Illuminating the Experiences of African-American Nursing Faculty Seeking Employment in Higher Education in Nursing

Vanessa Loyd, University of Missouri-St. Louis


This study explored and described the experience of female African-American nursing faculty seeking employment in higher education in nursing. The lack of diversity in the nursing workforce has been attributed as a major underlying cause of disparity in healthcare in the United States. The importance of increasing the number of minority nursing faculty has been recognized as important for providing quality, culturally competent care. In other words, the shortage of minority nursing faculty, largely African-American, continues to present a pervasive problem for the nursing profession and for providing quality patient care. Pervasive problems include limited knowledge of the value systems of people of color; ineffective cross-communications; inadequate skills in treating patients of color more specific to their phenotype; and insufficient understanding of how to impact access for this population. Studies have examined the experiences of African-American nursing faculty in higher education; unequivocally few studies have discussed experiences seeking employment in higher education. This research study used a qualitative approach to conduct face-to-face, semi-structured individual interviews with nine African-American female nursing educators to gain a better understanding of what and how they felt as they sought employment in higher education. Three major themes and seven subthemes emerged from stories of the nine participants in this study. The three major themes were: I) driving forces of motivation, II) challenges and issues, and III) successful versus unsuccessful. The seven subthemes included two under theme I: intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation; three under theme II: lack of clarity, lack of job security and lack of diversity and racism; and two under theme III: hiring experience and race/ethnic consideration.