Nurse Educator Education Project experiences

Student online mentoring

Authors: Professor Leena Salminen, Project researcher Imane Elonen

Empowering the Nurse Educators in the Changing World –study programme was developed, as a first step towards joint nurse educator education in Europe. During our educator education programme a great variety of distance teaching and learning methods were used to give participants equal opportunities to participate and enable self-directiveness at the same time. This called a great amount of support and mentoring for the students during the studies. In our project we think mentoring as partnership which contains authentic communication, enriching support, sharing knowledge (Busby et al., 2023) and supervising the studies.

Definition, content and forms of mentoring

Mentoring has been found to be an important thing to adapt new faculty to teaching and socialize them to the academic community (Webber et al., 2020). Mentoring contributes to career development through a continuous learning process and support for role development (Costa & Smith, 2023). Mentoring is often defined as a relationship between a more experienced mentor and a less experienced mentee for the purpose of supporting the mentee’s competence and career (Busby et al, 2022), but it is also considered as a support and guidance during the studies and career development (van Dongen et al., 2023.).

Mentoring can have different forms, e.g. formal mentoring, where mentors are assigned to mentees; informal mentoring, based on social attraction between the mentee and mentor; peer mentoring and group mentoring, where multiple mentors support the mentee (Busby et al., 2022). For novice nurse educator entering in nursing education without guidance and support, the transition can be frustrating and lead to career dissatisfaction. Mentoring can be one of the most important things for the successful learning process and also transition to academia, inspiring confidence in new nurse educators. Therefore, we aimed to mentor our student during the nurse educator education program.

Student online mentoring was activity conducted during the whole study programme “Empowering the nurse educators in the changing world”. Mentoring included guiding and instructing the students in the use of the learning environment, helping the students to access the study materials and tasks and supporting to use and utilize the technical solutions and applications used. Also, the educator professional development and career was discussed. The more experienced participants mentored and guided the less experienced participants. The participants wrote the learning diary to reflect their experiences and what they have learnt.

Elements of mentoring

Mentoring in the study programme consisted of three main elements. Techinical support and practical information, online mentoring with the study programme content and learning process, and on-site mentoring during the Empowering Learning Environments in Nursing Education (ELENE) intensive week and teacher training week during Evidence-Based Teaching (EBT) study unit. Technical support and practical information, and online mentoring with the study programme content and learning process was ongoing throughout the whole study programme. On-site mentoring occurred during the two week long on-site studying and training.

Technical support

Technical support and practical information started already before the study programme started, with preparation of material for students, who come from different backgrounds and countries. Written instructions with informative images were prepared, to ease the enrollment process and access of the digital environment and resources. Furthermore, after the enrollment, students received also one on one guidance via phone, e-mail and video conferencing tools, in case they had trouble accessing the learning platform or finding necessary materials or resources there. In addition, students could approach one of the instructors throughout the study programme. There were various instructors conducting mentoring during the study programme, but there was one instructor from University of Turku, assigned to keep in touch with the students throughout the whole 10-month programme. Students could self-determine the means they contacted the instructors, phone, e-mail or video conferencing. The learning platform news was utilized often, and instructors forwarded information and reminders about the learning tasks and deadlines and practical arrangements of the studies and travels.

Online mentoring

Similarly, as technical and practical support, online mentoring with the study programme content and learning process started already before the study programme started. Students who pondered participation and their own abilities to complete the study programme or some of the units, were guided and informed about the requirements and content of the study programme. The mentoring of the studies, started already on the second week of the programme, during ELENE online teaching. All students were invited to a video conferencing, should they need guidance in their group work. This was repeated also on the third week after a request from the students. Furthermore, guided group work was utilized in almost all of the study units.

In ELENE and Global Health Issues, there were two sessions of guided group work, and in Issues in Future Nurse Education (IFNE) and Ethics and Nurse Educators’ Work (ENEW) there were weekly online guided group work sessions. In addition, two study units, EBT and ENEW had a question hour. In EBT the question hour was about the practical and theoretical content and requirements of the teacher training, in ENEW the students had an opportunity to ask questions about the content of the study unit from an ethics expert.

