Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 2006


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





School of Nursing

Committee Chair

Joan Such Lockhart

Committee Member

Rick Zoucha

Committee Member

Teresa Shellenbarger


nursing education


The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study was to understand the experience of being a full-time nursing faculty member in a baccalaureate nursing program, from the perspective of those having the experience. Upon receiving approval from the Duquesne University Institutional Review Board, informants were recruited using purposive and snowball sampling techniques. Sample size was guided by data saturation. Eight female informants, with an average of 6.1 years of experience in a full-time faculty position, shared their experiences through in-depth personal interviews. Each informant participated in a second interview to clarify data from the initial interview and to verify themes identified during data analysis. Field notes and a demographic questionnaire also served as data sources for the study. Data were analyzed using a hermeneutic phenomenological approach based on the Urecht School of phenomenology. Trustworthiness of the study was established through critical reflection and opening up the inquiry. Five themes were uncovered through data analysis including (a) making a difference in the student, profession, and the world; (b) being a gatekeeper to the profession; (c) trying ways to balance multiple roles; (d) support is vital: can't do it alone; and (e) workplace relationships: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Findings have implications for the development of research-based recruitment and retention strategies aimed at increasing the number of nursing faculty, and suggest the advancement of nursing science may be jeopardized as a result of faculty age and current practices in higher education. Implications for the practice of nursing education focus on current nursing faculty, administrators in nursing education, and those responsible for developing higher education policies. Such implications relate to the development of healthy work environments, realignment of workload requirements, and the establishment of policies that facilitate balance between work and home life. Future research is recommended for the purpose of exploring the rewards of making a difference, the rationale for incivility in the workplace, and the level of faculty mentoring occurring in nursing education.