An exploration of the experiences of expert nurse clinicians moving to the role of faculty educators in a New Zealand setting; a qualitative descriptive study
Over the previous twenty years nursing education has undergone major changes worldwide. Nurse training has shifted from an apprenticeship model in hospitals to being based in academic institutions. This move was envisioned to improve and maintain the quality of the nursing profession through research and evidence based practice informing a more holistic view of nurse education. As a result the role of the nurse educator has also needed to evolve (Gage & Hornblow, 2007).
New Zealand is suffering from a worldwide shortage of registered nurses in addition to an understaffed and aging nursing faculty (Schriner, 2007). Workforce analysts agree that the primary reason for the current shortage of registered nurses is this diminishing pool of faculty nurse educators (Penn, Wilson & Rosseter, 2008).
The literature review revealed a dearth of knowledge on this situation. An exploratory study was performed using a qualitative descriptive method to discover the experiences of six expert clinical nurses (as defined by a Professional Development Recognition Programme) in the New Zealand tertiary sector who have transitioned to the role of faculty nurse lecturer. Data was gathered by semi-structured interviews and analyzed identifying emerging themes of orientation, peer support and unpreparedness.
The purpose of this study was to develop a rich understanding of the New Zealand expert nurse clinician’s experiences when transitioning to the role of a nurse faculty educator. The aim was to identify themes that will enable improved retention and recruitment of qualified individuals to the faculty nurse educator role to support the quality education of nurses. What was revealed and confirmed by this exploratory study was the expectation that negative facets far outweighed the positive facets of the role change from expert nurse clinician to faculty educator.
The findings from this research have implications for retention and recruitment of qualified individuals to the faculty nurse educator role. With the increasing need for registered nurses and worldwide shortages in nursing staff, faculties are being impeded in their ability to meet the student’s educational needs. The findings from this study are important because one recommendation will be that appropriate support be given to new faculty educators. It is hoped this will result in less frustration, anxiety and doubt and new staff will remain in the faculty educator role which will support the quality education of nurses.