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School of Nursing Faculty Presents Paper in Australia

Jane Grassley, professor and Jody DeMeyer Endowed Chair for the School of Nursing, presented a paper on Nov. 11 at the Joanna Briggs Institute 20th Anniversary conference and celebration in Adelaide, South Australia. The conference had an international audience.

The paper, “Transition from Clinical Expert to Novice Academic Educator, A Metasynthesis of the Qualitative Evidence,” reported the findings of a systematic review of the literature conducted with Andrea Lambe, former graduate assistant, and Pam Strohfus, associate professor and coordinator of the DNP program for the School of Nursing, which included qualitative evidence related to the experience of expert clinicians who transition to a novice nursing faculty role.

Grassley found that clinicians experienced feeling unprepared for the faculty role: for the differences between teaching and practice, and for relationships with students. Second, these clinicians-turned-faculty were no longer experts, which elicited uncomfortable feelings about being a novice again. They experienced fears of failing as a teacher, grief over losing their status as an expert clinician, and second-thoughts about their decision to enter a faculty role. Third, mentoring was the essential component in easing these facultys’ transition and included formal and informal mentoring; however, a lack of mentoring was a common experience. Novice faculty felt they were expected to figure out how to teach on their own. Fourth, a healthy transition was characterized by embracing a new identity as a nurse educator and beginning to thrive as a teacher.

In conclusion, Grassley found that the transition from expert clinician to novice faculty can be difficult as teaching is very different than practicing nursing. Schools of nursing can use these findings to create welcoming communities that provide ongoing orientation to the academic culture, intentional mentoring, and professional development in teaching and learning.

“I enjoyed this conference,” said Grassley. “Not only was the meeting set in the lovely Adelaide Botanical Gardens, I met nurses from all over the world. We had many interesting conversations about the importance of translating research findings into evidence-based practice and I was able to introduce others to the work we do at Boise State and the School of Nursing.”

The Joanna Briggs Institute is the international not-for-profit, research and development Centre within the Faculty of Health Sciences and Medical at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. It is an organization committed to promoting best health care practices through the synthesis and dissemination of best evidence.

Grassley joined the School of Nursing faculty in 2010 after teaching at Texas Woman’s University where she earned her PhD in nursing science in 2004. As a board certified lactation consultant, her research explores issues related to promoting breastfeeding. She also holds a joint appointment with Women’s Services at St. Luke’s Regional Health System to collaboratively develop research projects with the Treasure Valley hospital’s lactation consultants. These projects have focused on improving breastfeeding outcomes through nursing support.