Essentials for New Clinical Nursing Instructors, Especially Adjuncts

There are many things it’s helpful to know when you start work as a clinical instructor—and you might not get a lot of orientation first.

By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

“So you’ve accepted the contract for your first part-time clinical teaching assignment and you’re wondering where to start in preparing for this new role. Perhaps you’ve been working in an administrative role, away from direct caregiving. Maybe you’ve been active in bedside nursing but have no formal preparation in clinical teaching. If you take the time to prepare for your teaching assignment, you can confidently lead your students through a meaningful clinical experience.”

Clinical instructor Betsy Moorhouse (second from right) reviews the contents of a pediatric code cart with her nursing students at Miles Memorial Hospital in Damariscotta, Maine. Photo © Getty Images.

Clinical instructor Betsy Moorhouse (second from right) reviews the contents of a pediatric code cart with her nursing students at
Miles Memorial Hospital in Damariscotta, Maine. Photo © Getty Images.

So begins “Starting a Job as an Adjunct Clinical Instructor,” the second article in our quarterly column, Teaching for Practice (published in AJN‘s August issue, the article is free until the end of September).

When I was working as a clinical nurse specialist, I was also adjunct faculty for a local school of nursing, working with students in the acute care setting. Fortunately, I had taken an education minor in graduate school—otherwise, I would have felt lost when faced with setting objectives, planning pre- and postclinical conferences, and student evaluations.

But many nurses who are assuming adjunct faculty or clinical preceptor positions for the first time have not had any formal preparation for this new role, and the school may not provide much in the way of preparation beyond orientation. AJN‘s new column is designed to help those new to teaching in the clinical setting. The first article, “Delineating the Role of the Part-Time Clinical Nurse Instructor,” appeared in the May issue (subscription or purchase required).

This column is coordinated by Linda Koharchik, DNP, MSN, RN, CNE, a clinical assistant professor and director of adjunct faculty and clinical affairs at Duquesne University School of Nursing in Pittsburgh. Future columns will address critical thinking skills, the student evaluation process, and overcoming challenges that can come with teaching in the clinical field and with adjunct teaching.

We welcome feedback on the column, and if you have ideas for more topics, let us know.

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2016-11-21T13:04:03+00:00 August 22nd, 2014|career, Nursing, nursing perspective, students|3 Comments

About the Author:

Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.

3 Comments

  1. Susan December 29, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    I am just finishing my DNP. My capstone project is creating a prep course for clinical instructors for the very reasons stated. I look forward to more articles from Dr. Koharchik. I will be including her articles as reading assignments in my course.
    Thank you,

  2. Cindy Taylor August 23, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    How nice for you. I tried clinical nursing instructorship years ago for both RN and LPN schools but was told they needed instructors with BSN/MSN degrees, not my RN/MSEd. Its a shame they don’t hire instructors with teaching/education degrees; those who have had classes in how to instruct, not just clinical nursing.

  3. m . dhanalakshmi August 22, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    It is a good start! !

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