Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Cooperating University

Western Kentucky University

Department (Legacy)

College of Education and Human Development

Committee Chair

Miller, Stephen K.

Author's Keywords

Nursing; Faculty; Nursing education


Nursing schools--Faculty; Medical teaching personnel--Attitudes; Nursing--Study and teaching (Associate degree); Nursing--Vocational guidance


The field of nursing currently faces a shortage of both nurses and nursing faculty. Yet, little is known about why clinical nurses opt to become nursing faculty. Qualitative investigations into this phenomenon are particularly rare. This study addressed these gaps in the context of career choice of faculty associate degree nursing (ADN) programs. The qualitative analysis was guided by Astin's (1984) psychosocial model of career choice. The central research question was, "What factors influence the career choice of nurse educators currently teaching in Kentucky associated degree nursing programs?" Faculty from the 20 ADN programs in public community colleges and 4-year institutions in Kentucky were studied. Two instruments were developed: Background Questionnaire for Nurse Educators (BQ) and Nurse Educator Interview Schedule (IS). Using purposeful sampling, one individual from each program comprised a matrix representing educational attainment, years of nursing faculty experience, and college size. Responses from semi-structured interviews were recorded and transcribed. Data for the 19 participants were entered into a Coded Master Analytical Tool (43 interview questions and 10 background survey items). Faculty interviews were synthesized into the Summarized IS Response Matrix and analyzed for concepts, themes, and patterns. Results were organized by the seven research questions and subquestions, mapped to the BQ and IS. Several findings had not been previously noted in the literature. Only the most prominent findings are noted here, including: (a) flexibility and role autonomy are key reasons for moving from clinical nursing to educator role; (b) faculty are sustained by psychic rewards of student relationships and success; (c) feedback from fellow faculty, administrators, and students is valuable; (d) new faculty lacked confidence in lecture preparation, examinations, and curriculum development, were comfortable with clinical evaluation and technology; (e) promotion/tenure and external service were confusing and negatively perceived; (f) love of teaching and lifelong learning were important aspects of their job; and (g) these different benefits compensated for lack of salary parity. The 19 responses resulted in few differences across the subgroups for educational attainment, years of nursing faculty experience, and college size.