Teachers At Heart: A Case Study Exploration Of The Role Transition From Clinical Nurse To Community College Adjunct Clinical Nursing Instructor
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentCommunity College Leadership Program
ProgramDoctor of Education
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The shortage of nursing faculty is limiting the number of students community colleges are able to enroll (National League for Nursing, 2014). The use of adjunct clinical nursing instructors may help lessen the impact of this shortage, while allowing nurses to gain valuable academic experience. An understanding of the process these nurses go through when transitioning from the practice of clinical nursing to the role of a teacher may help to identify strategies for better recruitment, support, and retention of these instructors. This qualitative case study of adjunct clinical nursing instructors teaching at rural community colleges in one Mid-Atlantic state examined the role transition from clinical nurse to adjunct clinical nursing instructor. Schoening's (2009) Nurse Educator Transition Theory Model was examined as a potential framework for elucidating this phenomenon. While Schoening (2009) had studied full-time didactic nursing instructors in baccalaureate nursing programs, the aim of the present investigation was to extend her study to adjunct clinical nursing instructors in rural community colleges. Works of Dreyfus and Dreyfus (1986), Benner (2001), and Schoening (2009) served as the theoretical framework for this qualitative case study. The study findings revealed that nurse instructors typically go through a four-phase transition process, comprising of (1) realizing that I am an educator at heart, (2) picking it up on my own, (3) encountering the reality of first year experiences, and (4) feeling comfortable in the nurse educator role. These phases were similar to those identified by Schoening, who also revealed some sub-phases that were not applicable to this sample. The instructors that took part in the present study identified a need for more robust orientation and mentoring programs to assist them in transitioning from the practice of clinical nursing to clinical nursing instruction.