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NSN719 Assessment Task 2 Critique of the contemporary health educator role

24 Sep 2020 292 Views Sarah

 NSN719 Assessment Task 2

Critique of the contemporary health educator role


The paper is the critical analysis of varied leadership theories and concepts that model the qualities and skills of a quality nurse leader. The paper is based on the presentation and reflection over the role of the educator in the contemporary healthcare environments with the support of evidence based literature. This is being presented with the examination of a case in the intensive care unit (ICU) department. This case analysis with literature support displays the attributes and practices that characterise the effective teaching leadership. This paper is integrating the relevant educational concepts and educator skills for supporting the critique of learning interaction and teaching.  

The skilled nurses are most essential to have highly functional healthcare systems and the nurse educators are the true driving forces present behind the training and confidence development of the skilled nursing professionals (Adelman-Mullally et al., 2013). The nurse educators are the registered nurses having the combination of academic expertise and clinical expertise in training the students in the retired nursing skills in the new environment of profession post gradation or during internship (Bleich, 2016). The nurse educators also determine the educational curriculum and educational standards and are at the forefront of preparing the students in having smooth and successful transition out from their academia o professional life. It is to empower the new nurses to work hard and thrive into the nursing profession and enhance the systems upholding the nurse education (Adelman-Mullally et al., 2013).

The true work of a teacher leader in the nursing field is usually undefined, and unsupported, and certainly at time undervalued and unrecognized. This has limited the potential to have positive impacts (Brennan & Olson, 2018). The teacher leadership is much more than the general outside-the-classroom roles like the roles of the nursing committee member, the ICU team leader, the intensive care nursing curriculum developer, and association leader. These roles have been usually narrowly and inflexible (Vatansever & Akansel, 2016). The nurse educators are in daily contact with students and have the best position for making critical decisions regarding the issues associated with teaching and learning at the same time. The nurse educators can best implement the alterations in the continuous and comprehensive way (Willey & Lancaster, 2017).

The analysis of the case in ICU department clearly explained that the teaching roles of the nurse managers and senior nurses needs to be expanded to serve the ongoing need of attracting and retaining qualified nurse teachers for the career-long, instead of temporary nursing service (Bleich, 2016). As per Coventry & Russell (2017), there are prerequisites for the successful teacher leadership that are the clarity of definition of purpose, responsibilities and roles; supportive conditions inclusive of collective responsibility, relational trust, degree of autonomy, commitment to continuous enhancement, and recognition and celebrations; right dispositions inclusive of a deep commitment towards consistent and efficient nurse student learning, confidence, open-mindedness and humility, flexibility, courage and willingness for taking risks, and decisiveness with passion for continuous learning; and consistent impact assessment (Urden, Stacy & Lough, 2017). Leadership is defined as the skill that is absolutely essential in the nursing professional practice. This capability enables the nurses to influence the staff members in providing care truly focused on the healthcare needs of the consumers and their family members (Bleich, 2016). Ruhs, White & Schmitt (2017) suggests that it is essential to invest into the process of leadership formation and this activity needs to be integrated into the Nursing Curriculum, specialisation in intensive care unit nursing.

The leadership in education plays an integral role in the creation of a positive learning culture. This also influences the student learning and the achievements. The effective teaching leadership is increasingly seen as the main aspect of far-reaching educational transformational (Bleich, 2016). The right leadership approach helps the education to head turn the average student into a successful student. The transformational leadership theory is most applicable in the analysed case in the ICU department. The transformational nurse educator leader is strong in resulting in positive change on the new graduate nurse or nurse intern student learning (Gazza, 2019). They find it complex to adjust in the new and highly hectic working environment and feel distracted to work enthusiastically and ethically in all situations at times. Thus, the true transformational nurse educator can develop these followers into new leaders. The ICU nurse leader was successful in improving the morale and performance of the interns and new graduate nurses within a month’s time with this leadership quality (Brennan & Olson, 2018). Gazza (2019) suggests that this leader takes the collaborative approach and empowers the teaching teams and environment for effective decision making procedures and to enable a collective goal-setting. This theory states that such leader connects the identity and mission of the organisation with every person’s or staff member’s identity (Vatansever & Akansel, 2016). This role model representation by an educator inspires the students, other educators and other healthcare stakeholders equally. With the role modelling, such leaders develop the culture of improvement and innovation along with a shared sense of purpose (Bleich, 2016). This is defined as the process of setting the solid foundations for teacher and student growth and success at the same time. This educational leader instils loyalty, admiration, trust and respect that inspires teacher motivation, performance and morale. The ICU nurse leader was successful in giving the interns to become able to energise themselves and drive the success (Gazza, 2019)

