully approved Arizona State Board of Nursing programs. Data instruments included an online questionnaire and individual follow-up recorded telephone interviews. Synthesized responses from the 16 participants were coded and analyzed utilizing Braun and Clarke’s thematic analysis model. A key finding of the study is CNEC use lacked intentionality and thoroughness. Study recommendations include collaboration among Arizona nursing program leaders to develop CNEC implementation guidelines with the aim of promoting student success and competent client care by graduate nurses. A replicated study including the perspective of clinical nurse educators is recommended. Keywords: clinical learning experience, clinical judgment, clinical nurse educator, clinical nursing pedagogy, competencies, evaluation, orientation, role transition, transformational leadership