Changing roles of nurse educators employed in acute and chronic care settings : the impact of professional and statutory mandates in Ontario at four sites of one hospital corporation /
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The role of the hospital-employed nurse educator is evolving. Factors influencing this change include the introduction of standards for nurse educators by the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO), a change in the way nurses are educated, the emergence of nursing as a profession, and hospital restructuring as a result of budgetary constraints. Two of these influencing factors: the introduction of the updated Standards of Practice for Registered Nurses and Registered Practical Nurses (1996) and hospital restructuring occurred over the last 7 years at several hospitals in southern Ontario. Current literature as well as the Standards of Practice (1996) were utilized to examine the current roles and responsibilities of nurse educators and subsequently develop a questionnaire to study the impact of these influencing factors on the role of the nurse educator. This questionnaire was piloted and revised before its distribution at 4 hospitals in southern Ontario. Twenty-five of the 41 surveys (61%) distributed were returned for analysis. The data reflected that the Standards of Practice had a positive influence on the role of the nurse educator, while hospital restructuring had a negative impact. In addition, many of the roles and responsibilities identified in the literature were indeed part of the current role of nurse educators, as well as several responsibilities not captured in the literature. The predictions for the future of this role in its current state were not positive given the financial status of the health care system as well as the lack of clarity for the role and the current level ofjob satisfaction among practicing nurse educators. However, a list of recommendations were generated which, if implemented, could add clarity to the role and improve job satisfaction. This could enhance the retention of current nurse educators and the possibility of recruiting competent nurse educators to the role in the future.