Lecturer practitioners in six professions: combining cultures

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Abstract

Background

Whilst research has been undertaken in relation to the lecturer practitioner role in nursing, there have been no cross-professional studies. There is an explicit political agenda in the United Kingdom on interprofessional education and enhancing the status of those who provide practice-based teaching.

Aim

This paper reports a study to investigate the commonalities and differences between lecturer practitioners across professions and to generate hypotheses about the role, which follows different models of practice in the different professions.

Methods

An exploratory research design was adopted, using semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of lecturer practitioners from six professions (architecture, clinical psychology, law, medicine, nursing and social work). A grounded theory approach was used.

Findings

All lecturer practitioners perceived a clear dichotomy between their professional practice role and their university role. All used similar strategies to adapt to and deal with combining two very differently perceived cultures. There were striking similarities in response to the consequences of serving ‘two masters’ in the areas of time management and role identity/definition.

Conclusions

The role not only bridges theory and practice, but has to operate within very different organizational cultures. Further research is needed to test the generalizability of the findings.

Relevance to clinical practice

This investigation aims to inform higher education and health service policy on lecturer practitioners, and also provide support for those undertaking this challenging role. The study poses challenging questions for policymakers in the current climate of interprofessional learning, which need to be addressed if future initiatives in this area are to be successful.

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