Junior Faculty Teaching Fellowship: A Model to Support Nursing Education Development

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The transition from expert clinician to educator can be a challenging professional adjustment. Fulfilling the role of nurse educator may be difficult because clinical or research expertise alone is inadequate preparation for nurse faculty1 and the incongruence between clinical and academic cultures.2 Typical demands of the academic role for nurse educators include classroom and clinical teaching, research and scholarship, service, and continued clinical practice. Research confirms that many nurse faculty acquire nurse competencies “on the job”; however, there has been a call for more intentional role preparation.3-6
Knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for successful clinical practice often contrast with those required for teachers. Examples of academic skills may include lecture preparation, clinical thinking promotion, and student precepting. A professional identity shift from clinician to academic must take place to be successful as an educator.7 Although the literature clearly identifies these challenges, there is little outcome data to determine best approaches to facilitate this role transition. Weidman8 found that a substantive orientation, faculty development, and consistent mentoring are key aspects of a successful role integration for novice faculty. Research supports a structured mentoring program, which improves the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of novice nursing faculty.6,9
Currently, there are no universal models specific to aiding in the transition to nursing faculty in higher education. The purpose of this article is to describe an innovative, collaborative program for supporting transition and development of critical skills for novice faculty. The article describes the format of a nursing-specific cohort of the Junior Faculty Teaching Fellowship (JFTF) and discusses the nursing faculty’s value of participation in the program.
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