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Journal of Nursing Administration:
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e3182433643
Departments: Book Review

Pathways to a Nursing Education Career: Educating the Next Generation of Nurses by Judith A. Halstead and Betsy Frank

Conway-Morana, Patricia L. MAd, RN, C, NEA-BC, CENP, CPHQ, FACHE; Gormley, Denise K. PhD, RN; Jones, Rebecca A. PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CENP; Meadows, Mary Theresa MS, MBA, RN; Parsons, Mickey L. PhD, RN, FAAN; Reineck, Carol A. PhD, RN, FAAN, CENP, NEA-BC; Vlasses, Frances R. PhD, RN, NEA-BC; Watson, Carol A. PhD, RN, CENP, FAAN; Yoder-Wise, Patricia S. EdD, RN, NEA-BC, ANEF, FAAN

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Author Information

Author Affiliations: Consultant (Ms Conway-Morana), Fairfax, Virginia; Assistant Professor (Dr Gormley), University of Cincinnati, Ohio; National Director of Nursing (Dr Jones), Career Education Corporation, Hoffman Estates, Illinois; Director, Professional Practice (Ms Meadows), AONE, Chicago, Illinois; Professor (Drs Parsons and Reineck), University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio; Professor (Dr Vlasses), Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois; Professor (Dr Watson), University of Iowa College of Nursing, Iowa City; President (Dr Yoder-Wise), The Wise Group, Lubbock, Texas.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Ms Meadows, AONE, 155 North Wacker Dr, Suite 400, Chicago, IL 60606 (;

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This book review of Pathways to a Nursing Education Career: Educating the Next Generation of Nurses by Judith A. Halstead and Betsy Frank details the authors’ perspectives and guidance for nurse leaders considering a career path change to nursing education. The review is authored by members of the American Organization of Nurse Executives Council on Graduate Education in Administration in Nursing Task Force.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. Marcel Proust1

In response to the current acute nursing faculty shortage and recommendations of the Institute of Medicine Report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,2 there has been a positive shift involving nurse leaders taking a more active role in nursing education. The book Pathways to a Nursing Education Career: Educating the Next Generation of Nurses3 is a resource for nurse leaders who have transitioned or are considering a transition from the practice environment to academia. The authors provide a guide and support for role development in an academic setting. The book answers many of the questions that nurse leaders have articulated related to a career transition toward education: What are the differences and employment advantages/disadvantages of the various types of schools? How are nursing academic programs accredited? What are the organizational and governing structures in academia? What credentials are needed to teach in different types of nursing programs and how are these credentials obtained? What are the levels of teaching appointments, including adjunct faculty, clinical instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, professor roles? What is tenure and how is it obtained? What are the differences between a curriculum vitae, a dossier, and a resume? How much research is expected in an academic role and will I be expected to obtain grants to fund my research? What are publishing expectations? What are service expectations? How will my lifestyle change, including compensation, work schedules, and other aspects? What resources are available in the development of a teaching program? What is it like working with various types of students such as generic, graduate, and second career? How do I get started with a career change in this direction? Although the answers to many of these questions are institution specific, general guidelines are addressed in the book.

The authors guide the beginning academic by using chapter headings to classify key components identified as necessary for successful transition, including issues and trends, assuming the faculty role, finding the perfect fit, beginning your career, developing in the role of teacher, developing your role as scholar, determining your service commitment, and planning your career trajectory. The authors use case studies, questions for reflection, and opportunities for further consideration to provide application examples and reflective questions for the reader.

The chapter addressing the nursing faculty role, “Issues and Trends of the Nursing Faculty Role,” familiarizes the reader with internal and external factors and issues impacting the performance of the nurse faculty role. While nurse faculty shortage, complexity of healthcare, the application of technology in practice and education, and the increasing need for collaboration and partnerships are familiar to those in practice settings, the authors invite the reader to consider these topics from the vantage point of an educator. Trends in curriculum development, diversity in learning styles, new teaching/learning environments, intellectual capital, public scrutiny, and university governance are issues for faculty who are highly innovative and who act with courage, leadership, creativity, flexibility, and in partnership. According to the authors, nurse leaders who are seeking a future in academia should have developed these personal traits.

The chapter on assuming the faculty role contrasts the academic environment with practice in terms of hours and activities, faculty governance, and organizational processes. The authors identify faculty role expectations including teaching, service, scholarship, and practice with multidimensional aspects, fluid deadlines, and a nonimmediate reward system if the role is in a tenure track system. The chapter highlights the National League for Nursing (NLN) 8 core competencies of the nurse educator.4 A discussion of the competencies includes methods to facilitate student learning, ways to develop and socialize learners, how to assess and evaluate learning, and how to develop and evaluate curriculum and program outcomes. Strategies for developing skills to assess and evaluate student learning and techniques for becoming a change agent complete the chapter.

