Exploring the Role Transition from Registered Nurse to Clinical Instructor: A Narrative Inquiry
Administrators of nursing undergraduate degree programs are hiring adjunct faculty into clinical instructor roles to sustain clinical education in the midst of persistent nursing faculty shortages. Despite being paramount to clinical education, limited literature exists from the perspective of clinical instructors. The purpose of this narrative inquiry was to gain a deeper and richer understanding of the experience of transitioning into the clinical instructor role. The study includes the individual stories of two clinical instructors who teach undergraduate nursing students in southern Ontario. Data was collected through repeat interviews and interpretation was guided by the three dimensions of narrative inquiry space: time, social interaction, and place. The data is presented in the form of retold narratives organized into individual chapters respective of each participant. In attending to the individual accounts, common threads emerged across the two narratives. The metaphor of learning to swim is used to describe the narrative threads of: 1) testing the water – I’m a nurse first; 2) thrown in the deep end – in way over my head; 3) coordinating strokes – all the other pieces that come along with it; and, 4) staying close to shore – clinical instruct on the side. The narrative inquiry explores the role transition experience of nursing clinical instructors while preserving each individual story.