Sandra Davidson


by Sandra Davidson
School of Professional Studies of Gonzaga University
March 2011

Nursing academia is facing an unprecedented shortage of faculty. There are societal and political pressures to expand nursing educational programs, but the lack of sufficient numbers of qualified faculty to teach in these programs limits the potential for expansion. The aging nursing professorate and mass retirement of experienced faculty will also affect the future of nursing academia. This context creates an urgent need to focus on recruitment and retention efforts in nursing academia. In order for recruitment and retention efforts to be effective, the experiences of novice faculty in academia must be explored and understood.

The disciplines of leadership and organizational development are based largely on the premise that organization is an intrinsic feature of social systems (Tsoukas & Hatch, 2001, p. 980). The study of leadership and organizations centers on exploring how and why social systems are organized the way they are and how this structure shapes the experiences of those within an organization. As such, the use of a conceptual framework and research methodology that focuses on the day-to-day lived experiences of faculty in academic organizations will create a valuable contribution to the larger dialogue about the nursing faculty shortage, as well as leadership and organizational development in academic nursing. The conceptual framework of complex responsive processes supports the idea that power to shape the future of nursing education resides within our relationships with others in our organizations. Examining our lived experiences and paying attention to our day-to-day interactions are powerful strategies in cultivating personal and organizational transformation.