Nursing Faculty Development: A System Change to Foster Mentoring and Training

Monday, 9 November 2015: 10:00 AM

Nicole M. Giancaterino, DNP, MSN, RNC-OB, CNS/APN
Nursing, Chamberlain College of Nursing, South Elgin, IL, USA

An Illinois suburban nursing school experienced a high faculty turnover and an influx of inexperienced faculty.  To support the strategic goals to “build the infrastructure” and mentor and develop new faculty a Faculty Development program was created.  The program had a two-pronged approach: development of a Faculty Teaching Academy and initiation of a Faculty Mentoring Program.   The Mentoring Program and Faculty Academy were designed to develop supportive and encouraging relationships, provide a venue for communicating information about faculty expectations and provide learning opportunities and promote mutuality.   

Results of the programs provide evidence that faculty benefited from the mentoring relationships and academy activities.  They felt more prepared and supported in their roles as faculty, and they expressed a feeling of greater mutuality. Faculty also expressed a desire for continuation of these programs with greater inclusion of external speakers. As a result of the programs, faculty evidence a greater interested in publication opportunities and are pursuing these opportunities with greater frequency than in the past.   One recommendation for improvement of the programs includes earlier designation of the mentor/mentee dyad.  Poor communication about new faculty hires negatively impacted the mentoring process, since potential mentors were unaware of new hires until the weekend prior to their arrival.   Much of this can be attributed to poor communication between the Office of Human Resources and the college.  This resulted in missed opportunities to establish the mentor/mentee dyad well in advance of their initiation onto the campus.

Another recommendation includes the assignment of work load credit for faculty mentors.  While serving as a faculty mentor might be considered a professional responsibility, there is considerable time and work investment involved. For example, some faculty mentors serve in this role throughout the academic year in addition to assuming heavier committee and teaching loads.  In order to avoid mentor burn out, administration should consider strategies for imposing lighter teaching loads or providing work load credits.

A recognition process for the mentors should be established.  National and local recognition supports the caring philosophy that the college has for its faculty.  Emails, recognition boards, and newsletters highlights are examples of methods that could be used.

Many experienced faculty expressed a desire to also have a mentor. Their original, informal mentor had either left the college or transferred into a national position.  While they still held relationships with those colleagues, faculty requested a campus-based mentor.  In addition, faculty expressed a desire to create a process for experienced faculty to mentor each other.

The institution of a Teaching Academy and Mentoring Program proved to be a highly rewarding endeavor.  The program will continue to evolve and be revised as needed.