The instructional leadership theory states that effective student and intern management in the healthcare field generally is attained from the engagement of instructional procedures. The teachers who presents instructional learning environment presents outperforming students (Brennan & Olson, 2018). This style of leadership in coaching procedures focuses on the student learning results with the improvement of the teaching quality. In the case also, the nurse leader in the ICU department believes that continuous professional development is a lifelong procedure (Urden et al., 2017). This educator planned the way she wanted the new interns and graduate nurses to be more involved in the nursing tasks and then used to coordinate with them to define the procedures and evaluated their performance on weekly basis (Comack, 2012). The ICU nurse leader used to appreciate the interns on their achievements in front of entire team and also used to give them some relief in their duties for a small time period to make them feel elated and involved. This leadership quality also enhances as the teacher evaluates one’s performance also on timely basis (Willey & Lancaster, 2017). The same has been seen in the case where the nurse leader used to take feedback about her performance and behaviour from the interns and new graduate nurses after every two days verbally and used to store the feedback in her manual file. This helped her in advancing her skills and mentoring abilities (Prather, 2018).    

It is necessary to know why the nursing educational leadership matters. It is the bedrock for great nursing environment and great nursing professionals and their development. The evidence suggests that the efficacious leadership is necessary for the creation of the learning environment wherein all nursing students and interns have the access for high quality education and learning support (Brennan & Olson, 2018). This leadership quality in the ICU nurse leader helped in developing motivation and potential ability in the interns to develop confidence and strength to work hard and balance their mental abilities while working in the ICU department (Comack, 2012).

The ICU nurses certainly newly graduate nurses find this work to be overloaded, having shortage of incentives for developing permanent professionalism, and lack of autonomy that interferes negatively into the process of exercising leadership (Coventry & Russell, 2017). The participation of the nurse teachers and administrators can assist in strengthening the leadership as it associates with the professional relationships competency (Vatansever & Akansel, 2016). If the leadership is stimulated during the teaching-learning procedure of the nursing students in ICU field can contribute towards obtaining professionals with the key characteristics of reflective, politicized, able to potentiate care given to the healthcare service users, and critical thinking with ability to take decisions for conflict resolution (Gazza, 2019). It is higher importance to develop leaders in nursing equally important to academic training. It is certainly because one major role that has really not been linked with the professional health educators is the core knowledge and role of leadership (Willey & Lancaster, 2017). There is a growing demand and growing training for the public health workforce, and this is the reason that the health educators have been called over for assuming the leadership roles in several private and public sectors properly dedicated to the concepts of health education and promotion services (Ruhs et al., 2017).

The modern nurse educator has several unique attributes. The nurse educators are adaptable. The leading nurse educators are the ones who learn how it is best to adapt and make response to the continuous changes within the broader context (Prather, 2018). The educator’s needs to have a sound understanding of their own self with better understanding of skill required for further developing for becoming a better leader. The ICU nurse leaders have to be efficient in constantly gauging the clinical situation and take a step ahead to support new graduate nurses in the ICU to become proficient with time. The nurse educator in this case also pushed the boundaries (Adelman-Mullally et al., 2013). It is well-described by Herrman (2019) that the successful leaders and the clinical nurse educators usually push their role boundaries. In the contemporary era, it is often accepted that the formal recognition of ability and credibility is necessary for progressing better via the leadership roles. The most imperative aspect is to determine what the individual demonstrates and attains once get into the leadership role (Vatansever & Akansel, 2016). The ICU nurse leader was spending majority of her time outside the traditional role states. This demands passion and vision, inspiration, imagination, courage, innovation, experimentation and courage. The nurse leader efficiently developed motivation in the new graduate nurses and encouraged them to learn more and participate more (Willey & Lancaster, 2017).

