The wholesale movement of nursing education into higher education is now a decade old. The catalyst was Project 2000, which was a vision, not only a professional qualification, but an academic one, the diploma in higher education. A review of the literature, however, identifies how the nursing curriculum has always been subject to continuous external pressure and is a balancing act between health service needs, the educational vision of the day and the available financial resources. Its product: the registered nurse functions as both a test bed and barometer of public opinion, with some of the current ills of the NHS laid at the door of higher education and its role in nursing training (Carr 2007). Two constant discourses are: pre-registration nurses are emerging from nurse education programmes without essential clinical skills and the requirement for nurse lecturers to support students in the clinical environment during their preparation. This paper therefore provides a critical evaluation of the practice role of nurse lecturers over the last three decades. This paper argues that a practice role for nurse lecturers is an anachronistic concept and draws on an early paper (Glen and Clark 1999 ) and recent research On nurse lecturers' perceptions of their current role (Carr 20071) and advocates, to quote the title of an earlier paper, a new skill mix for the future.
Professor Sally Glen is Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton where she has responsibility for the academic portfolio, curriculum development, quality systems and academic standards, learning and teaching, the student learning experience, and e-learning. Before joining the University in September 2006, Professor Glen was Deputy Director of the Institute of Health Sciences, Dean of School of Nursing and Midwifery, and Professor of Education at City University. From May 1996-January 2000, she was Dean of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Dundee.
Her research interests include philosophical approaches to professional education in health and social care. She has published widely in the field of health and social care education and edited Supporting Learning in Nursing Practice, e-learning in Nursing, and Interprofessional Post-Qualifying Education for Nurses.
Professor Glen is currently on the Editorial Board of Learning in Health and Social Care; she is a Non- Executive Director of City and East London Mental Health Trust and chairs the Trust's Ethics Committee. She is also on the Board of the Institute of Medical Ethics.