Strategies for Developing Expert Clinicians into Clinical Faculty: Lessons Learned from a Hybrid Faculty Academy Experience

Sunday, 8 November 2015: 4:20 PM

Lisa A. Seldomridge, PhD, MSN, BSN, RN
Tina P. Brown Reid, EdD, MSN, BSN, RN
Katherine A. Hinderer, PhD, RN, CCRN, CNE
Judith M. Jarosinski, PhD, RN, CNE
Department of Nursing, Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD, USA

Background:  Across the U.S., the scarcity of nursing faculty has been identified as central to the ongoing nursing shortage. Recruitment and retention of highly qualified individuals from diverse backgrounds to teach students in clinical settings is challenging regardless of locale, but is more acute in rural and physically-isolated communities.  Educating practicing nurse experts about the complexity of the clinical academic environment requires a multidimensional approach along with ongoing mentorship and support during the transition from one role to the other. 

The Eastern Shore Faculty Academy and Mentoring Initiative (ES-FAMI), a regional educational program serving a geographically-isolated peninsula in Maryland, is a partnership among three schools of nursing:  a four-year comprehensive public university, a two-year community college, and a four-year private institution with an Afrocentric focus. The ES-FAMI experience, offered in a hybrid format, includes face-to-face meetings, interactive online modules, simulated clinical teaching experiences, and mentoring. Specific goals of the ES-FAMI are to recruit a racially, ethnically, and gender-diverse group of participants with special emphasis on the clinical specialisties of psych/mental health, maternal/newborn, pediatrics, and community health. Topics for the online modules include exploration of the similarities and differences in curriculum design of the three partner programs, legal aspects of clinical teaching, how to create an environment for student learning while protecting patient safety, approaches to structuring for pre-and post-clinical conferences, alternative approaches to evaluating student performance, dealing with difficult student situations, and managing the personal challenges of multiple simultaneous roles.

Originally designed as a three year grant, the project was so successful that a one-year extension was sought to continue offering the academy and expand the mentorship aspects of the program. Mentoring activities include periodic face-to-face meetings to discuss challenging clinical situations and how to manage them, one-to-one shadowing with experienced faculty, site visits to academy graduates who had undertaken clinical teaching assignments for one of the partner schools, and workshops on such topics as “organizing a clinical experience”, “methods to track student assignments/patient diagnoses/clinical skills”, and “providing constructive feedback on student written work”. To date, seven academies have been held, yielding forty-four graduates, 77% of whom have taken clinical adjunct teaching assignments with one or more of the three partner schools. At the conclusion of the four year Maryland Higher Education Nurse Support Program-II grant project, nine academies will have been held with a projected total of sixty participants.

Conclusion:  This structured faculty academy experience has given clinicians the foundational tools needed to transition to a clinical faculty role and has provided the partner schools with a pool of talented part-time educators. Ongoing challenges include the need for continued mentorship of academy participants, redefinition of roles and expectations with each of the partner schools, the need for strong leadership from at least one of the partners to assure quality and continuity in online course management and implementation of simulated teaching experiences, and the importance of a flexible plan for sustainability when grant funding ends.