THE INFLUENCE of CULTURE on Clinical Nurses Transitioning into the FACULTY ROLE

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe how cultural differences and similarities affect the transition of nurses into the faculty role from professional clinical practice. Components of culture (e.g., values and beliefs) of seven nurses new to the faculty role were examined using multiple methods of document review, interviews, and observations. Results demonstrated that cultural dissonance creates conflict in new nurse faculty as the values they bring from clinical practice influence their transition into academe. Cultural dissonance can be improved through formal education, mentoring, and socialization to the faculty role. It is recommended that schools of nursing adopt the values inherent in the nursing profession.

Key Words Academic Values - Culture - Nursing Faculty -Transition - Socialization - Cultural Dissonance

With a national shortage of nurse faculty affecting the ability of nursing education programs to meet the national demand for nurses, clinical nurses are joining the academy as faculty members. AN UNDERSTANDING of how cultural differences affect their transition into the faculty role CAN HELP schools of nursing adopt and implement supportive strategies and policy changes that will improve retention in the nursing education community. Although differences among the various nursing roles have been acknowledged in the literature, the transition into the nurse faculty role has not been studied from a cultural perspective.

Literature Review A review of the theoretical and empirical literature revealed that the nursing profession, the academic discipline of nursing, and the academic professorate all possess values and beliefs consistent with having a culture unique to each entity. Reference to nursing as a specific culture with identifiable norms, values, and beliefs is first noted in publications by Leininger dating from the late 1960s (1,2). In the years following Leininger's preliminary writings, research specifically related to the culture of nursing is absent. However, several studies (3-5) identified common values in nursing.

While a review of the academic literature revealed extensive theoretical research related to academic disciplines in general, little research could be found that focused specifically on culture and the academic discipline of nursing. The literature supports the concept of disciplinary subcultures with faculty in various disciplines exhibiting diverse values, beliefs, and attitudes that are related to the subculture of the discipline (6-8).

Previous research on the socialization of nurses primarily addressed the transition of nursing students into the nursing profession (9,10). Furthermore, most of the literature related to nurse faculty socialization focused on issues of role conflict related to workload (11,12), job satisfaction (13), and balancing the traditional faculty components of scholarship, teaching, service, and practice (14-16). While much literature exists related to the nursing profession, the academic discipline of nursing, and the academic professorate, there is an overall lack of recent research framed from a cultural perspective in all three areas.

Significance to Nursing Education The shortage of educationally prepared nurse faculty, a growing and pressing issue across the nation, is interwoven with the current deficit of registered nurses (17). At a time when the need for nurses continues to grow, faculty shortages impede the ability of schools of nursing to meet the demand for increased enrollments (18).

Nursing education has evolved from the clinical arena into the academic setting (19), and nursing education today occurs within a formal academic structure. Unlike health disciplines that require a terminal degree for faculty positions, such as physical therapy, medicine, and pharmacy, only half of all nurse faculty hold doctoral degrees (20). Consequently, the nursing profession is experiencing a shortage of new faculty at the same time that many faculty are returning to school for doctoral education. …