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Keywords:

  • Nursing scholarship;
  • nursing research;
  • nursing education;
  • clinical practice;
  • Australia;
  • nurse scholars

Abstract

Purpose: To explore Australian nurse scholars’ personal and professional perspectives on the nature and development of contemporary Australian scholarship, including its facilitators and barriers.

Design and Methods: A qualitative exploratory design, with snowball sampling, identified 13 well-regarded nurse scholars from Australian universities or clinical health services. Semistructured, in-depth interviews were conducted in 2008–2009, and transcripts of data were subjected to Morse's content analysis method.

Results: Four themes with supporting subthemes emerged: Views on Scholarship; Locations; Facilitators and Barriers; and Visioning the Future. New and reinforced information about Australian nursing scholarship was revealed.

Conclusions: The study revealed contemporary Australian perspectives on nursing scholarship. It included participants’ personal and professional histories; definitions of the attributes of scholars; mentoring; and that educational and practice maturity contribute to contemporary definitions of nursing scholarship. Scholars, working in either academic or practice environments, provided points of difference on scholarship. High workloads associated with curricula, lack of recognition of a scholar's achievements, and securing research funding were seen as barriers to scholarship. Moreover, current scholars are aging, and there is a looming shortage of scholars prepared for the future. Urgent attention needs to be paid to capacity building of clinicians and academics for the future scholarship of Australian nursing.

Clinical Relevance: Scholarship is seen as the hallmark of the intellectual pursuit of knowledge and understanding and is essential for the practice of nursing and improvements to health. Educators, policy makers, and nursing leaders need to clearly develop strategies to sustain Australian nursing scholarship for the future.