Why Become a Certified Nurse Educator?
Michelle L. Edmonds , PhD, ARNP-BC, CEN, CNE
Director of Graduate Nursing Programs at Jacksonville University School of Nursing
In April 2009, the National League for Nursing (NLN) received authorization to grant certification to nurse educators. Its mission is to “recognize excellence in the advanced specialty role of the academic nurse educator.” One of the goals of the CNE as stated by the NLN is to “recognize the academic nurse educator's specialized knowledge, skills, and abilities and excellence in practice.”
The eligibility criteria to become a certified nurse educator (CNE) is to possess either a Master’s or Doctoral degree in Nursing, registered nurse license, and have functioned in the full-time faculty role for at least two of the last five years. The process to attain certification as a nurse educator is to successfully pass a rigorous, standardized exam covering a variety of topics including, but not limited to, the following:
- Educational philosophies and learning theories
- Student learning styles
- Teaching strategies including technology, clinical experiences and simulation that are specific to nursing
- The Nurse Educator as role model, change agent and leader
- Assessment of the teacher and the learner
- Curriculum design
- Scholarship in nursing education
- Responsibilities of nursing faculty in academia
I consider myself a good test-taker but would say that this was one of the most challenging tests I have ever taken, or at least in a long time. The current pass rate of the CNE exam is approximately 84%.
I made it a goal to achieve this professional certification as a nurse educator after I had been teaching seven years. I entered nursing education as a practitioner, rather than an academician. This has its pros and cons, but I really felt at a disadvantage not having the formal curriculum of an MSN Education program. I believed that I had learned so much from my colleagues and mentors over the years that I wanted to set a goal to become recognized on a national and international level as a CNE.
Once you are able to designate CNE in your credentials, people know what that means. I have had people talk to me at conferences and ask me about the process and would I recommend that they pursue certification. It makes me stand out as a professional and shows that I went above and beyond to obtain a voluntary certification in my area of expertise. Obtaining the CNE, like other certifications, demonstrates to current or potential employers that you have a commitment to the profession of nursing and your particular specialty that sets you apart from your peers. For me, this is a certification that I proudly display in my Curriculum Vitae and an important addition to my portfolio for tenure and promotion in the university setting.
Once I obtained my CNE, the learning did not stop. The NLN outlines a process for recertification every five years that includes maintaining competence in the role of a nurse educator through continuing education credits or recertifying by sitting for the CNE exam again. Of course, nursing education is my passion and profession, so it is not difficult to stay updated on current topics.
If I had it to do all over again, I would not change a thing. I am proud to have the distinct honor of being a CNE and hang my certificate in my office for all to see!