Maine Medical Center and the Clinical Nurse Educator Role

From 2007 through 2019, nursing units and department leaders appointed clinical nurses as unit-based educators. The intention was that unit-based educators would have about 16 hours per week to plan, implement, provide and evaluate education for clinical staff with the rest of their hours spent in direct patient care. After evaluation of the role, it was determined that a change was needed.

The clinical nurse educator role (CNE) position was implemented at MMC in 2019. The first group of CNEs were hired, with additional positions added in 2020, to equal a total of 11 full time employees. The CNE is a full time educator position that requires a master’s degree in nursing (or the degree in progress within 3 months of hire).

a group of nurses learning in an auditorium setting

CNEs are embedded on clinical units acting as clinical experts, coaches, mentors, educators and leaders. In addition to their unit/department-based education responsibilities, they also contribute to our centralized education programs. Centralized activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Onboarding and orientation
  • Clinical and professional development programs for clinical team members
  • Faculty for the Patient Care Technician and MMC Certified Nursing Assistant programs
  • Facilitators for the Nurse Residency Program

educator demonstrating safe use of PPESeveral are in adjunct clinical faculty roles in the MMC/St. Joseph’s College of Maine Nursing Program, in addition to their other responsibilities.

The clinical nurse educator team had a primary role in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic – translating evolving information and guidelines into practice for clinical team members across all disciplines. They also partnered with our Safety and Emergency Management and Infection Prevention teams to train thousands of direct care team members in how to safely don and doff personal protective equipment and powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs).

The clinical nurse educator role role continues to evolve and grow with educators adopting innovative and interactive educational strategies to engage clinical team members in both virtual and in person formats.