Online mentoring was utilized also for preparation of the on-site elements of the programme. Before ELENE, students received information and instructions about practical arrangements. Communication was frequent, as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and constantly changing restrictions and travel requirements caused plenty of uncertainty. Students received information and guidance about anything and everything related to traveling to Turku in the after waves of the global pandemic. Before EBT teacher training, the students had several online meetings with the receiving universities. They were guided in their preparations for the teacher training and presentations and teaching sessions that were expected from them during the training week, as well as practical issues about travel and accommodation, including frequent weather broadcasts and assurance the people coming from warmer climate would cope in the winter of the colder climate countries.

On-site mentoring

On-site mentoring, lasted for the two weeks students were visiting the organizing universities. On-site mentoring during ELENE was guided group works and helping students to find places where they needed to be. During EBT teacher training, on-site mentoring varied from place to place, as each and every receiving university had created individual programmes, based on the training opportunities and schedules and local expertice. Study visits were arranged in all of the universities to different collaboration partners and some extra curricular activities were also arranged to make the students feel welcome and give them opportunity to get familiar with the culture they were visiting. Students were also offered guidance during their learning tasks and the instructors in the universities shared their own experiences and expertise with the students.


Mentoring, during the Empowering the Nurse Educators in the Changing World study programme was successful, as majority of the students completed the study units they started, which is positive considering that online education has usually high dropout rates (Wang et al., 2019). During the study programme, the mentoring was seen as an ongoing process rather than a designed task. The mentors were available and listened to the students, and the structure of the guidance was altered based on feedback from the students. The regular availability of the mentors and guidance for social interaction, may have improved the completion rate. (Wang et al., 2019.) Furthermore, mentoring was not limited to instructors mentoring the students, but the students stated learning from each other’s experiences and expertice as well.


Busby, K.R., Draucker, C.B., Reising, D.L., 2022. Exploring mentoring and nurse faculty: an integrative review. J. Prof. Nurs. 38, 26–39. profnurs.2021.11.006

Busby, K.R., Draucjer, C.B., & Reising D.L. 2023. Mentoring-as-Partnership: The Meaning of Mentoring Among Novice Nurse Faculty. Journal of Nursing Education 62 (2), 83-88. DOI: 10.3928/01484834-20221213-03

Costa CB., & Smith JE. 2023. Career Satisfaction and Advancement Related to Mentorship Experiences of Underrepresented Nursing Faculty.Nurse Education Perspective 44(5), 291-294 doi: 10.1097/01.NEP.0000000000001173

van Dongen, L.J.C., Leino-Kilpi H., Jónsdóttir, H.J., Meyer, G., Henriques, M.A., Schoonhoven, L., Suhonen, R., & Hafsteinsdóttir, T.B. 2023. The experiences of doctorally prepared nurses and doctoral nursing students with being mentored in the Nurse-Lead programme: A focus group study. Nurse Education in Practice, epub.

Wang, W., Guo, L., He, L., & Wu, Y. J. (2019). Effects of social-interactive engagement on the dropout ratio in online learning: insights from MOOC. Behaviour & Information Technology, 38(6), 621-636.

Webber, E., Vaughn-Deneen, T., & Anthony, M. 2020. Three-Generation Academic Mentoring Teams – A New Approach to Faculty Mentoring in Nursing. Nurse Educator 45(4), 210-213. DOI: 10.1097/NNE.000000000000077

Nurse Educator Education


Authors of the blog:

Dr. Pilar Fuster-Linares

Dr. Leandra Martin Delgado

Dr. Laia Wennberg Capellades

From Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain

The concept of ethical dilemmas has been broadly explored in nursing because of the prevalence of this dilemmas in daily practice (1,2). As nurses we understand the need and importance of having ethical standards in our profession. In 2021, the ICN reviewed and updated the Code of Ethics for Nurses, a statement of the ethical values, responsibilities and professional accountabilities of nurses that defines and guides ethical nursing practice. This document includes the changes that appear in the working environments and the new challenges and dilemmas that have appeared due to the COVID-19 pandemic (3).

Faced with these new elements and in order to show the essence of the ethics of care in the different professional roles, nursing educators must also be updated, not only in the content of the Code of Ethics, but also in the ways in which it is incorporated into nursing curricula.

