Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Nursing




Jane Cerruti Dellert, Ph.D

Committee Member

Marcia Gardner, Ph.D

Committee Member

Jean Rubino, Ed.D


clinical failure, nursing faculty, students, role strain, unsafe students, clinical practicum


Despite a stressful process, Clinical Nurse Faculty (CNF) are ultimately responsible for assigning a grade indicating that a student successfully met clinical course outcomes and standards of safe practice required to progress (Amicucci, 2012). The purpose of this descriptive correlational study was to explore the relationships between perceived role strain (PRS), perceived faculty stress (PFS), and perceived organizational support (POS) for CNF who faced the decision to assign a failing grade to a student in a clinical practicum. A national sample of 390 predominantly full-time, female, experienced CNF teaching in undergraduate and graduate nursing programs completed the online survey consisting of the Role Strain Scale (RSS), Faculty Stress Index (FSI), and Survey of Perceived Organizational Support (SPOS). Cronbach alpha scores ranged from .93 to .97 for all instruments. Neuman's system model served as a framework underpinning the constructs.

Findings revealed statistically significant relationships between and among PRS (M = 2.96, SD .67), PFS (M = 1.86, SD .95), and POS (M = 4.36, SD 1.52) for CNF. Inverse relationships between PRS and POS (r = -.601, n = 390, p = .000), and PFS and POS (r = -.613, n = 390, p = .000) and a strong positive relationship between PRS and PFS (r = .822, n = 390, p = .000) were identified. Moreover, CNF engaged in making changes to their teaching practices reported higher degrees of PRS as did CNF teaching full-time in both classroom and clinical spheres, or enrolled in a doctoral program.

Open-ended responses indicated this was a significant issue for undergraduate and graduate CNF. Approximately half of the sample reported changes in their teaching practices following the deliberation to assign a failing grade including changes in communication, evaluation process, documentation practices, remediation concerns, absence of administrative support, course revisions, external pressure and stress, revision of the evaluation instrument, unsafe students, and professional growth including increased confidence to assign a failing grade.

Further research is necessary to evaluate of the effectiveness of strategies to support evidenced-based educational teaching and practices in nursing education, particularly for the student-at-risk for failure.