An Exploration of the Preparation of New Zealand Nurse Educators for their Role in Teaching Postgraduate Clinical Nursing Courses
Little is known about the preparation of New Zealand nurse educators teaching clinically focused postgraduate programmes. This research gives an insight into their world and the preparation they had in order to fulfil their roles. A review of the literature on nurse educator preparation revealed a dichotomy of preparation nationally and internationally. This study was carried out to inform the New Zealand nursing profession on the preparedness of its educators teaching clinical nursing postgraduate programmes. It was my assumption that nurse educator preparation lacked strategic direction and was not nationally uniform. The research expected to answer how and to what extent New Zealand nurse educators teaching clinical nursing postgraduate courses at NQF Level 8 are prepared and supported for their teaching role. This research used an exploratory descriptive survey methodology and was underpinned by a conceptual framework. The conceptual framework, referred to as the critical elements of nurse educator preparation (CENEP), contained four key concepts, support, educational preparation, personal attitudes and experience. These concepts informed the design and construct of a questionnaire to determine the level of preparation of New Zealand nurse educators teaching clinical postgraduate programmes. A total of 89 postal questionnaires were administered resulting in a response rate of 46% (N=41), however, four questionnaires were excluded leaving a sample size of 37. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS Version 12) was used to analyse the data, and descriptive statistics along with non-parametric testing was undertaken. There were three open-ended questions included in the questionnaire and these were analysed thematically. Results of this research reveal a culture where nurse educator preparation lacks uniformity and consistency. Individually, New Zealand nurse educators were found to be highly qualified for their positions and motivated and enthusiastic about their roles. However, 40% of respondents did not hold a teaching qualification. Results from this research revealed a pattern of clinical training for postgraduate nurses that was immersed in the world of the academic institution. This research study is limited and cannot be generalised to the entire population of nurse educators teaching clinical postgraduate programmes. However, some valuable insights have been gained into a previously unexplored area, and recommendations have been made for the future direction of preparation for nurse educators teaching clinical postgraduate programmes in New Zealand.