Exploring Female Faculty Perspectives on Worklife and Strategies for Academic Mentorship
While all research-oriented faculty face the pressures of academia, female faculty in fields including science, engineering, medicine and nursing, are especially susceptible to burnout. Nursing is unique in that it remains a predominantly female-dominated profession, which implies that there is a critical mass of females who are disproportionately affected and/or at higher risk of burnout. To date, little is known about the experiences of nursing faculty especially, new and early career researchers and the factors that influence their retention. This study aims to understand the work–life (the intersection of work with personal life) experiences of nursing faculty in Canadian academic settings and the factors that influence their retention.
Boamah, S.A. (2022). Investigating the work-life experiences of nursing faculty in Canadian academic settings and the factors that influence their retention: protocol for a mixed-methods study. BMJ Open 2022;12:e056655. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-056655
Introduction While all research-oriented faculty face the pressures of academia, female faculty in fields including science, engineering, medicine and nursing, are especially susceptible to burnout. Nursing is unique in that it remains a predominantly female-dominated profession, which implies that there is a critical mass of females who are disproportionately affected and/or at higher risk of burnout. To date, little is known about the experiences of nursing faculty especially, new and early career researchers and the factors that influence their retention. This study aims to understand the work–life (the intersection of work with personal life) experiences of nursing faculty in Canadian academic settings and the factors that influence their retention.
Methods and analysis A mixed-method design will be used in this study. For the quantitative study, a sample of approximately 1500 new and early career nursing faculty across Canadian academic institutions will be surveyed. Eligible participants will be invited to complete a web-based structured questionnaire in both French and English language. Data will be evaluated using generalised linear regression model and structural equation modelling. Given the complexities of work–life issues in Canada, qualitative focus group interviews with about 20–25 participants will also be conducted. Emerging themes will be integrated with the survey findings and used to enrich the interpretation of the quantitative data.
Ethics and dissemination This study has received ethical approval from the Hamilton Integrated Research Ethics Board (#1477). Prior to obtaining informed consent, participants will be provided with information about study risks and benefits and strategies undertaken to ensure confidentiality and anonymity. The study findings will be disseminated to academics and non-academic stakeholders through national and international conference presentations and peer-reviewed open-access journals. A user-friendly report will be shared with professional nursing associations such as the Canadian Associations of Schools of Nursing, and through public electronic forums (e.g., Twitter). Evidence from this study will also be shared with stakeholders including senior academic leaders and health practitioners, government, and health service policy-makers, to raise the profile of discourses on the nursing workforce shortages; and women’s work–life balance, a public policy issue often overlooked at the national level. Such discussion is especially pertinent in light of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women, and female academics. The findings will be used to inform policy options for improving nursing faculty retention in Canada and globally.
Boamah, S.A., Hamadi, H.Y., Havaei, F., Smith, H., & Webb, F. (2022). Striking a balance between work and play: The effects of work-life interference and burnout on faculty turnover intentions and career satisfaction. IJERPH, 19(2), 809. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19020809
Background: The interactions between work and personal life are important for ensuring well-being, especially during COVID-19 where the lines between work and home are blurred. Work–life interference/imbalance can result in work-related burnout, which has been shown to have negative effects on faculty members’ physical and psychological health. Although our understanding of burnout has advanced considerably in recent years, little is known about the effects of burnout on nursing faculty turnover intentions and career satisfaction.
Objective: To test a hypothesized model examining the effects of work–life interference on nursing faculty burnout (emotional exhaustion and cynicism), turnover intentions and, ultimately, career satisfaction.
Design: A predictive cross-sectional design was used. Settings: An online national survey of nursing faculty members was administered throughout Canada in summer 2021. Participants: Nursing faculty who held full-time or part-time positions in Canadian academic settings were invited via email to participate in the study.
Methods: Data were collected from an anonymous survey housed on Qualtrics. Descriptive statistics and reliability estimates were computed. The hypothesized model was tested using structural equation modeling.
Results: Data suggest that work–life interference significantly increases burnout which contributes to both higher turnover intentions and lower career satisfaction. Turnover intentions, in turn, decrease career satisfaction.
Conclusions: The findings add to the growing body of literature linking burnout to turnover and dissatisfaction, highlighting key antecedents and/or drivers of burnout among nurse academics. These results provide suggestions for suitable areas for the development of interventions and policies within the organizational structure to reduce the risk of burnout during and post-COVID-19 and improve faculty retention.
Boamah, S.A. (2022). The impact of transformational leadership on nurse faculty satisfaction and burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic: a moderated mediated analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing. Jan-2021-1815. https://doi.org/10.1111/jan.15198
Aims: To examine the effects of nursing deans/directors’ transformational leadership behaviours on academic workplace culture, faculty burnout and job satisfaction.
Background: Transformational leadership is an imperative antecedent to organizational change, and employee well-being and performance. However, little has been espoused regarding the theoretical and empirical mechanisms by which transformational leaders improve the academic workplace culture and faculty retention.
Design: A cross-sectional survey design was implemented.
Methods: Nursing faculty employed in Canadian academic settings were invited to complete an anonymous online survey in May–July 2021. A total of 645 useable surveys were included in the analyses. Descriptive statistics and reliability estimates were performed. The moderated mediation model was tested using structural equation modelling in the Analysis of Moment software v24.0. Bootstrap method was used to estimate total, direct and indirect effects.
Result: The proposed study model was supported. Transformational leadership had both a strong direct effect on workplace culture and job satisfaction and an inverse direct effect on faculty burnout. While workplace culture mediated the effect of leadership on job satisfaction and burnout, the moderation effect of COVID-19 was not captured in the baseline model.
Conclusion: The findings provide an in-depth understanding of the factors that affect nursing faculty wellness, and evidence that supportive workplace culture can serve as an adaptive mechanism through which transformational leaders can improve retention. A transformational dean/director can proactively shape the nature of the academic work environment to mitigate the risks of burnout and improve satisfaction and ultimately faculty retention even during an unforeseen event, such as a pandemic.
Implication: Given the range of uncertainties associated with COVID-19, administrators should consider practicing transformational leadership behaviours as it is most likely to be effective, especially in times of uncertainty and chaos. In doing so, academic leaders can work towards equitable policies, plans and decisions and rebuild resources to address the immediate and long-term psychological and overall health impacts of COVID-19.
Why is this research needed?
- Parallel to the global clinical nursing shortage, emerging studies allude to similar trends in the nursing faculty workforce.
- The shortage of nurse faculty directly impacts and threatens the supply of clinical nurses available to provide quality patient care.
- Employment conditions have long been identified as key factors affecting nursing faculty satisfaction and retention.
- Transformational leadership has been associated with positive nurse job outcomes, however, its influence on nursing faculty burnout and satisfaction is limited.
What are the key findings?
- Findings suggest that transformational leadership could improve faculty satisfaction and reduce burnout.
- Drivers of the burnout epidemic and dissatisfaction among faculty are largely rooted in the work environment.
- Supportive workplace culture is important to ensuring faculty engagement and retention.
- This research contributes to the extant literature on leadership by identifying the mechanisms through which transformational leadership can improve the academic work environment and, ultimately, increase faculty retention.