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From a Spark of Innovation to Building the Science of Nursing Education

Caputi, Linda J.; Patterson, Barbara J.

doi: 10.1097/01.NEP.0000000000000090
DEPARTMENTS: Guest Editorial

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Welcome to a special issue of Nursing Education Perspectives (NEP). NEP is the premiere journal for nursing education, providing a steady stream of articles to enhance the work of all nurse educators and advance the science of nursing education. The journal represents the NLN core value of excellence. For the NLN, a culture of excellence “reflect[s] a commitment to continuous growth, improvement, and understanding…where transformation is embraced, and the status quo and mediocrity are not tolerated.”

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With zest for continuous growth and recognition of the importance of creating a culture of transformation, the NLN Board of Governors, approximately six years ago, made the deliberate decision to provide a strong foundation on which nurse educators can build their practice through the publication of robust, multisite research studies. Under the guidance and dedication of editor Dr. Joyce Fitzpatrick, NEP now stands as a stellar research publication.

When making the decision to focus the journal primarily on research, the Board of Governors was careful to recognize the important work of nurse educators who contribute in other ways to nursing education and its body of knowledge. Therefore, the decision was made to continue to publish the creative, innovative works of nurse educators in a department titled the Innovation Center. Single-site, pilot, or small-sample-size research studies would be published in a department titled Research Briefs. These two departments disseminate important work that can be replicated by nurse educators in their teaching practices, while sparking creative ideas and leading to further investigation. These two departments often represent seminal ideas that inspire nursing education scholars to build and develop robust research studies.

To showcase the Innovation Center and Research Briefs, this issue presents a sampling of the multitude of works from a myriad of nurse educators and researchers. The articles in this issue illuminate the vast tapestry of contemporary issues in nursing education and support another of the NLN's core values: Diversity. A glance at the table of contents reveals a diverse array of Innovation Center articles focused on undergraduate-level and graduate-level education, classroom activities, simulation laboratory learning strategies, clinical education, and suggestions for using new types of technology. The Research Briefs examine new areas that advance the use of simulation; evaluation, assessment, and instrumentation; and effective educational practices. The empirical evidence provided by these studies contributes substantially to theory and the measurement of nursing education concepts, setting the stage for full studies.

We strongly encourage all nurse educators to share their innovative ideas and research, no matter the starting point. Be sure to access the resources available through the NLN website. Advancing the NLN’s goal of taking the “lead in the conduct of research that informs and promotes evidence-based teaching,” the NLN offers grants to support education research and, with the new 2016-2019 Research Priorities, continues to support researchers who study the science of nursing education. The new priorities identify areas of focus for your research endeavors to connect the science of nursing education with the science of learning and guide future programs of research in nursing education (

Do not allow anxiety about writing to be a hindrance to dissemination. The NLN’s Scholarly Writing Retreat provides a supportive environment to tackle the challenge of putting one’s ideas on paper. It is time to submit your application for the June 2017 retreat (

The trajectory from innovative idea to research brief to full research study provides nurse educators a framework to think about and examine their educational practices and scholarly work. Whether one is a doctoral student beginning to explore research and pedagogical theory, a midcareer nurse educator interested in shifting to a focus on educational research, or the experienced researcher hoping to impact nursing education policy, remember: How nurse educators teach and how students learn is the foundation of everyone’s daily teaching practice.

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