Academia to Bedside: Part 4. The Nurse Educator

Academia to Bedside is a four-part series that focuses on the transition of nursing students from education to their professional role. Part 4 focuses on the role of the Nurse Educator. 

By: Sabrina Beroz

Nurse educators talk often about the gap between academia and practice and note that the gap is widening. So, let’s look at the meaning of gap. A gap is a void, a pause, or a break. Does this sound negative? It certainly does, with an undertone aimed at the character of the new nurse graduate. Now let’s do some reframing and describe the new nurse graduate as someone who needs a long transition into practice due to high acuity levels in patient care and the complexities of the workplace. Sound better? Here are three strategies for enhancing the transition of new graduates into practice.

Shift the Focus: It is imperative to shift the focus from the “way we were educated” to the needs of today’s nurses. In a qualitative study of clinical education practices, McNelis and colleagues (2014) found four problem areas in nursing student clinical experiences: missed opportunities; getting the work done as a measure of learning; failing to enact situation-specific pedagogies to foster clinical learning; and failing to engage as part of the team. Clinical faculty frequently missed opportunities to assist students in correlating theory with clinical data and linking concepts to care. And students rarely engaged with or participated in interprofessional teams. Changes in clinical priorities and the development of sophisticated simulations are necessary for preparing tomorrow’s nurses.

Collaboration Across Nurse Educators. Let’s look at the concepts and simulation experiences essential for safe and effective patient care and build bridges through collaboration. The first blog in the Academia to Bedside series discussed the development needs of new nurse graduates in tracking multiple responsibilities and the ability to prioritize, delegate, and anticipate risk (Berkow, Virksitis, Stewart, & Conway, 2009). In a round-table discussion with nurse educators, the following core concepts were identified: safety, interprofessional collaboration, communication, professionalism, delegation, and priorities of care (Maryland Clinical Simulation Resource Consortium, 2017). These competencies are best learned through application and practice.

Meeting the Challenge: Participants in the 2015 NLN Leadership Institute for Simulation Educators examined the use of multi-patient simulation as one way to assist nurse educators in preparing new nurse graduates for the workplace (Beroz, Sullivan, Kramasz, & Morgan, in press). A multi-patient simulation template was developed highlighting six learning objectives focused on clinical priorities central to patient safety.

  1. Utilize principles of prioritization and delegation in caring for multiple patients within the complex hospital environment.
  2. Demonstrate therapeutic communication to express respect, patience, and sensitivity to patients inclusive of plan of care.
  3. Collaborate with the interprofessional health care team to provide safe and effective patient-centered care.
  4. Use relevant assessment data to develop evidence-informed (evidence-based) plans of care for patients.
  5. Use clinical reasoning processes in modifying patient care decisions.
  6. Provide and receive constructive feedback to/from health care team members to improve performance (patient outcomes).

The multi-patient simulation template is now available on the NLN Simulation Innovation Resource Center website. A toolkit accompanies the template with an operational guide, a populated multi-patient scenario, and a bibliography. Additional resources are available on the SIRC site including a second template specific for developing interprofessional simulations – a much-needed area for new nurse graduates. We hope the four-part series “Academia to Bedside” has provided a glimpse into the history, technology, and student/educator perspective of transition into practice.


Berkow, S., Virksitis, K., Stewart, J., & Conway, L. (2009). Assessing new graduate nurse performance. Nurse Educator, 34, 17-22.

Beroz, S., Sullivan, N., Kramasz, V. & Morgan, P. (in press). The multi-patient simulation toolkit: Purpose, process, and pilot. Nursing Education Perspectives.

Maryland Clinical Simulation Resource Consortium (MCSRC) (2017, April). Ten core concepts for simulation-based education. Conducted at the SEL II Train the Trainer Program.

McNelis, A., Ironside, P., Ebright, P., Dreifuerst, K., Zvonar, S. & Conner, S. (2014). Learning nursing practice: A multisite, multimethod investigation of clinical education. Journal of  Nursing Regulation, 4, 30-35.

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