Transitioning back to faculty roles after being a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar: Challenges and opportunities

Cindy M. Anderson, Jacquelyn Campbell, Patricia Grady, Maryjoan Ladden, Angela Barron McBride, Nilda Peragallo Montano, Nancy Fugate Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There is a dearth of literature describing factors supporting a successful transition from a career-development fellowship to resumption of the full complement of faculty roles. Purpose: Because little is known about the transition back to the full faculty role, a subset of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nurse Faculty Scholars (NFS) was interviewed to evaluate the self-identified challenges and opportunities that the scholars faced and factors contributing to their success when they reassumed the full faculty role. Methods: A subset of scholars from cohorts beginning the RWJF NFS program between 2008 and 2012 (n = 10) was interviewed by members of the NFS National Advisory Committee. NFSs identified challenges and opportunities faced as they transitioned to their faculty roles following completion of the career development fellowship as well as the character of support received from individuals in their organizational influencing the experience of the faculty transition. Evaluation outcomes include recommendations for transition planning for home institutions, colleagues and fellows. Results: NFSs identified transition challenges including managing multiple responsibilities and increased teaching demands coupled with loss of protected time and funding for scholarly work. Opportunities for career advancement were influenced by effective mentorship, institutional supports including advocacy and allocation of time and responsibilities consistent with continued research productivity. Issues contributing to a more difficult transition included non-supportive relationships among administrators and colleagues and newly assigned responsibilities that detracted from success in meeting expectations for tenure and promotion. Effective transition from fellow to faculty included plans for continued mentorship and stakeholder engagement of administration, mentors and faculty colleagues. Conclusions: Effective transition from fellow to the full complement of the faculty role benefits both the home institution and scholar. Positive outcomes may be contingent on scholar support and organizational investment during the transition period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-385
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Professional Nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Academic transition
  • Career development
  • Mentorship
  • Scholarship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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