Although ethical dilemmas are frequent in day-to-day life of the nursing professional, it is difficult for nursing students to identify situations potentially susceptible to be recognized as ethical dilemmas, due to their lack of knowledge of the professional role, their lack of clinical practice or even their lack of autonomy to make decisions in the clinical environment among others (4). For this reason, it is important to work on ethical dilemmas through methodologies that facilitate and stimulate reflection, but that in turn propose situations that students can understand and analyse even if they have not lived them.

Several studies have shown that education through films helps to improve teaching skills and stimulates learner reflection (5,6). Films could be considered as “the audio-visual version of storytelling (….) The cinema experiences act like emotional memories for developing attitudes and keeping them as reflective reference in the daily activities and events” (Blasco, P. et al Journal for Learning through the Arts, v22, n1,2015).

Image courtecy of Freepik Imagen de pch.vector

In our case, we incorporate the methodology of reflection through the cinema precisely to offer nurse educators the possibility of experiencing the possibilities of this methodology. We used the film Wit (2001), in which the leading actress Vivian (Emma Thopmson) shares her experience of illness with the viewer, and makes him a participant in her decisions, her experiences and her thoughts. Through the magic of the cinema, Vivian forces us to feel and be moved by her experience, and leads us to reflect on aspects of the nursing profession in a complex situation that is not always evident to us. But above all it allows us to do it from the perspective of the patient and through our own emotion, adding the value of the “experience” to something that priori, could be totally external to us.

This methodology allows us to empathize with the other from the safety of our home, it also allows us to live and relive those moments that cause us more doubt, more surprise or more indignation. We can analyse, dissect and reflect on what we see, but also on what makes us feel what we see, and that part of emotion, adds value to the learning experience, helping to develop concepts and to strongly record elements, in this case of professional ethics.


1- Rainer, J., Schneider, J. K., & Lorenz, R. A. (2018). Ethical dilemmas in nursing: An integrative review. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 27(19-20), 3446-3461.

2- Koskimies, E., Koskinen, S., Leino‐Kilpi, H., & Suhonen, R. (2020). The informational privacy of patients in prehospital emergency care—Integrative literature review. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 29(23-24), 4440-4453.

3- Sperling, D. (2021). Ethical dilemmas, perceived risk, and motivation among nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nursing Ethics, 28(1), 9-22.

4- Albert, J. S., Younas, A., & Sana, S. (2020). Nursing students’ ethical dilemmas regarding patient care: An integrative review. Nurse Education Today, 88, 104389.

5- Blasco, P. G., Moreto, G., Blasco, M. G., Levites, M. R., & Janaudis, M. A. (2015). Education through Movies: Improving teaching skills and fostering reflection among students and teachers. Journal for Learning through the Arts, 11(1), n1.

6- Jerrentrup, A., Mueller, T., Glowalla, U., Herder, M., Henrichs, N., Neubauer, A., & Schaefer, J. R. (2018). Teaching medicine with the help of “Dr. House”. PLoS One, 13(3), e0193972

Nurse Educator Education Project experiences

Ethics and Nurse Educators’ Work – Utilising Case-studies in Ethics Education

Authors: Ľuboslava Pavelová, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra & Imane Elonen, University of Turku

“My first “gentle” touch with the subject of ethics was at the beginning of my Nursing studies in 1988 (I have a nostalgic smile on my face right now). Initially it was an uninteresting subject for me, based on theory and philosophy only and I couldn’t really understand.”

Ethics education, as all education, has traditionally been lecture based in all health sciences and in nursing. Furthermore, it was more focused on theoretical knowledge on philosophical base of ethics and learning the codes, rather than engaging in ethical problem solving or providing tools to do that. (Woods, 2005.)

“ Subsequently, as a nurse in clinical practice, I knew about the code of ethics, I respected the four main principles in the provision of nursing care and somehow intuitively solved ethical issues, dilemmas.”

Education in health sciences and ethics, has come a long way since and there is great amount of information on evidence based teaching in ethics. Problem based learning (PBL), Case based learning (CBL), simulations, games and others (Opsahl et al., 2020; Herron et al., 2019; Namadi et al., 2019; Srinivasan et al., 2007).

