Easing the transition from professions to academia

Making the transition from hospital nurse to academic can be stressful but a new paper inspired by early career academics from Southern Cross University outlines how the pathway into academia could be made less challenging.

Reflections on transitioning from senior nurses to novice nurse academics, published earlier this year in the Contemporary Nurse journal by Yingyan Chen, Dima Nasrawi with senior academics Richard Lakeman and Deb Massey, contained insights valuable to many early career academics and their supervisors.

Dr Chen, who is now at University of the Sunshine Coast, and colleagues noted that while nurses who enter academia carry a heavy responsibility, training new generations of nurses to keep us healthy, they often lack formal educational training. Even those with PhDs rarely have, “a foundational understanding of pedagogy, curriculum development and teaching evaluation or management” the paper notes.

Dr Chen and Ms Nasrawi developed a four point plan to smooth the path for transition into academia which is likely to have relevance to many disciplines:

  • Acquiring teaching and learning skills – adopting a peer reviewing strategy in online and face-to-face teaching and becoming involved in curriculum redesign;
  • Securing research mentors – providing guidance and support for research activity;
  • Networking and collaborating with like-minded academics, while maintaining a work-life balance, by attending conferences; and
  • Cultivating the ability to be agile and adaptable –the qualities that are required to commence the transition from ward to lecture theatre need to be cultivated, as an asset for the future, to demonstrate agility in delivery modes and topics.

The paper concludes that supportive mentoring and pedagogical support are essential for the successful transition of staff into academic roles.

For more information the full article can be found online.