Thesis_Ryan_Colleen_L.pdf (4.57 MB)

Professional development of Australian clinical teachers: Exploration, innovation and theory development

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posted on 2022-07-11, 23:17 authored by Colleen RyanColleen Ryan
Clinical teachers work between clinical and academic settings and therefore it is difficult to know, without examining unique contexts, exactly what skills are required for them to excel in the role. A critical social theory paradigm informed the design of this multi-phase thesis involving separate qualitative, quantitative, and action-based studies. The following phases were completed: 1. An integrated review of the literature on clinical teaching, followed by an initial exploratory study, using Interpretive Description to understand the experiences of clinical teachers working in diverse Australian environments. 2. A quantitative cross-sectional survey study that examined the capabilities of Australian clinical teachers in order to highlight collective strengths and weaknesses. 3. A participatory action research study, involving a team of clinical teachers, to collaboratively develop a new approach to professional development that would strengthen capabilities 4. A concept analysis of borders – a construct that uniquely affects clinical teachers who occupy the two worlds of clinical practice and tertiary education, contributes new knowledge. The qualitative exploration found that clinical teachers experience many role challenges and some rewards; and revealed ways clinical teachers could prepare to excel in the role. The national survey revealed that Australian clinical teachers have strong capabilities in some clinical teaching domains such as building teaching relationships; however, they lacked capability in leadership and research skills. The action research study led to the collaborative design of meaningful professional development, and some organisational changes intended to enhance clinical teacher professional identity. The changes included the widespread dissemination, and use of, a printed charter explaining the clinical teacher role, and a series of podcasts that illuminated insights about the role for new and emerging clinical teachers. The idea for a concept analysis emerged during the action research study and contributed new theoretical concepts and a unique model. Clinical teachers who understand that learning how to negotiate the borders of the nursing clinical and academic worlds may be a keyway for them to flourish and develop a robust professional identity.



Central Queensland University

Place of Publication

Rockhampton, Qld.

Open Access

  • Yes

Era Eligible

  • No


Professor Emeritus Margaret McAllister ; Professor Emeritus Donna Lee Brien

Thesis Type

  • Doctoral Thesis

Thesis Format

  • By publication