The study unit Ethics and Nurse Educators’ Work, which was the final of the five study units forming the Empowering Nurse Educators in the Changing World (ENEC) study programme organized by the Erasmus+ funded project “New Nurse Educator”, utilised case-studies as the method of teaching. Knowing the effectiveness of CBL (Herron et al., 2019; Namadi et al., 2019), the organizers wanted to ensure the participants don’t only learn ethics of nurse educators but may also rediscover the effectiveness and acceptability of CBL in ethics education.

CBL has its benefits in teaching ethics, especially in time constricted, fairly intensive study units, as the study units within the ENEC study programme (Herron et al., 2019; Namadi et al., 2019 Srinivasan et al., 2007). Compared to similarly effective method, PBL, CBL provides clearer structure and more streamlined approach, enabling students to reach conclusion with less time and effort, yet demanding them to develop their problem solving skills and engage in collaborative inquiry to reach their goal (Srinivasan et al., 2007). CBL has been proven an effective and preferable method in ethics education, and it equips the students with necessary problem solving skills (Namadi et al., 2019).

“Later, as a teacher, I introduced the students – future nurses to the moral, ethical requirements, rules, principles to be followed in the performance of daily nursing activities. Being “here” today in 2022 (I have a satisfactory smile on my face) I am at the end of graduating from the educational module “ethics and nurse educators work” within the Empowering the nurse educators in the changing world (ENEC) – study program. My role as a teacher enriched by the fact that the current, dynamically evolving time demands in the educational process to not only use the classical teaching methods, but also less traditional ones. Those that can inspire and make students to work independently, in finding appropriate solutions to ethical issues and dilemmas in diligence. “

In addition to traditional word based case scenarios, there are promising results, in utilising case videos, they may further enhance both learning and acceptability in students (Herron et al, 2019). The study unit “Ethics and Nurse Educators’ Work” was completed by majority of the registered students. The case studies were engaging and students represented their cases during the final webinar of the whole one-year ENEC programme, prompting fascinating and inspiring international discussions, which hopefully will inspire the educators and educator candidates further in their educator careers.

“I want to set my work to a new direction. I am empowered to promote a culture of ethical behaviour for students – future nurses. I am ready to talk to students about ethics and adherence to ethical principles, to encourage them to discuss their concerns about their ethical dilemmas without fear of retaliation. I support open and continuous communication between us and I want to act as a positive role model for them. Thank you for this opportunity!”

Srinivasan, M., Wilkes, M., Stevenson, F., Nguyen, T., & Slavin, S. (2007). Comparing problem-based learning with case-based learning: effects of a major curricular shift at two institutions. Academic Medicine, 82(1), 74-82.

Namadi F, Hemmati-Maslakpak M, Moradi Y, Ghasemzadeh N. The effects of nursing ethics education through case-based learning on moral reasoning among nursing students. Nurs Midwifery Stud 2019;8:85-90

Opsahl, A., Nelson, T., Madeira, J., & Wonder, A. H. (2020). Evidence‐Based, Ethical Decision‐Making: Using Simulation to Teach the Application of Evidence and Ethics in Practice. Worldviews on EvidenceBased Nursing, 17(6), 412-417.

Herron, E. K., Powers, K., Mullen, L., & Burkhart, B. (2019). Effect of case study versus video simulation on nursing students’ satisfaction, self-confidence, and knowledge: A quasi-experimental study. Nurse education today, 79, 129-134.

Woods, M. (2005). Nursing ethics education: are we really delivering the good (s)?. Nursing ethics, 12(1), 5-18.

Nurse Educator Education

Crucial future issues in nursing curriculum and their implementation in Slovakia

The authors are: Dana Zrubcová, Andrea Solgajová, Ľuboslava Pavelová

Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Slovakia

Contemporary society places high demands on abilities of individuals to work effectively with new information and information resources. Development of science and technology, fast pace in development of new technologies penetrates all areas and is becoming a part of our everyday life. Based on these dynamic changes in society, the necessity of fundamental change in the education system is crucial. Innovative education of nurses is the fundamental source of development in the field, quality of provided care and the patient’s satisfaction with the care provided. Mutual international cooperation and mobility of not only nurses but also the educators point out to the need of significant change in the education of nurses in Slovakia. Changing the traditional way of education as well as implementing the new and modern concept of teaching, plays the key role in the education of nurses in Slovakia.

