Developing a Mentoring Program for DNP-Prepared Nurse Faculty

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Tamatha Arms, DNP, RN, PMHNP-BC, NP-C1
Nanette Lavoie-Vaughan, DNP1
Gwen Sherwood, PhD, RN, FAAN2
(1)School of Nursing, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, NC, USA
(2)School of Nursing, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Chapel hill, NC, USA

The growing shortage of nurse faculty across the nation is contributing to the national nurse shortage. Many programs are limited to the number of students accepted due to the limited number of faculty available to teach required courses. At the same time, many nurse educators are expected to retire within the next few years nationally (Yedida, 2014). An increasing number of nurse educators are completing a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) as their terminal degree. The DNP is different from a PhD as the latter prepares graduates for tenure track positions in academia, where the former is practice focused. It is important to retain DNP prepared nurse faculty, therefore, developing a mentoring program to retain them is essential. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) stated, “individuals who desire a role as an educator, whether that role is operationalized in a practice setting or the academy, should have additional preparation in the science of pedagogy” (2010, p.4). Given the growing need for nurse faculty nationally and the expected growth and need for Nurse Practitioners to meet the healthcare demands of society, DNP prepared nurse faculty are very much needed (Bednash, Breslin, Kirschling, & Rosetter, 2014). In many university settings, a clinical track is not an option for faculty with a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree and most universities do not place clinical practice as significant an area of contribution compared to teaching and research (Nicholes & Dyer, 2012). One study indicates that administrators expect to continue hiring mostly PhD prepared faculty but considering that the number of DNP graduates far outnumber PhD graduates, many programs are receiving mostly resumes from DNP prepared graduates (Oermann, Lynn, & Agger, 2016).

As a scholar in the STTI Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy (NFLA), development of a leadership project facilitated growth in personal leadership as well as expanding the scope of influence. The purpose of this project was to mentor new DNP prepared faculty in the tenure track process, and provided specific resources in areas of scholarship to be successful on a tenure track. Focus groups with DNP prepared nurse faculty were conducted to find out what they felt was lacking from a mentoring program. All participants were asked to complete the Rutgers national nurse educator job satisfaction survey as well. Some of these faculty have said, “I didn’t know what I didn’t know” after being in the role for 2 years. A course was designed in BlackBoard for all participants to use as a resource. Within this on-line course shell, resources on how to write for publication, managing journals responses, how to apply for and obtain funding are presented. Resources on leadership development and development as a nurse educator were also presented. This site was made available to all who chose to participate and was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It was hypothesized that nurse faculty who felt more prepared in their role, would have higher job satisfaction scores leading to less turn over. The ultimate goal is one of cultural change that accepts all doctorally prepared nurse faculty as equals with evaluation processes appropriate for each terminal degree.