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We will be celebrating a very special anniversary in two weeks at the NLN Education Summit in Las Vegas. Ten years ago, 206 brave nurse educators took the pilot certified nurse educator exam just before attending our Education Summit in Baltimore. The 174 faculty who passed this paper-and-pencil test became the very first CNEs. These pioneers represented 45 states and the District of Columbia, taught in all types of nursing education programs (baccalaureate or higher degree, 50 percent; associate degree, 35 percent; diploma, 9 percent), and 48 percent held doctoral degrees.
Among them was the late Dr. Eileen Zungolo, former NLN president and chair of the Awards Committee, who regaled the crowd at that Summit’s President’s Reception with her humorous take on how challenging it was to take the certification exam at that stage in her career. Fortunately, Eileen passed the test and became a proud member of the very first cohort.
In her Member Update of January 17, 2006, my predecessor as NLN CEO, the late Dr. Ruth Corcoran, wrote: “I hope – and believe – that the recognition that comes from certification will inspire younger nurses to develop the skills needed to become superb educators.” Well, since the inception of the NLN CNE program, 5,071 nurse educators have passed the exam and interest continues to grow. Each year at the Summit we recognize our CNEs with a distinctive red canvas bag.
At this 10th anniversary, CNEs are invited to a reception in their honor where they will receive special commemorative gifts. NLN president Dr. Marsha Adams will be among the guests. She talks about what being a CNE means to her in her President’s Message in the July/August issue of Nursing Education Perspectives , “Certification for Nurse Educators: A Mark of Excellence Celebrating 10 Years.”
Speaking of the NLN’s research journal, a wonderful article was published two years ago by three educators who helped the NLN launch and grow the program: Drs. Jan Nick, Nancy Sharts-Hopko, and Debra Woodard Leners. “From Committee to Commission: The History of the NLN’s Academic Certified Nurse Educator Program” (Vol. 34, No. 5) tells about the careful efforts that led the NLN Board of Governors to approve the program and how academic certification developed “as an important step in the growth of nursing as a science.” Reread the article now or read it for the first time – it’s a great story.
You will not want to miss Session 7J at this year’s Summit, “Issues and Trends in Professional Certification: CNE Research,” where Dr. Larry Simmons, our able CNE director, will bring you up to date on current trends. Presenting with Larry will be NLN COO Dr. Linda Christensen, who will discuss her research on factors related to success on the CNE exam. Also during this session, NLN board member John Lundeen of Samford University will present his quantitative, descriptive correlational study, which examined first-time unsuccessful attempts on the exam from 2005 through September 2011. The results of Dr. Lundeen’s study should help equip administrators with the information needed to inform appropriate faculty development and continuing education opportunities.
Last year, when we introduced gorgeous red honor cords for CNEs to wear at academic processions, they sold out quickly. Now cords can be ordered from the CNE webpage , where you can learn all about CNE eligibility and exam requirements. CNEs are a proud group with good reason. Colleagues, how many of you will be honored at the NLN Education Summit 2020, the 15th anniversary of the program? It is time to be sure you are part of the red bag/red honor cord club.
Now to a more somber discussion. We have been witness all summer to human tragedy and despair as unending streams of migrants have been risking their lives to reach Europe. The United States was built by immigrants – with the letters “IM” removed, we speak now of migrants, but regardless of classification, we know there is important work for nurses to do. You will be talking about these sociopolitical issues in your classroom as you discuss the challenges facing nursing. I wish the images we see today were in the past but sadly, they are today’s reality. Let us hope that those seeking refuge will find it and that humanity will prevail.
And, of course, last week was the 14th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11. Many of the NLN staff took part in a National Day of Service packing bags of food for AARP. We mourn the victims of that day and the many others whose lives have been shattered by acts of terror – a sad reality we continue to face today.
To our Jewish colleagues, my best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year. The Summit starts two weeks from today. I hope to see you there.
Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN
Chief Executive Officer