The Australian Nurse Teachers' Society ( ANTS) is a professional group, with membership representing nursing educators in all practice settings, such as academic and clinical. ANTS seeks to promote professionalism in nursing practice and to raise critical issues related to teaching the discipline of nursing. ANTS has a commitment to the belief that the competence of nursing educators is a crucial issue, not only for the nursing profession but for employers, governments and the community. As part of this commitment ANTS developed and made available a set of competencies to guide educator practice in 1994, which has been revised and updated since this time.

History of the ANTS Standards: The Nurse Teacher Competencies 1994

In early 1993, a decision was taken by the Council of ANTS to formulate national competencies for nurse teachers in line with the Society's objectives. The focus of the project was to:

" assist those involved in the education of nurses and the promotion of research into nurse education by analyzing the combination of teaching, scholarship, management and research attributes that comprise the nurse teacher". (Nurse Teacher Competency Standards, 1993)

The consultative process began with a steering committee of twenty members, representing nurse teachers from the hospital and community sectors, tertiary institutions (including university, TAFE, and the NSW College of Nursing). Teachers were from rural and metropolitan health organizations. A literature search was conducted and the steering committee met monthly, with each member consulting widely with other health professionals in order to determine, by consensus, the competencies required of a professional nurse teacher. Throughout this time, issues related to the philosophical aspects of nurse teacher roles and functions were enthusiastically debated. Several weekend workshops were held to finalise the first draft of ten competencies. In New South Wales, these draft competencies were approved for distribution by the ANTS Council in August 1994.

This first draft was then distributed across all nurse teacher sectors throughout the state via a Delphi technique. The responses from nurse teachers provided a wide variety of opinions which were summarized and distributed for a second round of comments from a wider community of nurse teachers in the health sector. This resulted in the collation of pertinent data and revision of the teacher competency standards in December 1996.

1997 Australian Nurse Teacher Competencies

Click here to download an Adobe PDF version of the ANTS Teacher Competencies (1997)

Review of the 1997 Australian Nurse Teacher Competencies: The beginning, 2007

During 2007 ANTS sought feedback from nursing educators regarding Nurse Teacher competencies to see if they reflected current nurse education practice. At that time no changes to the competencies were proposed.

Review of the 1997 Australian Nurse Teacher Competencies: Development 2009-2010

Further feedback was gained from a variety of nurses involved in nurse education resulting in a decision for ANTS to fund a review of the Australian Nurse Teacher competencies. There had not been a review since their adoption in 1999, and with the changes in education and nursing practice there was a need to ensure the competencies reflected current nursing educator practice.The 1997 competencies were then revised, and a similar framework to the national competencies for Registered nurses was used: three main domains with accompanying competencies for each domain.

A nation-wide consultative process was used that included focus groups, on-line and mailed surveys, feedback, and modification using an Action Research method. Following feedback the competencies were arranged in Domains, to be consistent with the ANRAC competency structure. The competencies were reworded to increase clarity. Aspects such as technology, cultural sensitivity, and educational processes were included and the focus on curriculum and academic elements were decreased.

The Australian Nurse Teacher Professional Practice Standards 2010

Following the review the revised competencies was published in Apr 2010 under the title of 'The Australian Nurse Teacher Competencies'. In 2014 to be consistent with the changing discourse around competencies ANTS decided to change the name from "competencies" to "professional practice standards" with the rest of the document remaining unchanged, therefore it retained the 2010 publishing date. The word 'teacher' was retained to reflect the organization's name.

Click here to download an Adobe PDF version of the ANTS Teacher Professional Practice Standards (2010)

Review of the Australian Nurse Teacher Professional Practice Standards: 2022-2024

It was over 10 years since the Australian Nurse Teacher Professional Practice Standards were last reviewed. Changes had occurred in education during that time, especially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the ANTS National Committee thought it was timely to consider whether the standards were still relevant to nursing education practice today. A team from the ANTS National Committee, including the then president, Dr Julie Shaw, developed the review plan and achieved ethical approval though Western Sydney University to undertake the review. ANTS provided funding for the project.

A scoping review was first undertaken to map relevant nursing education standards to determine gaps and commonalities in the literature. The current standards were reviewed though a modified Delphi process that consisted of two online surveys sent to an expert group of nursing educators, and two Zoom focus groups of nursing educators from any setting or with any level of experience. The study sought consensus from the expert group who were asked their level of agreement to the relevance of each statement to nursing educators in any setting or level of experience.

Results from the first Delphi round showed high levels of agreement on all standards’ statements, indicating the 2010 standards were still relevant today. There were comments made in the surveys and focus groups that indicated some wording changes and inclusion of some other concepts, such as sustainability, should be included. Comments were also made that some context was needed around the statements. The feedback and scoping review results informed the changes that were included in the second-round survey. There remained high agreement (>80%) on all statements in the second survey, with several statements having 100% agreement. The second survey also asked for agreement to a suggested name change. For many years there has been discussion at conferences and ANTS' AGMs around the use of the word ‘teacher’ in the Society’s name and standards, as many members considered the term restrictive. There was a high level of agreement in the Delphi survey to change the name of the standards to - "The Australian Nursing Educator Professional Practice Standards". The word 'nursing' was used rather than 'nurse' to avoid confusion with some position titles in some states of Australia.

As well as the production of new standards the review team will produce two journal articles: one regarding the Delphi study and one about the scoping review. An abstract has also been submitted for the Council of Nursing and Midwifery Deans’ Symposium to be held in July 2024 to showcase the new standards.

The Australian Nursing Educator Professional Practice Standards 2024

The 2024 Australian Nursing Educator Professional Practice Standards (the 'Standards) consist of 3 major domains, with core standards and standard statements. New to the 2024 Standards are the 'cues' given for each standard statement to give context for the statements to help clarify the standards' statements for educators. The Standards were developed for all nursing educators, regardless of the setting in which they work, their role, or their level of experience in nursing education. When applying the Standards, educators, managers, and policymakers should consider the educational context of the nursing educator and apply those relevant to the individual practice context.

The Australian Nursing Educator Professional Practice Standards 2024 in pdf format can be download now.

(last updated 7 May 2024)