Each semester, the College of Nursing Office of Research highlights two ongoing or recently completed research studies. For this semester's studies, please see the information below.
My current research is focused on the experiences of tenured Black nursing faculty, an underexplored topic in the literature. As little published research focuses on this topic these findings will help begin to fill this void. Currently 9% of nursing faculty in the United States (US) self-identify as Black (National League for Nursing, 2020). Data on the exact number of Black tenured faculty is unavailable. Qualitative data collected Spring and Summer 2021 via Qualtrics using a mixed-methods design from 42 tenured and tenure-track faculty. Descriptive qualitative analysis revealed the following: need for a supportive environment (e.g., mentors [difficult for male scholars to have mentors], peers, outside of college of nursing); microaggressions experienced by some; post-tenure blues not uncommon; research focused on issues related to Blacks not always accepted or understood; university does not always understand nursing scholarship. I continue to analyze the data.
Using these results and with funding from Sigma/Chamberlain College of Nursing, and a qualitative descriptive design, I’m currently conducting one-on-one Zoom interviews with tenured Black nursing faculty, asking them detailed questions about their experiences on the tenure track. The information learned thus far has been enlightening. Some participants learned of what was involved in earning tenure during their doctoral program, while others learned of it indirectly as they observed their faculty working diligently trying to meet the tenure guidelines. A few reported no one sharing the all-important tenure guidelines with them when they took on a faculty position.
Although a few reported experiencing no microaggressions or feelings of alienation because of race during their time on the tenure track, the majority shared at least one story of experiencing a microaggression or feeling alienated. The importance of mentoring is well-documented in the literature for a successful career, including in higher education. Participants commented on the importance of mentoring. Some participants were assigned mentors, even a mentoring team, who were invested in their success, while others shared they were never assigned a mentor or their assigned mentor rarely had time for them. Some sought mentors from other departments on campus. In general, participants were motivated to earn tenure to add to the body of knowledge of nursing science.
As far as advice for Black tenure-track nursing faculty, one participant, recognizing that barriers and challenges persist, everything they write or present should become a publication, as it is like currency in the bank when one is on the tenure track. One piece of advice for White administrators is to do not ignore racism, but to try to understand the experiences of Blacks in the United States. The American Nurses Association recently released the Racial Reckoning Statement which is, in effect, an apology for the wrongs it has done to nurses of color and perpetuated systemic racism. Although there are no concrete plans or “next steps,” this is a first step from a major nursing organization that should have a positive impact upon nursing education, including the recruitment and retention of tenured and tenure-track faculty.
Multi-method Approach to Examining Psychosocial Responses and Reactions to COVID-19 in the US and China
To examine health care providers’ psychosocial responses to COVID-19 in China and the US via exploring relationships among psychological responses and describing experiences of working at the epicenter during the pandemic.
In manuscript one, a cross-sectional study was conducted in nurse and physician volunteers who provided direct care to COVID-19 patients in Wuhan (volunteers) and those with no COVID-19 contact outside of Wuhan (non-volunteers). A path analysis theoretical model was developed to illustrate the relationships among psychosocial variables and was separately applied to volunteer and non-volunteer groups.
In manuscript two, a cross-sectional study was conducted to examine the psychological wellbeing of nurses in the US. Network analysis was used to model the data and analyze the centrality indices.
In manuscript three, a qualitative descriptive study using content analysis was completed to explore experiences of Chinese nurse and physician volunteers at the epicenter.
In manuscript one, no significant difference was found in the structure of the models between volunteers and non-volunteers. In volunteers, potential key early indicators to prevent PTSD were compassion satisfaction, general health, attitude toward life, and perceived stress. In non-volunteers, indicators were general health and attitude toward life.
In manuscript two, one out of five US nurses had probable PTSD. Life satisfaction was a potential inflection point for intervention to reduce perceived stress and mitigate PTSD symptomatology. Perceived stress was a potential inflection point for intervention to mitigate PTSD symptomatology. Attitude toward life was a potential inflection point for intervention to improve compassion satisfaction.
In manuscript three, emerging themes were: (a) the manifestation of a strong sense of national need and a call to serve, (b) family support in a national crisis, (c) an understanding that collaboration was needed, (d) a commitment to protect oneself properly to avoid infection, (e) a necessary and varying degree of self-dependency, (f) the importance of coping strategies amidst the tension of the pandemic, and (g) a recognition that challenges and opportunities were present side-by-side.
Findings point to the need for implementing scalable, system-level interventions to reduce the psychological burden during the pandemic.