This paper reports tentative findings from a survey (undertaken in 2001) of education staff employed to teach nurses and midwives in four higher education institutions in the South West of England, with specific focus on answers regarding clinical skills and practice within a wider aim of evaluating training needs. A 57 item self-administered postal questionnaire was sent out to 760 educators, 426 were returned with a response rate of 56%. The results were analysed using SPSS version 9, using descriptive statistics focusing on the responses of HE staff and lecturer practitioners on joint appointments. Findings suggest HE staff teach a limited range of (defined) clinical skills, they have varying and wide definitions of clinical skills, less confidence in teaching skills in practice, minimal experience in working in practice settings and difficulties in engagement in practice. They continue to experience role diversity and a wide variation in meeting clinical demands for clinical competence. Definitions of clinical practice and practice skill are explored in relation to the need for nurse teachers to have ‘recent and practical experience of nursing’. A range of education roles are explored
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