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Hummel, Faye I

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The national nursing shortage is compounded by a critical shortage of nursing faculty. Despite a growing interest in nursing, thousands of qualified applicants are turned away primarily due to lack of faculty to teach. The recruitment of expert nurses from clinical practice is one strategy being utilized by many colleges and universities to fill faculty vacancies. Many novice educators enter academia lacking formal preparation in teaching and learning; orientation and mentoring programs vary greatly between institutions, making the transition challenging. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to gain insight into the experiences of clinical nurse experts transitioning to the role of novice educators. Nine novice educators from associate degree nursing programs in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States participated in this study. In-depth interviews using open-ended questions were conducted, recorded, and transcribed verbatim. Data analysis and manual coding resulted in five themes: (a) anticipating the transition, (b) starting out, (c) learning to teach, (d) factors influencing the transition, and (e) getting there. Findings from this study revealed the transition experience from expert clinician to novice educator to be complex and challenging. Participants lacked knowledge about how to teach and were ill-prepared for the role of nurse educator. Many experienced shortened orientations and inadequate mentoring and had to navigate academia on their own. Informal mentoring and support by co-workers was found to play a critical role in facilitating the transition. Novice educators also reported that their nursing expertise and experience was helpful in increasing their comfort level in the clinical setting. Despite many challenges, participants exhibited perseverance and started to identify growth, recognize rewards, find satisfaction in their role, and a desire to continue. Findings from this study support previous findings in the nursing literature. This study uniquely contributes to the body of knowledge by filling in a research gap: the transition experience in full-time appointments in the community college setting. Implications for nursing education include identifying educators earlier in their careers, integrating pedagogical training in graduate education including a teaching practicum, developing evidence-based orientation and mentoring programs, and advocating for funding to make faculty salaries more competitive with industry and advanced practice.


Education, Faculty, Novice, Nursing, Transition


241 pages

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