Work-role transition : from staff nurse to clinical nurse educator : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Nursing at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
There is an imperative for health professionals today to maintain competence in clinical practice, which for registered nurses in New Zealand requires current experience of practice, continued professional development and education. In many organizations in New Zealand today, practice based clinical education for nurses is delivered by clinical nurse educators (CNEs). The purpose of this study was to explore the opinions and perceptions of CNEs as they transitioned from a staff nurse position to the CNE role, a designated senior position within the District Health Board (DHB) involved in this study. The aim of the study was to describe the experiences of CNEs in their first year in the role to gain a clearer understanding of the knowledge and skills required to be successful in the role. This understanding will enable a smoother and more satisfactory transition into the role and provide targets for career development for nurses aspiring to become CNEs. Qualitative description, using a general inductive approach was the methodology chosen to underpin this study. A sample group of eight CNEs from a New Zealand DHB were interviewed about their experiences using a semi structured interviewing technique. The results of the data analysis have been presented using Bridges (2003, 2004) transition theory as the theoretical framework. The data chapters are titled endings, neutral zone and beginnings. The main themes were; entering transition, getting started, chaos and turmoil, overwhelmed and opening doors. The themes present the feelings and perceptions of the CNEs using their own words. The CNEs experienced the journey through transition and discovered the role they had undertaken was much larger than expected. In addition information and shared understandings of the role were limited and orientation to the role, minimal. The CNEs experienced a variety of emotions and challenges while moving through this transition period. By sharing their stories and insights they have given the opportunity for learning to occur, which will enable improved succession planning, orientation and transition periods for future CNEs.