One of the innovative methods is mobile learning, which is making learning outside of geographical barriers and time constrains possible. It ensures that students have access to various educational materials, with various context with different cultural and environmental cues that are necessary to understand the content. It also facilitates social interaction between students and teachers through mobile applications such as text messaging or tools for student reactions, assessment, and feedback from students. The necessity of implementing mobile education was also indicated by the pandemic situation, because of which it was necessary to move part of the teaching to the online space.

The advances of information technologies, such as mobile apps, offer attractive possibilities for designing more effective learning materials in multimedia environments that may encourage individualized learning and enable efficiency gains for learning achievement (Strandell-Laine et al., 2018).

The mobile apps provide an interactive and individualized opportunity to practice instructional procedures. The virtual reality, designed as structured learning experiences, can replicate high-risk clinical experiences for nursing students to practice skills repeatedly without putting patients at risk (Nielsen et al., 2020).

We see the implementation of simulation methods in the teaching process as an important teaching strategy for improving the quality of education of nurses. The use of simulation methods in teaching is attractive for students. It creates a space to apply theoretical knowledge and practical skills, develops students’ critical thinking and at the same time gives space for immediate feedback and teacher’s response. The simulation of real clinical cases improves mutual communication and enables practicing cooperation in a multidisciplinary team. Repeated opportunities to practice solving a clinical situation in a safe environment, creates space for learning and increases student confidence.

Another area in nurse education that requires change is the implementation of evidence-based teaching strategies. Most important is to apply this concept to the nurse education properly. To educate nurses, it is crucial to respect the four essential elements using evidence-based nursing: evidence, professional judgment, client values, and resource issues. In the current concept of nursers’ education, the prior focus is on promoting critical thinking and evidence-based teaching.

The main aim is to incorporate critical thinking and the concept of evidence-based teaching into teaching of future nurses how to make clinical decisions based on best and reliable evidence. When starting a work practice it is expected in nurses to provide nursing care as well as to be able to justify the reason for their choices and decisions. When making decisions in real life, nurses need critical thinking skills to generate alternatives and use evidence to select the best alternative to achieve specific client outcomes (Ferguson & Day, 2005).

Teaching research and conducting discussions about the credibility of evidence supported by research, is essential to gain the ability to implement evidence-based nursing in practice. Working with scientific databases represents yet another challenge for students of nursing. The support of the educators is particularly crucial at this point. The educator should play the role of a leader, give support, and encourage students to search evidence and find the best possible procedures in care. Part of the evidence-based nursing and nurse education is the acceptance of clients’ values, i.e., holistic care.

Finally, it is also the role of the nurse educator to guide students to be able to make clinical decisions based on resource allocation. After the introduction of the concept of evidence-based nursing and the need to teach future nurses to provide evidence-based nursing care, the question of the provided conditions and facilities for evidence-based nursing care education was raised. What is the acquired knowledge of the educators regarding the concept of evidence-based practice in education? Are these principles applied when curricula and strategies are created for the education of nurses based on the best possible evidence? Do educators use clinical judgment in adopting or adapting recommended practices according to specific situations, curricula, or students? Are students’ values taken into consideration when developing and implementing curriculum and strategies? Are educators considering the implications of applied evidence in education?

Nurse educators need to be trained to understand the benefits of the strategy and their potential impact on knowledge acquisition, such as critical thinking, decision making, and competencies that are essential for today’s nursing students (Breytenbach, ten Ham-Baloyi & Jordan, 2017). Terms and conditions in Slovakia suggest that it is necessary to retrain our educators in the concept of evidence-based education through workshops and/or compulsory training modules. Currently, there is a tendency to use the traditional way of education.

However, the new generation of students needs an innovative, trendy approach. Among other things, the overall population of students of nursing is becoming more and more diverse regarding cultural, social or value differences. It is also necessary to consider the generation gap between students and educators as a factor influencing the educational process. Promoting interaction between educators and students is essential and makes the process more effective and better. Nurse educators need to be urged to pay more attention to the process of assessment and the results in their education.

