Students' voices: the lived experience of faculty incivility as a barrier to professional formation in associate degree nursing education

Nurse Educ Today. 2013 Mar;33(3):286-90. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2012.05.030. Epub 2012 Jun 21.


Background: Nursing faculty play an important role in constructing learning environments that foster the positive formation of future nurses. The students' construction of a nursing identity is grounded in social interactions with faculty and is shaped by values and norms learned in both the formal and informal curriculum. The informal curriculum is communicated in faculty teaching practices and relationships established with students.

Purpose: To acquire an understanding of the students' lived experience in associate degree nursing education and identify educational practices that support students' professional formation.

Methods: A phenomenological design was chosen to study the lived experience of nursing education. In-depth interviews were conducted with 13 participants. Five students participated in second interviews for a total of 18 interviews. Symbolic interactionism guided data analysis.

Participants: Participants represented three ADN programs in the northeastern U.S. and were diverse in terms of gender and age and to a lesser extent race, and sexual orientation.

Findings: Faculty incivility included demeaning experiences, subjective evaluation, rigid expectations, and targeting and weeding out practices. Targeting practices contributed to a perceived focus on clinical evaluation and inhibited clinical learning. Faculty incivility hindered professional formation by interfering with learning, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and confidence.

Conclusions: Faculty who model professional values in the formal and hidden curriculum contribute to the positive formation of future nurses. Nursing faculty should be formally prepared as educators to establish respectful, connected relationships with students. Faculty should role model professional values, deemphasize their evaluative role, provide constructive formative feedback, and remain open to the student's potential for growth.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Education, Nursing, Associate / organization & administration*
  • Faculty, Nursing*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Male
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Behavior*
  • Socialization*
  • Students, Nursing / psychology*
  • Young Adult