Evaluation of Clinical Adjunct Faculty, Clinical Teaching Partners (CTPs), and Internship Preceptors Educational Needs, Challenges, and Barriers

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Jennifer Titzer, DNP, RN
Undergraduate and Graduate Nursing Program, University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, IN, USA
Rose O. Sherman, EdD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN
Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL, USA
Barbara Manz Friesth, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, Indiana University, Indianapolis,, IN, USA

Purpose: Due to the shortage of nurse faculty, employment of clinical experts as supplemental clinical faculty is essential.  Ensuring the nursing programs’ objectives and desired learning outcomes are met requires strategic development and evaluation methods addressing the unique needs of the supplemental clinical faculty.  As part of the Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy (NFLA) sponsored by Sigma Theta Tau International and Elsevier, a nurse scholar led a group of five nursing faculty in the design and implementation of a program evaluating the challenges and needs of supplemental nursing clinical faculty.  The scholar was charged with leading the team and engaging stakeholders.  Stakeholders included nursing leaders from local healthcare facilities and University leaders, which expanded the scholar’s scope of influence. 


Methods:  The NFLA scholar participated in an 18 month program that included a personal Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) evaluation and an individualized leadership development plan (ILDP).  The IDLP focused on improving the scholar’s leadership behaviors centering on Kouzes and Posner’s five leadership practices.  To successfully implement the project the scholar had to lead the team and focus on each member’s strengths. This required the leader to assess each member’s individual strengths and inspire a shared vision while enabling the team to act to ensure the program was implemented and completed within the allotted timeframe.  The team developed focus group and survey questions to identify the challenges and educational needs of supplemental clinical faculty.  The supplemental clinical faculty included adjunct clinical faculty, clinical teaching partners assigned to dedicated education units, and clinical teaching associates used in a senior nursing internship course. The focus group narrative was recorded and dictated by the University’s outreach department.  Common themes were identified within the three focus group reports.  The online survey results were analyzed and those questions that were scored the lowest on the Likert scale, indicating a lack of confidence in that competency, were identified. 

Results:    The team collaboratively organized three focus groups for each of the supplemental clinical faculty groups.  Fifteen supplemental clinical faculty attended the focus groups and 18 supplemental clinical faculty completed the online surveys.  Focus group responses suggested supplemental clinical faculty need a better understanding of the expectations and objectives so they could more effectively evaluate students.  Online survey responses indicated supplemental clinical faculty feel they need more training and education to more effectively meet the needs of the nursing students.  The areas scored the lowest on the surveys coincided with the focus group responses and designated workshops are needed to help supplemental faculty recognize the appropriate knowledge, skills, and attitudes of nursing students varying from novice, advance beginner, and competent.  In addition, clarification of the clinical evaluation form is needed to help supplemental faculty use it to assess students’ performance. 

The scholar expanded her scope of practice by engaging project stakeholders and being appointed to positions on the University’s Alumni Council and the Foundation Board.  These appointments provided the scholar additional avenues to work on her ILDP and improve leadership behaviors.  Results from the team led project are actively being disseminated.  The evaluation model used in the project was presented at one national and one international conference.  In addition, a manuscript describing the evaluation method, results, and subsequent workshops is pending.  

Conclusions:  Common practice in many undergraduate nursing programs is to utilize supplemental clinical faculty; however, to ensure successful attainment of program and student outcomes, ongoing development of these individuals is essential.  This pilot study is an initial step in identifying and addressing the unique needs of clinical experts placed in the role of supplemental clinical faculty. The NFLA scholar was able to improve leadership behaviors by inspiring a shared vision and enabling others to act.  In addition, her scope of influence was increased through the project by engaging both University and community stakeholders, which will provide further avenues for future leadership roles and meet the goals of her IDLP.