What is an ‘academic nurse’?

What is an ‘academic nurse’?

I floated my idea for the title of my forthcoming book, Tales of an Academic Nurse, to a non-fiction writing group. I was surprised at how many writers did not know what an ‘academic’ was and suggested that I change the name of the book to ‘Nursing Professor.’

I have not changed the title of my book.

If anyone is puzzled by the title ‘academic nurse’ a google search may help. There are a number of articles on academic nursing.

An academic nurse is not just a teacher of nursing students; although that is the primary purpose of the job. An Academic Nurse is expected to do much more. In fact, the expectation of a nurse in academia is like professors in any academic field: research (preferably federally funded), writing, speaking, and committee service (in-house, locally, nationally and internationally). Academic nurses do not just sit in their offices or lecture in classrooms, they are expected to travel to meetings and conventions, where they will keep abreast of the new information coming out of other universities. They are expected to present their own research at these conventions.

The Academic Nurse is found at universities, small and large, that confer the PhD degree and its equivalents. For this reason, an Academic Nurse will hold a doctoral degree conferred by a university in good standing. Doctoral degrees reflect the program of research, whether the arts, sciences, social sciences, applied sciences or health sciences. Academic nurses can hold doctoral degrees in sociology, psychology, public health, nursing, education as well as other fields.

Academic nurses teach clinical nursing, nursing research methods, and foundational nursing theory. They teach students at the baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels of education.

Outsiders looking in at the teaching schedules of academics, see many blank hours not devoted to teaching. What do academic nurses do during those blank hours? They have office hours where they see students for counseling or supervision. They do their research and writing. They go to meetings. They prepare their lectures and grade tests. From the outside, the academic life seems to offer a lot of free time. The actual free time is minimal.

An academic nurse will be part of the graduation ceremonies at the end of every academic year, where the faculty process into the auditorium (with great decorum to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance), to be seated on-stage facing the audience of graduating students their parents and friends. Because the academic nurse holds a doctoral degree, the academic robe will signify the school and the major field of study.

I hope this brief synopsis of an academic nurse has clarified the term for those who had no idea what it means.

What do you think?

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