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Clinical Educators

Clinical educators play an important role in the educational and professional development of our nursing  staff. These educators work in a variety of capacities across the organization, including: 

Clinical Specialists (CNS)

The Clinical Nurse Specialist is one of several types of Advanced Practice Nurses. The CNS is a licensed registered nurse who has graduate preparation (Master’s or Doctorate) in nursing as a Clinical Nurse Specialist. The CNS is an expert clinician in a specialized area of nursing practice and may be credentialed through a certification exam. The specialty may be identified in terms of: 
  • Population (e.g. pediatrics, women’s health)
  • Setting (e.g. critical care, emergency room)
  • Disease or medical subspecialty (e.g. diabetes, oncology)
  • Type of care (e.g. psychiatric, rehabilitation)
  • Type of problem (e.g. pain, wounds, stress)
At PinnacleHealth, the CNS collaborates with nurses and physicians to plan and implement quality care for patients. The CNS mentors staff nurses in the pursuit of certification, the Career Development Pathway, and the research process. The CNS also plays an integral role in the Magnet designation process. 

Staff Development Instructors (SDIs)

A Staff Development Instructor (SDI) is an essential member of a health care team that is facilitates learning and professional development. The SDI is a registered nurse (RN) that possesses advanced clinical skills, is competent in the specific clinical area and displays leadership abilities. 
Characteristics of the Staff Development Instructor include:
Advanced clinical expertise
The SDI is a registered nurse that utilizes evidence based practice knowledge and clinical expertise in a specialty to provide optimal patient care.  The SDI is a role model for collaboration with physicians and other departments to achieve optimal patient outcomes.  As a result, the SDI is a clinical resource to staff in the specific unit as well as to staff in other units.
Facilitator of learning 
As an educator, the SDI regularly assesses the educational needs of the staff.  Learning needs are identified through many different sources including the following: needs identified by the staff members; monitoring of performance improvement initiatives; new procedures or equipment; new trends identified in literature; review of research literature and regulatory requirements.  When developing an educational program, the SDI determines the best approach or venue based upon the individual needs of the learner and the expected outcome measure of the program. 
Facilitating the development and professionalism of new and current staff is a key competency of a SDI.  For the new staff member, the SDI is responsible to assist with the transition into a new role. This is especially evident during the orientation process of a Graduate Nurse. Through a mentoring relationship, the SDI guides the novice nurse to apply knowledge to the clinical setting and to develop critical thinking skills and problem solving skills. In addition, the SDI provides opportunities and resources for established staff to develop advanced skills and meet personal professional goals. For instance, the SDI may mentor a registered nurse through the Career Development Pathway application process.
The SDI collaborates with the management team and unit staff leaders to develop unit goals. As part of the management team, the SDI encourages personal accountability, participation in decision making and autonomy. In addition, the SDI participates in unit and system level councils to promote positive change.  

PinnacleHealth Learning Institute Nurse Educators

The Learning Institute is a centralized education department comprised of three areas of concentration: Employee Education and Development, Management and Organization Development and Patient and Community Education.  Our goals are:
a.  establish the Learning Institute's responsibility in improving clincial and operational performance
b.  evaluate all educational offerings for congruence with the strategic plan
c.  establish health education programs to meet the assessed needs of patients and the community
The Employee Education and Development division of the Learning Institute has staff educators and two managers who provide education service for: 
  • PinnacleHealth System orientation
  • Nursing and clinical orientation
  • Role specific courses
    • Dysrhythmia
    • Basic cardio-pulmonary
    • Unit secretary content
    • Patient care assistant (PCA)
    • Preceptor workshop
    • All emergency cardiac care
    • Critical care
    • Emergency department 
    • Medical terminology
    • Phlebotomy and IV therapy.
Additionally, we offer advanced content in cardiovascular nursing and collaborate with the Nursing Department educators for certification review courses in medical surgical, maternal-child and critical care. 
Learning Institute educators also support various other courses and inservices that are department or unit based. 
These courses are offered weekly (ECC courses), bi-weekly (orientation), monthly or semi-annually. 
The Patient and Community Education division of the Learning Institute is composed of one manager, nurse educators with specialty certifications, and an extensive bank of supplemental community educators representing a wide variety of specialty areas.  Community and internal partnerships are developed to provide education in the following areas: 
  • Childbirth and Parenting
  • Cardiovascular/Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Nutrition Therapy
  • General health education, prevention and community wellness
  • Student wellness and health career exploration
In addition this division provides oversight to affiliating students receiving clinical experiences at PinnacleHealth facilities (nursing students, internships, shadow experiences, etc.). Also provided is the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association Continuing Education approval process for PinnacleHealth.