At the same time, the world is rapidly changing, including advances in science and technology, which points out to increasing demand in the education of future nurses regarding digital skills and competencies. Nursing students’ development is not only the basis for an effective digital transformation in education, but also boosts the graduates’ profile, and the graduate will be able to get involved in society successfully. It is important to incorporate digital learning technologies into education; social media into healthcare as well as simulation and mobile technology; and creation and evaluation of educational material. As an example, interesting models in education of nurses are social media such as blogs, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Redit, Khan Academy, Pantoon, Canva, Mentimeter, Quizzis, Speaker, Flipgrit or games where they need to provide healthcare and improve their critical reflection, decision making skills, dialogue, and self-efficacy. International collaboration is essential for the digital transformation of nursing education.

At present, Slovakia and other European countries are struggling due to significant lack of nurses. The current situation creates constant pressure to increase the number of nurse graduates therefor the change in the education of nurses is a must. Let’s all support evidence-based nurse education together, so that the myth of ‘evidence-based practice’ becomes a reality under our own terms and conditions.


Breytenbach, C., ten Ham-Baloyi, W., & Jordan, P. J. (2017). An Integrative Literature Review of Evidence-Based Teaching Strategies for Nurse Educators. Nursing Education Perspectives, 38(4), 193-197. doi: 10.1097/01.NEP.0000000000000181

Draft Digital Transformation of Education Program in Slovakia and Action Plan for the period 2021-2024 Output from the national project “IT Academy – Education for the 21st Century”, Program_DT_vzdelavania_navrh_20201016-1.pdf

Ferguson, L., & Day, R. A. (2005). Evidence-based nursing education: Myth or reality? Journal of Nursing Education, 44(3), 107-115. doi:

Nielsen, C. A. B., Lönn, L., Konge, L., & Taudorf, M. (2020). Simulation-based virtual-reality patient-specific rehearsal prior to endovascular procedures: A systematic review. Diagnostics, 10(7), 500.

Strandell‐Laine, C., Saarikoski, M., Löyttyniemi, E., Meretoja, R., Salminen, L., & Leino‐Kilpi, H. (2018). Effectiveness of mobile cooperation intervention on students’ clinical learning outcomes: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of advanced nursing, 74(6), 1319-1331.

Nurse Educator Education

Connecting to the future

What is a brief history of nursing in Slovakia? If we had a time machine and could travel in time, first, we would go back to the 10th century to visit the first known shelters providing care for those in need. They were founded by Benedictines near the Monastery of Saint Hippolytus on the Zobor Hill near Nitra. The first monastic hospital was open in the area of modern Bratislava, the capital of modern Slovakia, in 1095. Other town hospitals were founded in other Slovakian towns in the 14th and 15th centuries. In them, both monks and civilians cared for the sick and dying travellers.

The next stop in our time travels would be in the Enlightenment Era (1717-1780), the period of Theresa’s and Joseph’s reforms which allowed new progressive elements in health care. The reforms limited the church’s influence and gradually improved care for the sick. In 1753, the first regional and town physicians (orig. fyzikusi) were named, and they introduced new hygienic measures. An important historic milestone for nursing in our area was 1770 when the Faculty of Medicine was founded at the Jesuit University in Trnava. For the first time in history, institutional education was required in both doctors and midwives.

We would also visit Janka Hrebendová, the Slovakian pioneer in nursing, who organised courses for women on wound care. Moreover, she organised care for the wounded in the battlefields in 1848. The first professional nursing school in the world established in London in 1860 significantly influenced the development of nursing in then Austria-Hungarian Empire too. So, we would witness publication of the first textbooks for nurses in Slovak. Nursing care was provided mostly to the sick in hospitals in poor working conditions.

Our next stop would be at the beginning of the 20th century, in 1914, when training for nurses became longer and included information on prevention, and health and social care both in theory and practice. In our time machine, we would celebrate the foundation of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918 and further development of nursing based on the experience of the Nursing School in Prague. The working conditions for nuns and civilian nurses, however, were still poor and demanding, both physically and psychologically. Humility, discipline, and obedience were required.

Flying through 1929, 1932 and 1933, we would see the establishment of new schools providing better nursing education and bringing some prestige to nurses.

