but weaving those facts into clinical decision making (Tanner, 1987, 1993). Nontraditional educational methods are not new to nursing (Lenburg, 1986). Distance learning has become a staple in many nursing schools with outreach commitments (Billings et al., 1994). The problem-solving orientation, consensus-building techniques, and interpersonal skills of nurses enable them to demonstrate competencies in great demand across settings.
On the other hand, nursing is likely to be disadvantaged in the universities of tomorrow. Because it is a field that has come later to research (i.e., the scholarship of discovery), an infrastructure to support that mission within schools of nursing is not fully in place. The current devaluation of research in support of teaching is likely to have more negative consequences for a field that has long valued teaching but only recently made research a priority, for it will be more difficult to get the resources for research in a climate less supportive of that activity.
Clinical teaching is labor intensive, particularly when students are spread throughout the community rather than concentrated in a single hospital (Rothert et al., 1994), so universities will be increasingly critical of such costs, particularly in the face of dropping enrollments occasioned by a tight job market. This problem is also likely to be an issue in the merger or consolidation of university hospitals with other kinds of hospitals that are less inclined to believe they should subsidize clinical teaching even indirectly. The demand for master's and doctorally prepared faculty is outstripping supply (Mullinix, 1990; Rosenfeld, 1992); indeed, today's "nursing shortage" is at those levels of preparation. What is more, the nature of practice is changing faster than the curriculum of most schools of nursing and the knowledge base of existing nursing faculty (VanOrt et al., 1989; Oermann, 1994a).
The major challenges ahead for professional nursing education reflect the key themes of this paper.
Both nurse educators and employers must be encouraged to differentiate nursing practice by education, experience, and demonstrated competence. This movement can be facilitated by deliberately encouraging different levels of nurses to work together as part of their educational preparation, standardizing the second level of licensure for BSN graduates, and requiring advanced practice nurses to have a graduate degree and certification from a professional association approved by the American Board of Nursing Specialties. It should be recognized that one of the difficulties that is likely to complicate differentiated practice between ADN and BSN nurses is the extent to which there also needs to be differentiated