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Nursing Education National League for Nursing - Excellence Initiatives

Click here to print a copy of these FAQs.

May I submit the application by mail?
No. The NLN will not accept applications submitted by mail.
All documents (application, statement, CV and letters of
support) must be submitted in one electronic file using the
designated forms.

How do applicants demonstrate their eligibility? What are the characteristics of the applicants selected to become fellows?
Applicants must meet all eligibility criteria. These criteria can be demonstrated by the following: chronology of sustained contributions that have endured over time and been substantial; documentation of how your visionary leadership in nursing education stimulated change and helped create a preferred future for nursing education; citation of specific outcomes that are a direct result of your work; an analysis of how your contributions to nursing education have been congruent with and helped advance the mission and goals of the NLN. Successful applicants provide clear examples of contributions that are above and beyond the responsibilities associated with their employment. They also explain how their work has influenced nursing education, show that their contributions to nursing education have been broad in scope and not limited to their own classrooms or schools, and document how dissemination of their work through various formats has influenced and advanced nursing education.

What information should I include in my applicant statements? How can I present my work to the best advantage?
Your statements should address how your contributions are differentiated from your employment responsibilities; the impact of your work on nursing education; clarity about your area of contribution to nursing education and how that focus has guided your professional work over time; and how your work has contributed to nursing education (vs clinical, vs nursing in general). Now is not the time to be modest! Give specific information about the outcome, results, or use of your work. For example, “developed an innovative curriculum” is not as specific as “consulted with several schools to revise their BSN curriculum to include informatics competencies". Results of employer surveys at these schools indicated students were better prepared for clinical practice in their agencies because of the revisions to the curriculum. Connect what you are doing to future goals and "next steps".

Do I need to identify a primary area of excellence?
Yes, you should identify a primary area of excellence. While most applicants have expertise in many areas of nursing education, the applicant should identify one overarching theme or area that encompasses the other areas of excellence. The lead sentence in the application should indicate “I am recognized for my contributions to nursing education community in the area of XXX”. Each, of the four parts of the statement should provide supporting examples of the contributions and the impact and outcome of the work.

If I can only provide a 6 page CV, what information should I include?
The CV provides evidence of your enduring and substantial contributions to nursing education. In addition to a condensed section of biographical information (education, relevant employment history), the CV should provide concrete information about your primary area of excellence and include examples of honors and awards, publications, presentations, research, and service in that area. By selecting relevant examples, your CV can demonstrate a record of continued contributions, for example a sustained record of dissemination of your work (publications, presentations), or a leadership trajectory, for example moving from a committee member, to a committee chair, to a member of a board of the organization. If there are unusual circumstances or gaps (for example, gaps of employment, of service, or of publication productivity) it is appropriate to comment on these in your statement.

What is visionary leadership?
Visionary leadership refers to one’s ability to envision changes that will enhance and improve nursing education and enlist others to help make that vision become reality. It involves true leadership skills including effective communication, an ability to articulate the vision clearly, an ability to work collaboratively with others, an ability to manage conflicts that may arise during the process of change, dedication to and passion about the vision, and a willingness to take risks. The vision may relate to any number of education-focused concerns including promoting student engagement in the learning process, finding ways to help disadvantaged students be successful in nursing, integrating technology into the learning process, or enhancing the transition of individual from clinical roles to the teaching role. Articulation and realization of the vision may occur through publications, presentations, research, consultation, service in professional organizations, mentoring, or any number of other strategies.

Who should I ask to write a letter of support? What information should they include?
You should request letters of support from people who are familiar with your work and the impact it has had on nursing education. Letters of support can come from your administrator (dean, department chair), the chair of a national committee on which you served who can discuss the impact of your contributions to the work of that group, a member of a community or professional nursing organization who can describe how your work contributed to the organization, or a colleague who uses the results of your work. Each letter should speak to a different aspect of your work so that when the two reference letters are reviewed in conjunction with your own statements, a clear picture is presented of the extent and significance of your contributions. When all references speak to the same points or do little more than list things already in your CV, a less-than-complete picture is presented. It is helpful to send your own four-part statement and your CV to each person from whom you are requesting a letter of support, and indicate to each one the specific aspect of your work you would like her/him to address. Reference letters should give specific examples about the outcomes and impact of your work. In essence, the reference letters, along with your statements and CV, should provide compelling evidence about the enduring and substantial nature of your work in nursing education.
Note: Current NLN Board of Governors, NLN Foundation Board of Trustees, Academy review panel, and NLN staff may not be used as a reference.

If I don’t have a doctoral degree, can I still apply to become a fellow?
Yes. The criteria do not specify any requirement for a particular degree of credential. Emphasis is given to enduring and substantial contributions that have had a significant impact on nursing education.

If I teach in an associate degree or practical nurse program, am a consultant or am not a nurse, can I become a fellow?
Yes. There are no requirements that fellows teach in any particular type of program or that they hold a faculty appointment at all. Individuals who are in faculty positions may teach or hold administrative or staff positions in practical nurse, associate degree, diploma, baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral programs in nursing. Individuals who do not hold faculty appointments also are eligible for fellowship, as are non-nurses. The factor that determines recommendation for fellowship is whether the applicant has demonstrated sustained and significant contributions that have had an impact on and made a difference in nursing education.

Do I have to have a strong record of funded research in order to be recommended as a fellow?
No. It is not a requirement that you have a strong record of funded research for recommendation to fellowship. If you have completed extensive research – with or without funding – it must be research that clearly impacts nursing education. For example, research into nursing interventions related to care of a particular patient population may inform what a faculty member teaches, but it does not influence nursing education per se. Research that influences nursing education itself focuses on teaching and learning, curriculum design and implementation, faculty development, new pedagogies, and so on. More important than the completion or funding of this research is that you demonstrate how the findings from your studies have influenced the design and delivery of nursing education. For example, you might list schools or faculty who are using your work or the extent to which your work is cited by scholars outside your own school.

If my contributions have been in the area of clinical practice or public policy, am I eligible for fellowship?
While contributions to the advancement of clinical nursing practice or public policy related to health care delivery are important, they are not the type of contributions expected of fellows in the Academy of Nursing Education. Instead, fellows are expected to focus their work and contributions (publications, presentations, consultation, research, etc.) on nursing education, public policy as it relates to nursing education, and so on.

Is there a limit to the number of fellows who can be inducted in any given year?
No. There is no minimum or maximum number of fellows to be inducted in any given year. If 100 applications are received and each one clearly meets all criteria for fellowship, all 100 can be recommended for induction as fellows. Likewise, if there are 25 applications and only five meet all criteria, then only those five will be recommended for induction as fellows.

How can I best present my application?
The application should be professionally presented, including proper grammar and spelling. It is not necessary to submit an application that includes color, borders, photos, or any other “special effects”. Proofread the application prior to submission and request assistance from a colleague or writing center if needed.

If I am not selected for fellowship the first time, may I apply again?
There is no limit to the number of times a person can submit an application to be considered for Fellowship in the Academy of Nursing Education. Prior to resubmitting an application, the applicant should review the criteria to determine if there are areas in which further career development might be needed. For example, applicants may not have yet developed a mature body of work for which they can identify a primary area of substantial and enduring contribution, can not describe a plan for providing visionary leadership, or offer evidence of congruence with the NLN mission and goals. Mentors, colleagues, and current Fellows can serve as sources of support when making a decision to reapply.


Nursing Education
Nursing Education
Nursing Education
Nursing Education