Award Date

May 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Lori Candela

Second Committee Member

Reimund Serafica

Third Committee Member

Alona Angosta

Fourth Committee Member

Joseph Morgan

Number of Pages




Even as nursing programs attempt to meet public demands for more registered nurses in the workforce, they are challenged with finding qualified clinical faculty to teach them. Many programs have had to turn away otherwise qualified applicants due to lack of faculty. One solution to the shortage of nursing faculty has been to increase the number of part-time clinical faculty. Many clinical faculty hired for part-time positions hold degrees outside of nursing education. Additionally, new, full-time faculty are frequently expected to immediately begin teaching one or more clinical groups. While those new full-time and part-time faculty enter their role as expert clinicians, many lack knowledge or formal instruction in working with students in clinical settings.

A review of the literature revealed a small amount of information available on the issue of clinical faculty preparation for the role. What is known is that there has been a lack of guidance and support for clinical faculty. Clinical faculty have admitted to passing underperforming students for several reasons in the clinical setting. Among the reasons that underperforming students pass in the clinical setting are unclear evaluation criteria/processes and grading processes. Clinical faculty have indicated that they receive little or no helpful orientations prior to beginning their role as clinical faculty. Nursing programs that have orientations were described as beneficial, but the information received was general. Passing underperforming students can compromise patient safety.

Malcolm Knowles’s adult learning theory and Kolb’s experiential learning theory were used as the framework for the study. The adult learning theory and experiential learning theory focused on how adults learn. Nurses who have taken on the role of clinical faculty have brought a vast amount of knowledge and expertise. Understanding how adults learn and transfer knowledge into their new role provided a base for understanding what preparation new clinical faculty need to fulfill their role.

A Delphi study was used to explore the preparation and support needs of undergraduate clinical faculty. Three rounds were used in the Delphi study. Round 1 included the use of an open-ended questionnaire to obtain the opinions of a panel of 15 experts on what preparation they believed was needed for new clinical faculty. Round 2 used a Likert scale completed by 77 clinical nursing faculty, developed from information obtained in Round 1. Round 1 data was analyzed using content analysis and frequency counts. Round 2 data was analyzed with inferential statistics, specifically an independent t-test.

Results of the study indicated that faculty with a nursing education background were more likely to use a colleague as a resource person, t(74) = 2.35, p = .022. They also indicated that they had received more relevant content in their original training t(74) = 4.09, p = .000, that they had received more verbal instruction t(74) = 2.11, p = .038, and that they had received a brief overview of the clinical faculty role t(42) = 2.38, p =.022, than nurses with other educational backgrounds. Participants were asked to rank topics that were identified by the experts in Round 1, participants ranked expectations on their role as clinical nursing faculty highest (36.4%). Significant differences were also found between part-time and full-time faculty. Part-time faculty reported that they received less support, t(75) = -2.96, p = .004, were less likely to have a mentor, t(75) = -4.28, p = .000, received no formal training, t(75) = 2.09, p = .04, and less content presented in their educational preparation, t(51) = -2.32, p = .024, than full-time faculty. Results of the study indicated that faculty who had received a degree in nursing education and full-time faculty had a better understanding of their role and expectations as clinical nursing faculty.


clinical; faculty; nursing



File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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Included in

Nursing Commons