This article describes the contributions of academic nursing practice to nursing education; delineates the role characteristics and competencies needed by academic practice deans; and provides examples of the challenges and issues academic practice deans face related to nursing education, research, and practice. While schools' missions vary from a strong focus on education to multiple emphases on education, research, and practice, academic nursing practice has the potential to facilitate achievement in each of these areas. Academic nursing practice deans play important roles in advancing the missions of their schools through the clinical practice activities within the schools. Strong academic nursing practice programs can serve as catalysts for the development and refinement of new models of care delivery and for the development of future nursing leaders who are comfortable with innovation.
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