The chapter on determining institutional fit and finding the perfect faculty position focuses on personal and organizational fit, defined as choosing the right institution based upon one’s own career goals. Guidance for the job search process, including identifying potential positions; use of the Internet to learn about the mission, vision, and goals of various schools; and salary information, is offered. Tables and examples of applications, cover letters, curriculum vitae preparation, interviewing, and follow-up are included. Sample interview questions, frequently asked by a search committee, and questions an applicant would want to ask during an interview are included. Tips and information for potential international applicants are summarized.

The chapter focusing on initiating your faculty career introduces the tripartite faculty role involving teaching, scholarship, and service activities. The role of teaching is discussed, including the differences in didactic and clinical teaching expectations and suggested information to develop a course. The chapter highlights how each college/university develops unique requirements for scholarly activity and how service activities are defined. Other chapter topics include the importance of understanding the institution/school mission, policies and procedures that govern the work environment, and expectations of the faculty. The authors include the topics of college governance, working in faculty teams, understanding workload, and balancing the academic work requirements of a new faculty member.

In the chapter “Developing in the Role of Teacher,” the authors differentiate clinical, nontenure tracks from tenure track positions. They also describe the differences between the various academic settings based on institutional mission, that is, teaching or research. Factors used to determine workload are explained, including the setting and the number and types of students. Basic information is provided about faculty-student relationship, including how to initiate and establish this communication, tips for handling incivility in the classroom, things to know about academic advising, and response to academic dishonesty concerns. Three federal laws—Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act,5 Americans With Disabilities Act,6 and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act7—are explained in relationship to the rights of students regarding academic and health-related information and accommodation for documented disabilities. The chapter concludes with information about setting goals that facilitate growth and development as a teacher and identifies resources (institutional, journals, and books; workshops and conferences; professional organizations; and electronic) that are available to help in meeting those goals.

In the chapter “Developing Your Identity as a Scholar,” the authors further explore the NLN competency of scholarship introduced earlier in the book. The authors define the journey of becoming a scholar, explain Boyer’s model of scholarship,8 describe how institutional settings influence scholarship, and cover strategies and resources to enhance writing and presentation skills and how to solicit the valuable support of a mentor.

In the chapter “Determining Your Service Commitment,” the service element of a faculty role is discussed. The authors identify the variability of service in different academic institutions and suggest timelines for involvement at various levels, including professional service, faculty practice, and community service. The authors relate that creating a synergy among the activities maximizes any singular contribution.

In the chapter “Planning Your Career Trajectory,” the authors explore the various types of academic appointments including the traditional tenure track and alternative academic pathways. The authors not only include suggested milestones that must be achieved during the tenure process but also stress the process for advancement as institution specific. Strategies for preparing a dossier for tenure consideration, performance evaluation, promotion consideration, and professional development are highlighted and supporting documents are identified. In planning the career trajectory, the authors emphasize networking, creating and attaining short- and long-term goals, pursuing postdoctoral education, grant writing, and having a network of mentors to provide guidance supporting teaching skills, research skills, publication skills, and involvement in professional organizations.

The book concludes with stories of the authors’ journeys to careers in nursing education while reflecting on their career goals, education paths, and accomplishments. The appendix contains resources including contact information for the national organizations for higher education and nursing education, regional nursing research societies, journals and other publications that appear in print and online, suggested books, and common list serves.

The book Pathways to a Nursing Education Career: Educating the Next Generation of Nurses is an easy-to-read comprehensive introduction to the competencies and role of the new faculty member. The book would be beneficial for a nurse who is considering a career change from practice to academia. Principles of teaching are not covered in the book, as there are other resources about how to be a teacher. The book would have been stronger if the large differences between research-intensive universities and teaching-intensive schools of nursing were discussed further and the differences in clinical and tenure track positions were amplified. The book gives a good overview of the 3 faculty work role responsibilities and where to focus as a beginning faculty member. Faculty members often enter these roles without realizing fully the importance of scholarship in their work, regardless of program or faculty role, rank, or track. The authors reinforce the need for assuming a scholarship role. Pointed questions in the book stimulate reflection on identified topics. Because each seasoned educator has a personal story to tell related to the transition to a career in education, the thought-provoking case studies in this book demonstrate that there is no single path to an academic career. In summary, this book is a good beginning to assist in exploring a career transition from practice to academia.

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1. Proust M. In Search of Lost Time. Moncrieff CKS, Kilmartin T, trans. New York, NY: Modern Library; 2003.

2. Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on the Future of Nursing, Institute of Medicine. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2011.

3. Halstead JA, Frank B. Pathways to a Nursing Education Career. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company; 2011.

4. National League for Nursing. Core Competencies of Nurse Educators With Task Statements. Available at Accessed October 16, 2011.

5. Department of Education. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Fed Regist. 2004; 69 (77): 21670–21671.

6. Department of Justice. Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended. Available at Accessed October 16, 2011.

7. US Department of Health and Human Services. Health information privacy. The privacy rule. Available at Accessed October 16, 2011.

8. Boyer E. Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. Princeton, NJ: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; 1990.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.