Mentor/Mentee team up for unique program

A pair of nurses is addressing the need for more nurse educators to meet the projected nursing shortage in an effort to support new practitioners transitioning into academic roles.

Allyson Torstveit, MS, RN, from Rasmussen College is working with Barbara Matthees, PhD, RN, CNE, from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Torstveit is a 2011 graduate of the MSUM nurse MS program, and will start her DNP in June. Torstviet was appointed to the Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy. There are only 16 mentors in this international academy admitted after a rigorous application.

The capstone project they’re working on would focus on implementing a toolkit that will support new nursing faculty with the tools and assurance that is needed to successfully transition into a sustainable career in academia and to enhance student learning. This toolkit would include obtaining a masters or doctoral degree, guidance from fellow faculty and mentors, and formal faculty role development.

The Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy, developed by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International’s (STTI) Leadership Institute with a grant from The Elsevier Foundation, will help alleviate the nurse faculty shortage by providing knowledge, skill development opportunities and support to retain new nurse educators who have transitioned into the role.

The 2012-13 NFLA cohort includes 16 scholars, 16 mentors and eight faculty, who represent 29 universities, 15 states and provinces, and four countries including Australia, Canada and Thailand.

“The Elsevier Foundation is pleased to support this program that is helping to develop a new generation of nurse faculty leaders,” said David Ruth, Executive Director for the Elsevier Foundation. “We believe that when we invest in leadership and provide the opportunity for individuals to grow and influence others, we are also helping the broader community of colleagues and nursing students down the road, all of whom contribute to improving health care quality.”

The pairs are addressing such topics as implementing team teaching structures, developing strategies to assist new graduation nurses transitioning to practice, and improving healthcare through the development of transdisciplinary teams. Two groups are working with integrating and evaluating clinical simulation into the nursing curriculum.

“The NFLA supports new nurse faculty in their quest to lead the development and implementation of innovative nursing education programs. Through a mentoring relationship and a leadership project, academy Fellows focus on developing essential leadership skills and learn how to incorporate emerging teaching methodologies such as simulation and other technologies into the nursing curriculum,” says Suzanne Prevost, PhD, RN, COI, STTI president.

Research shows that new faculty who have worked successfully with a mentor have higher job satisfaction, with increased promotions and mobility than those without mentors. Faculty who have worked with a mentor are also more productive in obtaining competitive grants, leading professional organizations and publishing in scholarly books and journal articles.

Tony Forrester, PhD, RN, ANEF, NFLA’s lead faculty member, shares STTI’s commitment to individual leadership development. “I want nurse faculty to be successful — more than just satisfied with their career. I want faculty to lead the innovation and provide the leadership needed to truly transform nursing education for the future,” he said.

About STTI

The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the learning, knowledge and professional development of nurses committed to making a difference in health worldwide. Founded in 1922, STTI has more than 125,000 members in 90 countries. Members include practicing nurses, instructors, researchers, policymakers, entrepreneurs and others. STTI’s nearly 500 chapters are located at 626 institutions of higher education throughout Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, Ghana, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, The Netherlands, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Swaziland, Sweden, Republic of China-Taiwan, Tanzania, the United States and Wales. More information about STTI and its leadership programs and initiatives can be found online at

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and close to 20,000 book titles, including major reference works from Mosby and Saunders. Elsevier’s online solutions include SciVerse ScienceDirect, SciVerse Scopus, Reaxys, MD Consult and Nursing Consult, which enhance the productivity of science and health professionals, and the SciVal suite and MEDai’s Pinpoint Review, which help research and health care institutions deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively.

A global business headquartered in Amsterdam, Elsevier employs 7,000 people worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world-leading publisher and information provider, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).