Date of Award


Degree Name

Educational Leadership


College of Education

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Linda Spatig

Second Advisor

Patricia Johnston

Third Advisor

Karen Stanley


The nursing faculty shortage is well documented. Higher education administrators turn away qualified student applicants because of the lack of qualified nursing faculty. Furthermore, they find recruitment and retention of qualified nursing faculty a challenge. The purpose of this study was to explore perceptions of the nursing faculty role, causes of the faculty shortage, and solutions to the shortage as perceived by: 1) nurses currently in a faculty role and 2) nurses with a master’s degree who were not employed in a full-time faculty position. A qualitative study using the phenomenological method was undertaken. Two groups of nurses were interviewed. The faculty group was eight nurses teaching full-time selected from faculty teaching in schools of nursing in West Virginia. The service group was eight nurses with masters’ degrees in nursing but not in a faculty position selected from nurses licensed in West Virginia. In interviews, participants were asked to describe their current position, perceptions of the nursing faculty role, causes of the shortage, and solutions to the shortage. Participants believed the causes of the shortage included low salaries, lack of nurses with advanced degrees, nurses without training in teaching, and other career options. Their solutions included presenting a positive image of the nursing faculty role, supporting doctoral education, utilizing nurses with masters’ degrees, mentoring new faculty, and networking with nurses in service positions. Those in both groups described a passion for nursing and teaching and viewed themselves as educators. The positive aspects of the faculty role were relationships with the students, watching students develop into nurses, relationships with colleagues, and flexible schedules. Nursing administrators will continue to be challenged with recruiting and retaining qualified nursing faculty. This study found that nurses in both faculty and service settings enjoyed teaching but they selected their positions based on cost-benefit analyses. In other words, for these participants, the costs of pursuing faculty positions are unduly high considering the perceived benefits.


Nurses - Education (Higher)

Nursing schools - Faculty.