To expand the scientific foundation for nursing education, the National League for Nursing is establishing a national agenda for research in nursing education. This groundbreaking effort will define research priorities that can serve as a rallying point for education researchers across the nation. The goal of this consensus-building effort is to focus nursing education research efforts on discovering the core of knowledge needed to bridge education and practice as we move into the 21st century. This article describes the process being used in this historic dialogue.
The Background Since its inception in 1893, as the American Society of Superintendents of Training School for Nurses (ASSTSN), the National League for Nursing has been dedicated to, and considered the pioneer of, nursing education. The initial purpose of the ASSTSN was to establish and maintain a universal standard of training for nursing -- not to be prescriptive and limiting, but to establish a standard of excellence that would guide the development of nursing education programs.
Over the past 106 years, the NLN's commitment to excellence in nursing education has not wavered, despite its attention in recent decades to health policy formulation and the improvement of the health of communities. Health policy initiatives and the emphasis on improving health clearly are significant concerns to members of the academy, but they are more indirect, rather than direct, concerns.
In 1998, the NLN reaffirmed its one definitive mission, to advance "quality nursing education that prepares the nursing workforce to meet the needs of diverse populations in an ever-changing health care environment." Such clarity of mission recognizes the need to prepare graduates who can deliver quality, evidence-based care. Further, it also acknowledges that nursing practice and nursing education take place in an environment that is characterized by unprecedented change, uncertainly, unpredictability, and ambiguity.
This reaffirmed, definitive mission of the NLN has guided the Board of Governors and the organization's leadership staff to identify a number of strategic initiatives that will make the mission "come alive." Such initiatives are intended to achieve several purposes:
* Position the NLN as the leader in shaping the development of nursing curricula and educational models.