The wholesale movement of nursing education into higher education is now a decade old. The catalyst was Project 2000, which was a vision, not only of a professional qualification, but an academic one, the diploma in higher education. A review of the literature, however, identifies how the nursing curriculum has always been subject to continuous external pressure and is a balancing act between health service needs, the educational vision of the day and the available financial resources.
Its product: the registered nurse functions as both a test bed and barometer of public opinion, with some of the current ills of the NHS laid at the door of higher education and its role in nursing training (Carr 2007). Two constant discourses are: pre-registration nurses are emerging from nurse education programmes without essential clinical skills and the requirement for nurse lecturers to support students in the clinical environment during their preparation.
This paper therefore provides a critical evaluation of the practice role of nurse lecturers over the last three decades. This paper argues that a practice role for nurse lecturers is an anachronistic concept and draws on an early paper (Glen and Clark 1999 ) and recent research on nurse lecturers' perceptions of their current role (Carr, 2007) and advocates, to quote the title of an earlier paper, a new skill mix for the future.