The World War II was a period of care provided for the sick and wounded, and even abandoned children. After the War, in 1947, there were nine nursing schools in Slovakia. Political and societal changes after 1948 influenced nursing education too. Nurses were educated in secondary schools and their work was perceived as supplemental to medical care. Nurses were not independent; they were accepted only as assistants to doctors. Nursing in Slovakia was isolated from the developed countries. The nurses who gained information from abroad tried (often unsuccessfully) to introduce it in education and practice.

Our time machine would certainly stop in 1989, when political changes after the Velvet Revolution resulted in changes in all areas, including nursing. In the years to come, nursing was recognised as an independent scientific discipline focusing on university education, research, science, and international cooperation.

And here we are in 2021 and Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra is a proud partner in the international project – “A New Nurse Educator”.

Our travels continue to the future. In 2040, nursing in Slovakia …

Dana Zrubcová

Andrea Solgajová

Ľuboslava Pavelová

Nurse Educator Education

Creating occupational well-being through the competence of health care educators – development from project activities?

It is important to ensure the competence and occupational well-being of health care educators at different career stages, as the high employee turnover caused by the retirement of health care educators will cause a shortage of skilled and proficient workforce. At the same time, the ageing of the population increases the demand for social and health services. While increasing digitalisation at work can be perceived as a work resource, it may also cause burden if employees lack the required skills. The coronavirus pandemic has also challenged educators as it has led to an increase in remote education, and many teachers have been quick to adopt a variety of education technology solutions. Overall, we should pay attention to the fact that the competence and more extensive occupational well-being of health care educators significantly contributes to ensuring the high quality of nursing (Hyvärinen et al. 2018, Saaranen et al. 2020).

Currently, the education for health care educators is highly heterogenous at the European level. High-quality education and training for health care educators promotes rising up to the above challenges that teachers face in their profession. Uniform education in health also fosters better workforce mobility at the international level. The following paragraphs examine the situation of professional competence as part of occupational well-being and reflect on the significance of the project and development activities as a “tool” of change.

Professional competence as part of occupational well-being

The complexity of the concept of occupational well-being poses challenges to developing occupational well-being. The definition of occupational well-being usually includes meaningful work, the working environment, health, safety and well-being, and psychosocial factors (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 2021). The comprehensive concept of occupational well-being can be divided into four areas: worker and work, working conditions, professional competence and working community. Research has found that each area affects occupational well-being (Saaranen et al. 2020.) Occupational well-being can be considered as a process of empowerment of individuals and their community (Figure 1). Empowering both individuals and communities requires maintaining a balance between employee resources and stress factors in relation to job demands. 

Figure 1. Occupational well-being of health care educators as a process of empowerment and related factors (Saaranen et al. 2020). 

According to research, there has been an increase in stress factors in the work of educators, reflected as an increase in work-related stress and an experience of finding working hours insufficient for managing all work tasks (Golnick & Ilves 2020, Singh 2020). The work of educators is perceived as physically undemanding but mentally taxing. High stress levels and job burnout have been found to be connected to the quantitative and emotional demands of work (Singh 2020) and reduce job satisfaction and life management (Arian et al. 2018, Singh 2020).  These also undermine workforce productivity and commitment, increase sickness absences and shorten careers. As a result, there is need for development activities, but what should these look like and be founded on?

Foundation on a resource-based view – can a project facilitate change?

Resource-based (e.g. Saaranen et al 2020) activities promoting occupational well-being include mostly preventive activities aiming at maintaining work ability. Based on the above division of occupational well-being into four different areas (worker and work, working conditions, professional competence and work community), professional competence plays a key role in this context. A competent employee manages the requirements of work and is better equipped to maintain a balance between resources and stressors. Nevertheless, few studies have concerned the competence of health care educators at the global level. Research in the area has been primarily conducted in Australia, United Kingdom, USA and Finland. In Finland, research in the area has been carried out since the 1990s.

The currently ongoing A New Agenda for Nurse Educator Education Within Europe (New Nurse Educator) is a three-year Erasmus+ funded research and development project. This project aims to take the first steps in harmonizing the nurse educator education within Europe and it is implemented in collaboration between six countries and seven universities: University of Turku and University of Eastern Finland from Finland, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin/Humboldt University from Germany, University of Malta from Malta, The University of Edinburgh from Scotland, Konstantine the Philosopher University in Nitra from Slovakia and Universitat Internacional de Catalunya from Spain.  The project involves developing health care educator training with the help of extensive national interview and questionnaire studies and systematic literature reviews using an evidence-based approach. The project also involves producing a 30-credit supplementary training module for health care educators.

