• professorial joint appointments;
  • faculty nursing;
  • professional role;
  • job description;
  • higher education;
  • nursing;
  • collaboration;
  • Australia;
  • research nursing;
  • advanced nursing practice

The roles of Australian chairs in clinical nursing

Australian chairs in clinical nursing have been established in order to achieve more effective partnerships between academia and the health care sector in education, research and quality of nursing care. The aim of this study was to describe the goals, obstacles, supports and outcomes of such appointments. The study explored the perceptions of a purposive sample of Australian professors holding clinical chairs, stratified to ensure representation of both the geographical and clinical specialty diversity of the population. Eight professors were interviewed using semi-structured telephone interviews. The interviews covered three phases: role establishment, current foci and future developments. Qualitative analysis for common themes and areas of divergence was conducted with concurrent analysis providing the opportunity to seek confirmation for emerging themes. The participants highlighted the diversity of arrangements between university and health sector partners in establishing their respective roles. Clear communication was crucial to successful partnership arrangements. All roles included components of education, research and politics but the relative contribution of each of these areas depended to a large extent on the priorities of the employing partners. The participants felt the need to secure sustainable income sources and consolidate outcomes to ensure the continued viability of their positions. Clinical professorial nursing appointments provide one means of addressing perceived gaps in the links between the university and health care sectors, academia and clinicians, thus enhancing nursing education, research and politics. Through emphasizing common purpose and mutual respect, these positions can illuminate the crucial role nursing plays in Australian health care delivery.