Faculty and student perceptions of effective clinical teachers: an extension study

J Prof Nurs. 1990 Jan-Feb;6(1):33-44. doi: 10.1016/s8755-7223(05)80187-5.


This extension study was conducted to (1) identify which characteristics of the effective clinical teacher are deemed most important by nursing students and faculty; (2) determine whether previous findings remain valid (are transferable); and (3) investigate whether the perception of effective teaching behavior shifts as students advance toward graduation. The research tool, a two-part questionnaire developed by Brown, was circulated among students and instructors at a university college of nursing in southwestern Ohio. The first section listed 20 characteristics of teachers to be rated, using a Likert-type scale, from "of most importance" to "of no importance." The second section required subjects to select and rank in order the five most important characteristics from the list of 20. Descriptive analysis was applied to the data, and findings were compared with those of Brown. The study suggests that both faculty and students favor articulate, knowledgeable clinical instructors who are "objective and fair" in student evaluation. There is a high degree of similarity between the responses of faculty and students, but differences emerge. Both value skills involving the student-faculty relationship over skills centering on the professional or personal attributes of the instructor. However, faculty respondents appear to place a higher value on instructor interest in patients, and students are more concerned with communication-related attributes. Faculty members place a greater value on showing interest in patients than do students. The results, when compared with Brown's findings, appear largely transferable, but significant differences appear. For example, faculty members ranked characteristics dealing with the clinical instructor's relationship with students to be more important than those dealing with professional competence--the opposite of Brown's results. This study shows the need for nursing institutions to implement programs to foster and to promote uniformly identified effective clinical teaching characteristics. Given the special challenges of clinical nursing education, graduate programs should also seek to teach the skills identified as most effective, and persons with the skills perceived as effective should be urged to enter clinical instruction and should be rewarded for success in this important area.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Communication
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate
  • Faculty, Nursing*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Nursing Education Research*
  • Nursing Research*
  • Ohio
  • Students, Nursing / psychology*
  • Teaching / standards*