We believe that this project can be perceived as a tool for promoting the competence of health care educators and developing more uniform education. The journey itself is as important as its destination. The change requires new ways of thinking and operating, systematic experimentation and continuously learning together – this joint endeavour enables all of us to learn together with our national and international colleagues.

Summer greetings from Terhi, Anneli and Juha

University of Eastern Finland (UEF)

Faculty of Health Sciences

Department of Nursing Science

Picture: University of Eastern Finland

Professor (acting) Terhi Saaranen                                                       

UEF Connect     

Project researcher Anneli Vauhkonen

UEF Connect

University Teacher Juha Pajari
UEF Connect


Arian M, Soleimani M. & Oghazian, M. 2018. Job satisfaction and the factors affecting satisfaction in nurse educators: A systematic review. Journal of Professional Nursing, 34(5), 389–399.

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Nurse Educator Education

International collaboration in nurse educator education

Dr. Pilar Fuster, lecturer in the Nursing Department-UIC Barcelona

One of my first international experiences as a teacher was on the course Empowering Learning Environments in Nursing Education (EleneIP) which was organised by the University of Turku. This course, aimed at future nursing teachers, was funded twice by the Erasmus Lifelong Learning programme as an Intensive Erasmus course. It was the first initiative to create a common learning space for future nursing teachers from different countries in Europe and focused on using social media as teaching tools as the core theme. The programme was run for the first time in June 2013.

Prior to this experience, as a student, I had undertaken the EANS Summer courses for doctoral studies, so I had some idea of what it meant to be a student and to learn in an international environment. However, the EleneIP course gave me the opportunity to share with other nursing teachers my own knowledge and the tools we had worked on at my university, which could improve the teaching competence of other colleagues. It was a truly satisfying and very inspiring experience, which I not only perceived as a teacher, but was shared by the students on the course. The participants, who came from different countries with very different academic backgrounds, highlighted the acquisition of skills and knowledge of teaching methodologies (social media-simulation-collaborative learning) and of teaching content (ethical aspects-assessment and use of digital materials-cultural and educational aspects and different health systems). In addition, they rated their experiences very positively, highlighting cooperation, teamwork and the opportunity to learn in a multicultural environment.

Participants and educators in the first ELENE IP 2013

But it wasn’t just about the teaching methodology and materials. As a personal experience it was fantastic. I shared this course with eight students who came from my university, including classmates and friends. For someone who comes from Spain, who is used to a warm climate, it was quite a challenge to get used to the cold, the long nights and the silence, to share a sauna and swim in icy water! To get to know another culture, different landscapes, a different cuisine! Exchanging stories and understanding how culture shapes our view of the world, what we say, how we perceive things, what things mean to us, to be aware of the differences and how they enrich us, was one of the most important things I took with me. It was without a doubt one of the best experiences for forging closer bonds with colleagues and making new connections!

These types of encounter lead to growth and personal and professional opportunities. In addition to gaining new knowledge, they are a unique opportunity for fostering discussion between those working in an area, in our case, to discuss the education of nursing teachers at a European level. It is also a way to grow as a profession. It helps us to open our minds to different realities from our own, to share concerns and interests and to identify best practices so that we can then share them, discuss them and put them into practice in our own institutions, thereby making improvements through experience-based learning. And not only that, this type of course creates a unique environment of collaboration and cooperation, which encourages the development of new networks, multiplying opportunities for cooperation between participants.

Dr. Pilar Fuster, lecturer in the Nursing Department-UIC Barcelona


Salminen, L., Gustafsson, M. L., Vilén, L., Fuster, P., Istomina, N., & Papastavrou, E. (2016). Nurse teacher candidates learned to use social media during the international teacher training course. Nurse Education Today36, 354-359.

Papastavrou, E., Hamari, L., Fuster, P., Istomina, N., & Salminen, L. (2016). Using blogs for facilitating and connecting nurse educator candidates. Nurse education today45, 35-41.