Career Transition and Identity Development in Academic Nurses: A Qualitative Study

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Previous studies have demonstrated that nurses’ transition to academia is complex and influences the construction of their professional identity. The aim of this study was to analyze the construction of academic nurses’ identities within the framework of dialogical self theory, especially the internal positions they deployed and the main contradictions they faced during professional transitions. A qualitative multiple-case study was conducted and fieldwork was performed between September and December 2016. The participants were three academic nurses working at different Spanish universities. The nurses wrote narrative diaries for 4 months and three interviews were conducted before, during, and after the diary writing. The main tensions identified concerned their I-positions within the research and teaching spheres. Nursing research is still linked or subordinated to other professional contexts. In the teaching sphere, the main tensions involved the assessment process. Transitioning to the teaching sphere requires specialized training in research and teaching skills, as well as specific support to enable nurses to meet multiple challenges and foster their professional development. Thus, this study highlights the need to refocus future nurses’ training by reevaluating the academic field and the need for specific programs to enhance the transition from clinical practice to academia for future academic nurses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1371-1389
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Constructivist Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Career
  • Nursing
  • Identity professional


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