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Keywords:

  • nurse lecturer;
  • clinical role;
  • action research;
  • health care;
  • practitioner;
  • collaboration;
  • nursing;
  • clinical education

Collaborating with practitioners in teaching and research: a model for developing the role of the nurse lecturer in practice areas

The integration of nurse education with higher education in the United Kingdom, has highlighted an uncertainty over the clinical role of nurse lecturers. Although benefits have been identified from lecturers maintaining strong links with clinical practice, the evidence suggests that nurse lecturer participation in practice areas is limited. This paper reports a strategy for developing the clinical role of the nurse lecturer through collaborating with practitioners in teaching and research. An action research project designed to implement and evaluate a teaching programme for pre-registration nursing students was developed. The research aimed to evaluate the programme and identify the benefits for students, practitioners and the nurse lecturer in collaborating in teaching on the programme. Ethical approval was granted from the local research ethics committee. Data were collected in three ways: questionnaires to 17 students; focused interviews with nine practitioners; and analysis of the reflective diary kept by the lecturer. Findings identified the success of the teaching programme and also revealed substantial benefits for students, practitioners and the lecturer. Selected findings are used to demonstrate how the liaison, teaching, clinical practice and research elements of the nurse lecturer’s clinical role could be developed. The project was small scale and grounded within a specific context and thus may not be applicable to other settings. However, it is suggested that collaboration between nurse educationalists and practitioners in this way offers a potential model for developing the clinical role of the nurse lecturer.