Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Jean Sorrell


This project study addressed the lack of formal preparation encountered by novice nurse educators within a nursing program located in the southeastern region of North Carolina. This problem is significant at both the local and national levels because expert clinicians are needed to fill nurse educator vacancies that have led to qualified students being denied admission to nursing programs. A qualitative case study research design was employed to explore the perceptions of novice nurse educators in one nursing program transitioning from clinical nursing practice to the nurse educator role. The theoretical framework to guide this study was Benner's novice to expert model that outlines the journey of how novice nurse educators transition into an educator role. Guiding research questions focused on understanding the motives, challenges, positives experiences, and perceptions of support that novice nurse educators encountered during transition from clinical practice to academia. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit 7 novice nurse educators within an associate degree nursing program. Data collection included interviews with novice nurse educators, review of a 2012 self-study report, and demographic characteristics of participants. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, coded, and analyzed to identify themes. Five themes were identified: (a) work is always with you, (b) teaching in the dark, (c) making a difference, (d) a shoulder to lean on, and (e) more structure/mentoring. Findings indicated the need for a mentorship/orientation program, which was developed to assist in role transition for novice nurse educators. Implications could contribute to a positive social change by helping clinicians to transition effectively to meet society's need for qualified nurse educators.