The United States is in a long term shortage of nurses affecting all areas of the profession, including academic nursing. The shortage of faculty members in nursing restricts entry of new nurses thus continuing the shortage profession-wide. If the broader shortage is to be addressed, the shortage of academic nurses needs to be examined. As part of this research, an integrated model of career choice and progression was proposed based on a landscape where each career is a mountain within the range of careers. Choice of career is often restricted due to social norms, not unlike travel and vision in a mountain setting. Career progression often involves educational attainment that, when consolidated in degrees or licenses, establishes floors, like mountain plateaus, where further attainment is not required. Finally, bridges from those plateaus allow individuals to changes careers and return without loss of rights due to the consolidated educational attainment. This model was the theoretical guide in a descriptive phenomenological study examining initial career choice and progression to academic practice in professors of nursing. Interviews were conducted with ten nursing faculty members at a large, Midwestern university teaching in programs leading to initial nursing licensure. The interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed for content analysis during which themes emerged detailing the career trajectory. Four overarching themes emerged, three containing additional subthemes. The initial pursuit of nursing, theme number one, found participants were typically late deciders in pursuing a career in nursing and had loose initial ties to the profession. Redirection and transitioning to nursing, theme two, contained several sub-themes including those discussing the influence of the participant's teachers, dissatisfaction with early nursing roles, and transitioning to academia. Continuing in academia, theme three, included thoughts on interacting with students, the desire to continue learning, and maintaining a clinical role. Finally, financial considerations, theme four, brought discussions of income differentials between academic and clinical nurses with equal education, non-academic support, and the costs of the necessary degrees. Important aspects of the theoretical model found validation in the results and appropriate recommendations for academic policy changes are made based on the results.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. November 2013. Major: Health Services Research, Policy and Administration. Advisor: James Begun. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 135 pages.
Entry Into Nursing And Academic Nursing: Career Trajectories Of Nursing Faculty Members.
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