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Chapter 2 Nurse Educators: Who Are They and With Whom Do They Affiliate? THE SURVEY: ITS NATURE It has been established that nurse educators are essential to the socialization process and the continuous development of the nursing profession. The questionnaire was administered to faculty members in baccalaureate and higher degree programs in New York State for two principal reasons. As noted earlier, the entry into practice issue has long divided the profession. At the 1995 meeting of the governing and official voting body of the ANA, the House of Delegates, consisting of elected representatives from the ANA’s constituent associations and the Board of Directors, this matter once again served as a source of debate. On this occasion 80% of the delegates supported the position that a baccalaureate degree in nursing be required for entry into professional practice. More recently, at meetings in 2000 and 2001, the association’s board of directors reaffirmed its long-standing commitment to this orientation. In light of such decisions, baccalaureate and higher-degree programs were selected for this study. It is expected that entry into practice in the near future will require a baccalaureate degree. Obviously, the consistent reaffirmation of such a policy enhances the prominence of a major 33 component of the professional elite, nursing faculty in colleges and universities. This group is important because as Abbott (1988) has written: Academic knowledge legitimizes professional work by clarifying its foundations, tracing them to major cultural values. In most modern professions, these have been the values of rationality, logic and science. Academic professionals demonstrate the rigor, the clarity, and the scientifically logical character of professional work, thereby legitimating that work in the context of larger values. (p. 54) Also, surveys of nursing programs reveal that the largest increase in enrollments in the past has been experienced by baccalaureate programs. However, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, enrollments of entry-level bachelor’s degree students in the nation’s nursing schools fell by 2.1% in 2000, the sixth consecutive decline in as many years. Still, in terms of their faculty and students, baccalaureate programs are of great importance to the nursing profession. Reduced enrollments in all types of entry-level nursing programs are attributed to a number of factors, including a shortage of faculty in these programs, a redirection of limited resources to meet the demand for advanced practice nurses, and a failure on the part of potential students to understand the new demand for nursing personnel and changed and changing career opportunities . Unfortunately, there are no recent data available concerning enrollment in nursing programs in New York State. The regular collection of general data on the nursing profession is not mandated (“ANA at Work,” 1999; Brewer & Kovner, 2000; Freudenheim & Villarosa, 2001). New York State was selected as a research site because it occupies a special place in the history of nursing. Many of the profession’s visionary leaders, such as Lillian Wald, Lavinia Dock, Margaret Sanger, Ruth Watson Lubic and Eleanor Lambertsen, were active in that state’s professional nursing organization, the New York State Nurses Association. Being externalists, they not only left their mark on the state, but the impact of their activities went far beyond and extended to the nation. These women provided role modeling in political activism that became an ideal for some members of the nursing 34 Nurse Educators and Politics elite. Moreover, New York State has achieved several “firsts.” The first state nurses’ association in the United States was formed there. In addition, this organization initiated the principal statutory movements in nursing’s early professionalization endeavors. More recently, in 1971, a group of nurses from New York State, realizing that nursing had no internal structure with which to influence different points of the political arena, formalized the drive for involvement in the political system. They formed a nonpartisan, nonprofit association of registered and practical nurses called Nurses for Political Action. This organization was the forerunner to the American Nurses Association ’s Political Action Committee. Moreover, in 1973 the New York State Nurses Association was a significant force in the passage of a revised nurse practice act. This legislation acknowledged nursing as an autonomous profession. It differentiated nursing and medical practice and set forth nurses’ independent functions. Nursing was defined as “diagnosing and treating human responses to actual or potential health problems through such means as case finding, health teaching, and counseling” (P. A. Kalisch & B. J. Kalisch, 1995, p. 452). With this definition the practice of nursing for...


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