Faculty Mentoring of DNP Students

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Nancy N. Manister, DNS, CNS, FNP-BC
School of Nursing, Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT, USA
Keville C. Frederickson, EdD, RN, FAAN
Lienhard School of Nursing, Pace University, Pleasantville, NY, USA
D. Anthony (Tony) Forrester, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN
Division of Nursing Science, Rutgers University School of Nursing, Newark, NJ, USA


Background:  The Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Faculty Leadership (NFLA) Academy experience, which is supported in partnership with the Elsevier Foundation, provided an opportunity to develop faculty leadership skills and expand my scope of influence through identification and development of a team leadership project. The first step in this process was the formation of a triad, consisting of a Leadership Mentor - Keville Frederickson EdD, RN, FAAN, NFLA; a Faculty Advisor - D. Anthony Forrester PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN; FAAN, and Scholar – Nancy N. Manister DNS, CNS, FNP-BC. The triad relationship provided critical support throughout the NFLA experience.

The NFLA team leadership project - Faculty Mentoring of DNP Students – was developed to advance nursing education by providing needed information about the mentoring relationship between DNP student and faculty mentor. Information is needed about this relationship as most DNP programs are new, and best practices for mentoring have not been established.

Purpose:  The purpose of this experience was to promote leadership development for junior nursing faculty through varied educational strategies focused on knowledge, competence, and outcomes.

Methods:  The NFLA 21-month program utilized a curriculum based upon leadership development of the scholar across three domains: individual leadership development; advancing nursing education through a team leadership project; and expanding the scholar’s scope of influence within the academic institution, the community, and the nursing profession. Two 3-day intensive workshops and continued support by the leadership mentor and faculty advisor served to guide the scholar through this experience. Kouzes and Posner’s Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership were utilized as a basis to assess the scholar’s strengths and weaknesses, and provided a framework for leadership development. As well, Kouzes and Posner’s leadership practices were used to develop a team leadership project aimed at advancing nursing education through assessment of needs and expectations of DNP student mentees and DNP faculty mentors, development of a four hour mentoring workshop, and workshop evaluation. Opportunities were identified for increasing the scholar’s scope of influence throughout the program experience.

Results: The NFLA scholar utilized self-assessment tools, self-reflection, as well as feedback from the leadership mentor and faculty advisor to determine two areas of focus for individual leadership development: model the way; and enable others to act. A team was formed to develop, implement, and evaluate a team project at Fairfield University. The project team consisted of two nursing faculty members, a university administrator, and the NFLA scholar. The NFLA leadership mentor and faculty advisor provided valued input and support throughout this process. The team project - Faculty Mentoring of DNP Students - was successful in determining mentoring needs and expectations of DNP students, and expectations and beliefs of DNP faculty mentors. A positive mentoring workshop experience was provided to a group of DNP faculty mentors and student mentees, and evaluations of this workshop will be used to develop and plan for future workshops and inform mentoring practices for DNP programs. The experience of participating in the NFLA served as a spring board for the scholar to increase scope of influence within the university (organization), the community, and the nursing profession.

Conclusions:  The intensive NFLA experience provides an invaluable opportunity for the junior nurse faculty member to develop key leadership skills. Supported by the triad relationship and continued self-assessment and reflection, this program demonstrates a successful strategy for developing nurse faculty leaders of the future.