The educator in the contemporary healthcare environment is highly challenging as there is a large influx of the new interns and inexperienced nursing talents that will eventually comprise the nursing outcomes (Comack, 2012). Such circumstances make up the innovative cultivation of the new nurse leaders on vital note. This has resulted in several nursing advocates to have the formation of alliances for developing the new leaders. To foster the new talent, the nurse educator in the contemporary environment has to be emotionally intelligent (Coventry & Russell, 2017). The nurse leader works closely with the interns for helping them in developing the emotional intelligence. This support assists the peers in coping with the stressors presenting during the routine challenges. The ICU nurse leader helps the interns in the management of these challenges and several other counterproductive influences that lead to emotional exhaustion as well as the poor team collaboration (Prather, 2018). Another quality of model healthcare educator is integrity of oneself and others. The personal integrity helps the nurse practitioners to make accurate choices and effective and safe caring decisions intrinsically and cultivates the same skills in the interns and new graduate nurses (Urden et al., 2017). Critical thinking is the forefront quality where the nurse leader guides the unpolished practitioners while sing his skill for the development of their abilities in effective decision-making on the basis of difficult array of factors (Ruhs et al., 2017). The contemporary healthcare environment is more focused on involving the multidisciplinary collaboration. This growing trend of the autonomy in terms of all nurses demands critical thinking to be the valuable professional skill (Gazza, 2019).

The nurse leader in the ICU also presented effective communication skill as more collaboration was required. In order to facilitate collaboration, the nurse leader arranged the interns for attending the rounds while also focused on engaging with several medical professionals like senior executives, support staff, and primary care providers (Herrman, 2019). This was necessary to assure that the interns know how and with whom they have to work collaboratively for best results for the critically ill patients. Another contemporary quality is the dedication to excellence (Vatansever & Akansel, 2016). The nurse leader has to be fully committed towards their purpose and passion and must work to exemplify this via their perseverance to assure best and safe caregiving setting. For fostering this trait in the interns, the nurse leader in the ICU decided to assess their performances on weekly basis and then on every two months time (Prather, 2018).

The ICU leader positively presented the example of a contemporary educator role with the quality of professional socialization (Vatansever & Akansel, 2016). The nurse leader focused on the development of how interns engaged with the ICU patient post their triage process. The leader was effective in identifying opportunities for the development of newer organisational leaders (Adelman-Mullally et al., 2013). The modern educator in the healthcare environment is passionate and dynamic in influencing the interns and respecting and trusting their duties. The leader taught the two way communication technique to interns for better knowledge and feeling sharing and expression. This helped the leader to understand the intern’s circumstances and gain respect from others (Gazza, 2019). Herrman (2019) reports that mentorship is highly demanding in the healthcare educators in the modern world. It is essential to empower and motivate the new graduate nurses and interns equally and guide them to understand their roles and adapt efficiently to cultivate the environment of safe culture for all and continual learning.


It is quite clear with evidence support that nursing professionalism is dynamic that needs confident and competent leadership. The interns specifically in this related case in the ICU department were low in confidence and inexperienced in this environment and quite confused about their roles. The nurse leader presented herself as a true and quality educator and liaised well with them and cultivated openness and gave them opportunities to show their skills with autonomy and learn more and lead more.

Appendix: Health workplace description

The workplace where the event occurred is the intensive care unit (ICU) for the adult patients. This is a critical care environment that demands more efforts from the nursing staff than in other departments.

The learners were the new graduate nurses and specifically interns including me as a newly graduate nurse. The learners were not able to adjust into the hectic and emotionally affecting nursing responsibilities in caring highly ill patients and their family members. They felt overloaded with the duties and emotions and this impacted their team work skills, communication skills and their involvement for improved patient outcomes. They were feeling the burnout and not fully responsive. This resulted in some clinical errors. The specialist nurse in the ICU department was truly supported and presented the skills and attributes of an effective nurse educator leader. The specialist nurse even being highly busy in overcoming the shortage of nursing staff issue and doing multiple duties in the ICU, identified this issue and showed her good leadership skills to manage the new nurses and interns with good examples.

The learning interaction between the ICU nurse educator/specialist and the interns was quite positive and verbally strong. The interns improved in making better alignment with the new working area and presented good leadership skills.

The workplace cultural norms mandate the nurse specialist to work hard with the interns and new graduate nurses collaboratively to make them fir into the new environment effectively. The specialist has to present the teacher-leadership roles inclusive of effective coaching and mentoring roles.


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