Bridging the gap between leaving clnical practice nursing and the effect of perceived role strain on successful role transition and intent to stay in academia
Cranford, Joan Sistrunk
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By the year 2020, 1 million registered nurse positions will be vacant in the United States. The shortage of nurses has been linked to the shortage of nursing faculty. In 2008, 50,000 applicants to professional nursing programs were turned away, including 6,000 students seeking masters and doctoral degrees. Nurses pursuing a career in higher education bring a strong clinical background to their new faculty role. However, transitioning from clinical practice to academia can become problematic, placing individuals in situations without tools to survive. This lack of preparedness for the faculty role results in dissatisfaction with the work place, limited effectiveness, and failure. Studies suggest that soon after nurses enter the nursing faculty role, there is intent to leave within 5 years. Possible factors contributing to this action are role ambiguity and role strain, which are related, according to the literature, to workload and job satisfaction. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of age, gender, education level, and previous experience on role strain experienced by nursing faculty, and the extent to which role strain predicted perceived satisfaction with the role transition and intent to stay in academia. A secondary purpose was to determine nursing faculty members’ perceived need for professional development. Nursing faculty in public 2-year and 4-year institutions in a southeastern state in the United States were invited to participate in a researcher-developed survey based on Rizzo and House’s Role Conflict/Role Ambiguity Survey. Simple and multiple regression analyses were conducted to answer the research questions. Role ambiguity (44%), interpersonal support (6%), self-assessed instructional competency (1%), and age (<1%) provided 52% of the variance of role strain. Role strain provided 34% of the variance of role transition, and 11% of the intent to stay in academia. Nursing faculty also viewed mentoring and specific faculty development programs as contributing to the success of nursing faculty in higher education. These findings provide practical contributions for administrators, policy makers, clinical practice nurses, and nursing faculty members who wish to understand and improve the current recruitment and retention issues.