This qualitative study explored the experiences of 13 nursing school deans to understand how their personal characteristics and nursing background influence how they perform their role and manage challenges as dean. The conceptual framework, based on role theory and Mintzberg's Model of Managing, provided a lens through which the nursing dean's journey from practitioner to dean and her role as dean could be explored. The four themes that emerged were: Core: Always a Nurse; Character: Playing the Part; Context: Facing the Issues; and Connection: Creating Solutions. By connecting with their core as a nurse, the deans were able to draw upon their nursing experiences in performing their role and creating solutions to their challenges. This core, shaped by their strong sense of self as a nurse, their journey to the deanship, their past experiences, and their gender influenced who they became as dean and the parts they played. In playing these parts, they performed informative, supportive, and active roles that were congruent with Mintzberg's information, people, and action planes. The challenges, which the deans perceived as being mainly related to student, faculty, and resource concerns, required that they adapt and blend their roles to create solutions. The solutions focused on meeting the students' needs and included getting resources and results, setting the course and boundaries, letting others have the glory and control, and netting internal and external bonds. By building strong connections, the deans in this study created a secure net for their students to ensure they had the necessary resources to be successful. Recommendations for policy and practice include empowering nursing deans to remain connected to the profession and practice, preparing future deans, and advocating for the profession. Areas for future research include exploring the nursing dean's role among various populations, such as male and minority deans. Although the nursing dean's professional journey has taken her away from clinical practice where she began her career, she will always be a nurse at heart.
|Advisor:||Haviland, Donald J.|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 72/11, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Higher Education Administration, Educational leadership, Nursing|
|Keywords:||Nursing schools, Program directors|
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