One of the rate limiting factors of educating nursing students is having enough clinically active nurses who are certified to meet the various nursing programs’ accreditation requirements. Nursing students are required to spend time with a qualified nursing educator in order to meet their graduation requirements. These clinically active nurses are typically employed by a healthcare facility and already very busy with caring for patients. It takes a highly motivated and skilled nurse to be able to care for patients and appropriately teach nursing students at the same time.
Without enough nurse educators to teach the increasing number of nurses that are needed, the health of North Carolina residents is at stake. Northwest AHEC has been collaborating for 16 years with key partners, Novant Health, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist and our local Forsyth County based nursing academic programs at Forsyth Technical Community College and Winston-Salem State University’s School of Health Sciences’ Nursing Program. Together we have educated 420 active nurses to potentially serve as Clinical Teaching Associates to precept nursing students.
The hospitals support the nurses who are interested with flexible scheduling. The faculty at the nursing programs, Novant Health, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, and Northwest AHEC provide the educational content. Northwest AHEC-Wake Forest School of Medicine provides the leadership, coordination and payment of direct expenses. Once a clinically active nurse is educated, the nurse may precept nursing students from both programs.
The most recent Clinical Teaching Associate (CTA) Workshop was held February 22 - 24, 2022 via Live Webinar. This marked the 19th workshop NWAHEC has conducted since 2005. This workforce development course is designed to develop the skills of experienced nurses so they may serve in the role of a clinical teaching associate. This partnership serves as a viable strategy to provide professional development to experienced registered nurses. The CTA Course is approved for 45 Nursing Contact Hours, and also meets the North Carolina Board of Nursing Teaching/Learning requirement.
The goal is to help alleviate the nursing faculty shortage at two local Schools of Nursing through education and clinical mentoring of hospital staff nurses. During the workshop held in February we educated five future adjunct faculty for FTCC and four for WSSU.
Following the classroom days, students are assigned to three clinical days where they receive mentoring from a FTCC or WSSU faculty member on the hospital clinical unit. After completion of all classroom days and clinical days, the students are then eligible to function in the role of clinical adjunct faculty at FTCC or WSSU.
Some of the workshop agenda topics included socialization to the CTA role, teaching/learning theory, clinical reasoning, legal issues, evidence-based practice, teaching/learning theory, and simulation as a learning strategy.
“My journey as a CTA has been immeasurable. My students are my “why”. I have been challenged to enhance my knowledge of the nurse educator role and have consistently worked towards translating the knowledge into my daily practices. In addition, becoming a CTA has presented me with an immense exposure to professional opportunities. I obtained a Master’s Degree in Nursing Education, accepted my dream job, and continue to build lifelong mentor and mentee relationships.”
- Tamika Moore, MSN, RN
Previous CTA Workshop Attendee, and now Faculty Member for Workshop
Alana Dodson, Ellen Hohf and Mona Brown Ketner – Nurse Educators at NW AHEC – coordinated the program and served as faculty. Collaboration partners also provided faculty members.
There are plans for another Northwest AHEC CTA Workshop for Fall of 2022. There is also interest in expanding this program to be disseminated across the state of NC to assist other regions, hospitals and academic nursing programs.