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Fueling the Pipeline of Nurse Educators: School of Nursing Unveils Master’s in Nursing Education Program

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Marissa Kloss, B.S.N., R.N., a Level II nurse within Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong, is one of the first nurses preparing to enroll in the MNE program this fall. The 24-year-old hopes to one day teach on the faculty of a nursing school.

 As health care leaders here and across the country explore ways to prevent a future shortfall of nurses—to meet the needs of more patients entering the health care system—one fact remains clear. There isn’t a shortage in the number of men and women who want to become nurses. 

Nationwide—according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)—more than 78,000 qualified applicants are turned away from baccalaureate and graduate programs each year. Why?

One of the major contributing factors is a shortage of nursing faculty, as larger numbers than ever before near retirement. Nationally, the average age of a nursing professor is 61. In New York State, the average age is 55.

School of Nursing dean Kathy H. Rideout, Ed.D., P.P.C.N.P.-B.C., F.N.A.P.

“We have been very fortunate to have been able to keep pace with the level of interest in the field, and particularly with the high number of students with degrees in other areas who are interested in changing their career paths to nursing,” says UR Medical Center vice president and School of Nursing dean Kathy H. Rideout,Ed.D., P.N.P.-B.C., F.N.A.P., adding that enrollment in the School’s Accelerated (12-month) Programs for Non-Nurses has grown by more than 400% since 2002. “But as we look toward the future, we are very focused on kindling a passion for teaching in our younger nurses, so that we can continue to add instructors, and grow our programs. The health of our communities depends on us developing proactive ways to maintain a strong and diverse nursing workforce.”

A new Master of Science in Nursing Education (MNE) program, unveiled this week by the UR School of Nursing, aims to strengthen the pipeline of nursing faculty here and elsewhere. The program offers a unique, interdisciplinary curriculum specifically focused on teaching nurses how to teach.

“We’ve worked closely with the New York State Education Department to create a program that will prepare registered nurses for positions in nursing schools, professional development and patient education,” says the School’s director of master’s programs Craig R. Sellers, Ph.D., R.N., A.N.P.-B.C., G.N.P.-B.C., F.A.A.N.P.

MNE specialty director Maria Marconi, Ed.D., R.N., C.N.E., teaches a class to nursing students.

MNE specialty director and assistant professor of clinical nursing Maria Marconi, Ed.D., R.N., C.N.E., says the program supports a more direct career trajectory for nurses who want to teach. Designed for working nurses, it blends classroom and online instruction with opportunities to work with experienced educators to plan courses, design curriculum, and learn proven ways to evaluate learning and engage students.

“Traditionally, nurses are educated first as clinicians, and if they want to pursue graduate education, they can either become advanced practice nurses or researchers, and then can seek teaching positions in correlation with those roles,” says Marconi, who is a nationally-certified nurse educator. “Although some nurses pick up teaching easily, no one has ever taught us how to teach. What this program does is prepare skilled, effective educators and give them vital knowledge about the ‘science’ of teaching, the variety of ways people learn, and the best practices in the field.”

Of special note, three of the program’s courses—offered through the Health Professions Education program (a collaboration of the School of Nursing, Warner School of Education and School of Medicine and Dentistry)—will give MNE students the opportunity to learn alongside students from a variety of health care disciplines. The MNE aims to produce future nursing instructors who can work effectively on interprofessional teams, and who will be proficient at preparing new generations of nurses to provide team-based care. This collaborative ability will be integral to improving patient outcomes as health care reform unfolds.

Maria Marconi, Ed.D., R.N., C.N.E.

Another unique aspect is that the 35-credit program can be completed in tandem with the School’s RN to BS to MS program or MS to PhD program, enabling graduates to hold two degrees. Students can also earn post-master's certification through the program.

“We really listened to the voices of potential students when designing this program,” says Marconi. “Ultimately what sets it apart is the level of hands-on instruction students will receive from experienced clinical faculty, and the opportunities they’ll have to complete their student teaching with preceptors not only in the classroom, but across the Medical Center.”

Marissa Kloss, B.S.N., R.N., a Level II nurse within Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong, is one of the first nurses preparing to enroll in the program this fall.  The 24-year-old, who cares for children with issues such as diabetes, eating disorders, cystic fibrosis and asthma, earned her bachelor’s degree from St. John Fisher, and had a sense early on that teaching suited her.

“One of my favorite things to do is teach diabetic patients and their parents,” says Kloss, who will have 90% of her MNE enrollment fees covered by the University’s tuition benefit.  “The relationships you build through teaching are so rewarding. I started to think more about it, and realized I could see myself teaching, not only on the unit, but in a classroom. I’m looking forward to being a faculty professor one day and encouraging other nurses toward their goals.”

To apply or learn more about the School of Nursing’s Master’s in Nursing Education Program, visit the SON website or email

Media Contact

Christine Roth

(585) 275-1309

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