Implementing faculty practice: a question of human and financial resources



Two issues confronting nursing education are: improving the relationship between nursing service and nursing education, and achieving status as an academic discipline. The concept of faculty practice addresses both of these problems. By definition faculty practice requires demonstration of clinical competence through practice, and scholarly outcomes of practice which satisfy the research requirement of the nursing faculty role. While scholarly practice by nursing faculty members may benefit the nursing service-education relationship, it is a myth that nursing faculty members were more effective teachers prior to nursing education's move into institutions of higher education. While few argue against the need for clinical competence of nursing faculty members for effective teaching, the need to attain educational preparation for effective teaching must not be overlooked. The vast majority of nursing faculty members hold, master's degree as their highest earned credential. To establish itself as an equal in academe and to increase teaching effectiveness, nursing education needs faculty prepared at the doctoral level. If nursing faculty members add faculty practice and doctoral study to the standard faculty role requirements of teaching, research and service, chronic overload will result. Nursing faculty members cannot solve all the problems confronting nursing education by continuously increasing their workload. Nursing programmes need to assess their resources and priorities. For all of its merits, faculty practice should not be implemented until a programme has adequate resources to support it.