Research in Brief: Grooming Tomorrow’s Nurse Faculty Workforce

SEPTEMBER 17, 2013 - A new article by three faculty members in the Nurse Anesthesia Program at the School of Nursing & Health Studies looks at how a teaching assistant program might inspire current graduate students to assume nurse faculty positions in the future.

Victoria Goode, MSN, CRNA, instructor of nursing, Catherine Horvath, MSN, CRNA, instructor of nursing, and Donna Jasinski, PhD, CRNA, program director and associate professor of nursing, authored, “Implementation of a Teaching Assistant Program in Graduate Nursing Education” in the September/October 2013 issue of Nurse Educator.

‘Workforce Shortages’

“The nursing profession faces substantial workforce shortages especially in the educational arena,” the authors write.  “The inability to recruit and maintain an adequate number of qualified faculty is restricting nursing education at both entry-level and advanced practice programs.”

Some reasons for the faculty shortage: Graduate programs are not producing “an adequate pool of potential nurse educators,” and experienced nurse faculty members are retiring.

A Teaching Assistant Model

As a possible remedy to this situation, the authors point to the potential of teaching assistant programs within graduate education.

“Graduate students who are mentored as TAs have an improved understanding of the faculty role requirements and are better prepared to commence faculty roles soon after graduation, thereby providing an immediate increase in educators,” the authors say.

The authors specifically highlight the teaching assistant program within their specialty at Georgetown – open to students in their final year of study.  In collaboration with faculty mentors, TAs help out with various classroom and simulation educational activities.

Positive Feedback

“Overall, feedback on the TA program has been extremely positive,” they write.  “The TAs, who were initially unaware of the overall responsibility of faculty members, expressed increased understanding of the faculty role.”

The authors are planning to conduct a larger study on the effectiveness of such programs.  For more information, click here.

By Bill Cessato