Applicability of Social Cognitive Career Theory for Future Nursing Faculty Workforce Recruiting

Monday, 9 November 2015: 3:35 PM

Diana K. Bond, PhD, MS, BSN, RN-BC, CNE
Nursing Education Concentration, Graduate Division, College of Nursing, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA

This session reports on the usability of the Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) to explore intent for a future nursing faculty position by pre-licensure baccalaureate nursing students.  Despite the impending nursing faculty shortage, little theory based research has been conducted about how nursing students may be attracted to or dissuaded from a future nursing faculty role. SCCT was chosen for the study because this middle range theory has been used in more than 50 studies to explore college students’ career choices and found to be predictive.  Theory derivation was used to apply SCCT to the study.  The derived theory propositions were:  intent for a future nursing faculty role (career choice goal) is related to self-efficacy, outcome expectations, learning experiences, and interests in the activities of a faculty role; learning experiences include teaching experiences such as peer teaching, peer tutoring or other experiences and receiving role modeling and encouragement from a nursing faculty member will lead to increased interests, self-efficacy, outcome expectations and a career choice goal for a future nursing faculty role; and self-efficacy, outcome expectations and interest in the activities of a faculty role relate to a career choice goal for a future nursing faculty role.  The theory propositions led to the creation of a conceptual model of the SCCT constructs for career choice for a future nursing faculty role that included: 1) person inputs (gender, age, race/ethnicity); 2) distal background variables (parent education and occupation); 3) proximal background variables (type of nursing program, educational level, educational background; 4) supports and barriers; 5) self-efficacy for a faculty role; 6) learning experiences (previous teaching experience, observing a faculty role model and receiving encouragement); 7) interests in the activities/tasks of a faculty role; 8) outcome expectations (advantages and disadvantages or a faculty role); and, finally, 9) the outcome variable, career choice or intent for a future faculty role.

The research questions were: 

1)      What is the reliability of the multiple item measures of the SCCT constructs for those intending and those not intending to pursue a future nursing faculty role? 

2)      How well do the SCCT constructs predict intention to pursue a future nursing faculty role?

 A prospective correlational research design using a national convenience sample of 1,078 pre-licensure baccalaureate nursing students who responded to an online survey was used to answer the research questions.  This survey included the variables of location of nursing program, gender, age, race/ethnicity, parents’ education and occupation, type of nursing program, semesters/quarters of clinical nursing education, other degrees or education, supports/barriers to pursue a faculty role, self-efficacy to become a faculty member, types and positivity of previous teaching experiences, nursing faculty role modeling and encouragement to pursue a future faculty role, outcome expectations (advantages and disadvantages) of a future faculty role, and interests in the activities/tasks or a faculty role.  For the outcome variable, students were asked to strongly disagree, disagree, unsure, agree or strongly agree with the statement “In the future, I intend to pursue a nursing faculty role.” Almost 25% of the sample agreed or strongly agreed with the statement.

The students were divided into two groups to answer the research questions, those who agreed or strongly agreed with the statement became the high intent students and those who disagreed, strongly disagreed or were unsure became the low/unsure intent students.  Cronbach alphas demonstrated good reliability, ranging from .78-.89 with the exception of barriers, which had a Cronbach alpha of .61 for high intent students and .62 for low/unsure intent students. 

To compare the differences between the high intent students and the low/unsure intent students, Chi-square statistical tests were used for analyzing the categorical variables and independent-samples-t-tests were used for the continuous variables. All statistical analyses were performed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 18. Preliminary analyses were conducted to ensure there was no multicollinearity among the predictor variables and that all levels of the binary categorical predictor variables had sufficient counts. Eleven predictor variables (age, type of nursing program, supports, barriers, self-efficacy for a faculty role, teaching experience, faculty role modeling, encouragement for pursuit of a faculty role, outcome expectations-advantages, outcome expectations-disadvantages and interests in the activities/tasks of a faculty member) were individually statistically significant and were inputted into the logistic regression model.  The full statistical model containing all 11 predictors was statistically significant, [c2 (11, N = 1,078) = 300.94, p < .001], indicating that the model was able to distinguish between the high intent students and the low/unsure intent students. The Hosmer and Lemeshow Goodness of Fit Test was non-significant, (c2 (8) = 6.76, p = .56), indicating good fit of the model. The model as a whole explained between 24.4% (Cox and Snell R square) and 36.2% (Nagelkerke R square) of the variance in the students’ intention status for pursuit of a future nursing faculty role.

While all 11 predictor variables were individually statistically significant, six made a statistically significant contribution to the logistic regression model [interest in the activities/tasks of a faculty role (OR = 2.4), type of nursing program (OR = 2.1), outcome expectations-advantages (OR = 1.9), previous teaching experience (OR = 1.7), encouragement to pursue a faculty role (OR = 1.5), and outcome expectations-disadvantages (OR = 0.8)]. Variables that were not statistically significant in the logistic regression model were age, supports, barriers, self-efficacy for a faculty role, and role modeling.

 SCCT provided a comprehensive approach to investigate career intent and is recommended to be a robust theory to examine career choice intent in future studies of nursing students.