Giving Up Their Place in the Wall: The Lived Experience of Community College Nursing Faculty Who Leave the Profession of Teaching
Karl, Cherry A
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ABSTRACT Title of Dissertation: GIVING UP THEIR PLACE IN THE WALLS: THE LIVED EXPERIENCE OF COMMUNITY COLLEGE NURSING FACULTY WHO LEAVE THE PROFESSION OF TEACHING Cherry Ann Caldwell Karl, Doctor of Philosophy, 2007 Dissertation directed by: Professor Francine H. Hultgren Department of Education Policy Studies Community college nursing faculty members are essential to the continuation and growth of the profession of nursing. Every loss of a nursing faculty member represents an even greater loss to the practice of nursing within the health care system. Previous research has documented the serious and inter-related shortage of both nursing professionals and nursing faculty. This phenomenological study explores the underlying themes leading to the decisions made by nursing educators to leave the practice of teaching, and presents strategies for preserving and strengthening the position of nursing faculty within the community college. The guiding question for this inquiry is: "What is the lived experience of community college nursing faculty who leave the profession of teaching?" Text for this study comes from narrative sources such as reflective writings and one-on-one conversations with six former full-time community college nursing faculty members. In chapters two and three, I turn to the literature and am guided by the phenomenological philosophers such as Heidegger, Gadamer, and Casey. Nursing leaders and their work provide me with grounding for the study and to help me to draw out the phenomenon for investigation. The six research activities of van Manen provide the methodological framework for the research. Chapter four is a meeting place for those who tell their stories. The nursing faculty members who offer up their stories journey with me as I explore the meanings of their experiences. These conversations help to unravel the experiences of being a teacher of nurses and offer a place for their voices to be heard. Several themes that were uncovered showed a lack of a welcoming into teaching, unrealistic workload expectations and work-family conflict. Using the metaphor of sheltering walls, the study explores the needs of nursing faculty members to find, claim and maintain an appropriate dwelling place in order to sustain professional growth and well-bring. Pedagogical insights serve as a challenge to nurse educators to fortify the bonds of community within nursing education programs. Program administrators and faculty alike must accept the responsibility to look beyond what is most apparent, communicating awareness of individual and common needs and strengths in order to continue to enrich the lives of their students and of each other.