Title: The lived experience of a nurse transitioning from a clinical setting to an academic environment
The transition from nursing practice to academia is a challenging experience. Nurse educators new to the academic setting often experience role conflict and reality shock as they leave a clinically-oriented setting to academia. The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe and provide a deeper understanding of the previously unexplored experience of nurses transitioning from clinical settings to academic environments. A purposive sample of seven nurse educators described their experience and the narrative data from these interviews was analyzed using Coliazzi’s methodology. The findings revealed that the nurse’s ‘innate desire for teaching’ was the main impetus for transitioning to an academic role. Three major themes central to the lived experiences of neophyte nurse educators were identified. The three themes gleaned from this phenomenological study included: (1) struggling with the challenges in academia, (2) adjusting to the new role, and (3) balancing clinical background with academic responsibilities. The results of this study indicate there is a need for extensive graduate preparation for the academic role. Moreover, the study revealed a dire need for: 1) well-designed and long-term peer mentoring support, 2) allocation of resources to support newly-hired faculty, and 3) a formal evaluation system of novice nurse educators.
Audience Take Away Notes:
• Revision of the Faculty Mentorship Program
• Reinforce a consistent utilization of guidelines and criteria for candidate peer evaluations
• Strategies to maintain faculty clinical practice and balance it with the teaching load
• Allocate resources to assist neophyte faculty for the new role