Implementing an orientation/mentorship program for adjunct faculty.
Subject: Mentors (Services)
College teachers, Part-time (Services)
Teachers, Part-time (Services)
Authors: Ellison, Deborah
Williams, Michelle
Pub Date: 09/22/2009
Publication: Name: Tennessee Nurse Publisher: Tennessee Nurses Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 Tennessee Nurses Association ISSN: 1055-3134
Issue: Date: Fall, 2009 Source Volume: 72 Source Issue: 3
Topic: Event Code: 360 Services information
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Tennessee Geographic Code: 1U6TN Tennessee
Accession Number: 208458689
Full Text: Due to the shortage of nursing faculty, utilization of adjunct faculty has become a necessity for nursing programs throughout the country. Adjunct faculty bring a wide variety of skills, knowledge, and professionalism to students in the clinical setting. Unfortunately, the lack of resources to correctly orient and mentor adjunct faculty has created a gap in the continuum of student success in connecting the didactic components to the clinical setting. Therefore, there is a need to develop and implement mentoring programs and orientation workshops to assist adjunct faculty in fulfilling their role and providing guidance to students in the clinical setting.

In response to this issue, Austin Peay State University School of Nursing implemented our first workshop for adjunct faculty in the fall of 2007. A mentorship adjunct faculty program was developed that involves one full day on campus for a workshop with fulltime nursing faculty. This workshop incorporates the School of Nursing's values, policies, course/clinical expectations. The workshop creates an environment of preparedness for the clinical setting and promotes teamwork among all faculty.

The tools developed for the second program included CEU's, notebooks with pertinent information, an adjunct faculty evaluation document, and an evaluation tool for the workshop. A few of the topics covered in the last workshop day included connecting the classroom with the clinical experience; holding students accountable for professionalism within the clinical setting; writing clinical unsats/failures; and how and when to do student clinical evaluations. The notebooks contain information needed to assist the adjunct faculty in communicating with all faculty. For example, included is a list of all phone numbers of faculty and adjunct faculty, the university academic calendar, and course specific information. A need was also recognized for documenting the success of our adjunct faculty semester to semester. Therefore, an adjunct faculty evaluation tool was developed for course coordinators to use. An evaluation of the workshop was valued as a building block for future workshops.

We have had excellent attendance for both workshops with adjunct and full time faculty. There were some concerns that adjunct faculty who had been with the program for a long time might feel this workshop was unnecessary. Nevertheless, feedback indicated the opposite. These seasoned adjunct faculty have attended both workshops and been an intricate part of the success of this program. Our new adjunct faculty value the workshop and have a better understanding of their responsibilities of linking the didactic portion of the clinical courses in which they teach. Our positive evaluations from both workshops reinforce and support the need to continue this program.


The School of Nursing's goal is communication among all faculty. Creating a transparent role for full time and adjunct faculty in clinical experience will increase the likelihood of student success. The development of mentoring programs provide adjunct faculty with the information and support that will be needed for their role as clinical faculty, enhance job satisfaction, and increase collegial networking among all faculty. Through our orientation/mentorship program, we have set the standards to prepare our adjunct faculty to succeed and enjoy teaching our students.

by Deborah Ellison, MSN, RN, and Michelle Williams, MSN, RN Austin Peay State University School of Nursing
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.