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Exploring the relationship between administrative support and nursing faculty practice

Ruth Helen Robillard, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between the level of collegiate administrative support and the extent of nursing faculty practice. A questionnaire developed using Dicken's operationalization of House's social support theory, along with additional evidence of support from the literature, was mailed to administrators of all National League of Nursing accredited baccalaureate nursing programs in the United States. Three hundred and six completed questionnaires (71%) were received by the cutoff date and data from the structured questions were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. Written responses were recoded into the structured categories or were classified and summarized. Chi-square analysis revealed that there was a significant relationship between nine demographic variables and the percentage of faculty in practice. Guidelines for practice as evidence of instrumental support, was found in only 20% of the programs, but this was significantly related to the percentage of faculty in practice. Two variables reflecting instrumental support, which included team taught courses and release time for practice, were the only ones significantly related to faculty practice. For all three variables, as the availability for that support increased, the percentage of faculty in practice increased. No appraisal or emotional support variables were significantly related to practice. More than half of the administrators had direct control over flexible teaching schedules and team taught courses. All supports were significantly related to the administrators ability to control or influence that support. Financial constraints was the most frequently reported reason for the unavailability of supports. Faculty practice was used as a criterion for promotion/merit and tenure decisions in the fewest number of programs and was the least important criterion in almost half of them. More than half of the written comments indicated that administrators would like to include practice in these decisions and increase its importance. All benefits of faculty practice found in the literature were reported to be observed by administrators and almost all administrators would be encouraged to continue or initiate support based on these benefits.

Subject Area

Nursing|School administration

Recommended Citation

Robillard, Ruth Helen, "Exploring the relationship between administrative support and nursing faculty practice" (1991). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9207452.