From nurse to teacher: recognizing a status passage


  • Morag MacNeil MSc BA (Hons) RN RM RCNT RNT

    Corresponding author
    1. Associate Dean (Awards), School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Wolverhampton, Walsall, England
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Morag MacNeil, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Wolverhampton, GorwayRoad, Walsall WS1 3BD, England


The purpose of this study is to examine the career trajectories of nurse teachers. The main focus of the study is the process of transition from nurse to teacher. The study looks at the anticipations, expectations, contrasts and changes encountered by nurse teachers when first embarking on the role. The interest lay in obtaining the teachers’view of their career trajectories and their experience of status transition. An ethnographic approach was adopted, and in-depth interviews were carried out with nurse teachers, to capture the breadth and depth of the teachers’experience. The teachers all volunteered to participate in the study, so are in no way statistically representative of their professional group. In analysing the data the mode of qualitative analysis called‘grounded theory’was modified and adopted. In this approach data collection, analysis and theory stand in reciprocal relationship to each other. The study operates at two levels. It relates to issues which appear to be meaningful only to the nurse education audience, but it also engages with the more anthropological concern of status passage. Finally, the results are discussed highlighting the many areas which were identified as causing concern and using the concept of‘identity’to offer an explanation for the‘troublesome-duality’experienced by nurse teachers.