Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Out from the periphery: Engaging nursing clinical adjunct faculty in their professional development
by Shearer, Debra Connolly, Ed.D., Rowan University, 2008, 174; 3379865
Abstract (Summary)

In 2005 the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reported that 32,000 qualified nursing candidates were turned away from baccalaureate nursing programs, primarily due to the shortage of nursing faculty. This shortage limited the number of students permitted to enroll in nursing programs when the need for nurses continues to grow. An additional report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2007) indicated that 92,000 qualified nursing applicants were turned away from undergraduate programs during 2006. The shortage of registered nurses will increase to 340,000 by the year 2020 (Auerbach, Buerhaus, & Staiger 2007). This acute shortage has prompted dramatic growth in undergraduate nursing programs, resulting in an unplanned need for nursing faculty.

Clinical nursing faculty is currently challenged by numerous variables: The majority of clinical faculty consists of part-time or contracted employees, many of whom hold full-time positions elsewhere in healthcare settings. Most clinical adjunct faculty has not received formal education as teachers or faculty (AACN, 2003; Diekelmann, 2004; Kelly, 2006). Due to part-time status, important adjunct clinical faculty remains at the periphery of the academic community. As a result, adjunct clinical faculty is disconnected from mentors, academic policies, and academic culture as a whole.

Clinical adjunct faculty at Drummer University has not been surveyed formally or informally regarding what would aid them in their development as clinical faculty. As the University cultivated relationships with clinical adjunct faculty, it provided professional development resources necessary for faculty to become nursing educators.

As a result of this study, I examined how my actions improved the environment at Drummer University: By enacting my espoused transformational leadership I led the University in articulating and demonstrating the importance of clinical adjunct nursing faculty by building an academic community for clinical adjunct faculty and by increasing faculty engagement related to professional development.

By following the professional development initiatives of set forth in this study, and as a result of their participation in it, clinical adjunct faculty reported significantly higher levels of connectivity to the University; their feelings of being strongly connected to the Institution improved from 23% to 32%.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Coaxum, James
Commitee: Blunt, Elizabeth, Doolittle, Virginia
School: Rowan University
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- New Jersey
Source: DAI-A 70/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Adult education, Nursing, Higher education
Keywords: Adjunct facultuy, Clinical, Clinical faculty, Continuing education, Nursing, Part-time faculty, Professional development
Publication Number: 3379865
ISBN: 978-1-109-49565-2
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