What Does It Mean to Be a Lecturer in the Field of Nursing Education?
This thesis presents findings from a New Zealand phenomenological study that investigated the lived experience of lecturers in nursing education. I decided that this was a relevant research topic as little was known about this area, and in New Zealand there were no previous studies. I also had an interest in the topic because of my own experience of being a lecturer. I was interested to find out how lecturers negotiate their work worlds in the intensifying political climate of nursing education today. The methodology and method for the study was guided by Heideggerian hermeneutics. Open-ended interviews were conducted with five participants, all lecturers with between two and five years teaching experience. Four themes emerged: 'politics as destabilising/politics as strength gathering', 'commitment amidst uncertainty', 'content and process in the pursuit of teaching security', and 'being an insider and an outsider as a shifting space'. Dynamic and shifting experience in the themes reveals that 'being' a lecturer includes the experience of 'becoming' one, in which lecturers are constantly required to renew themselves in the changing world that surrounds them. Their interpretation of their 'being' is always 'on the way', reflecting Gadamer's (1987) argument about the process of interpretation in understanding experience. I argue that because lecturers' interpretation of their 'being' is influenced by their surrounding context, it is important to include this surrounding context in determining the answer to my research question 'what does it mean to be a lecturer in the field of nursing education?' Issues in this surrounding context include an intensifying political climate where there is an increased risk of experiencing burnout Four recommendations are made in response to the challenging issues that exist: first, for lecturers to engage in curriculum development; second, establish learning communities; third, undertake professional supervision; and fourth, lobby policy makers at a local and national level to effect change. In spite of this shifting and challenging context and the issues inside it, I contend that my participants' experience of 'being' a lecturer is determined more tellingly from a second philosophical vantage point in heideggerian hermeneutic phenomenology, that argued by Heidegger (1962) of an ontology of Being. In my participants' experience, their 'being' includes commitment that they don't let go of easily. I argue this is because their commitment is deep and spiritual, of the kind that parents also experience with their children. I argue that what it means to be a lecturer is determined more by this deep commitment in my participants' 'being' than what is happening in the context that surrounds them. They are always 'becoming' as lecturers as they interpret their experience in their shifting and changing world, but their 'being' remains committed whatever pressures their surrounding context brings. I argue that because of the fortitude in their 'being', lecturers have the potential to enact some or all of the recommendations that have been made for responding to the issues they face in their jobs.