The Experience of Faculty Practice: Developing and Evaluating a Newly Established Program
Computing, Health and Science
Nursing, Midwifery and Postgrad Medicine, Systems and Intervention Research Centre for Health
While the notion of faculty practice, that is clinical practice by an academic in a health service environment, is not new, Australian Universities have been slow in providing practice environments where academics’ theoretical understanding is informed through the service environment. Although there is a plethora of published academic opinion on the benefits, there is a dearth of meaningful data describing the subjective experience of academics that participate in faculty practice. Developing an understanding of the issues academics experience, while on faculty practice, provides a vital opportunity for those seeking to adopt a faculty practice model in their institution. The paper describes the genesis of the faculty practice program and outlines both the benefits and challenges that were encountered during implementation. A program evaluation conducted by an independent consultant indicated that all faculty practice participants found the process to be empowering and revitalising, despite their initial apprehension. The personal and professional gains achieved while on faculty practice were considered to compensate for the additional work-load involved. The immediate dividends of enhanced self-esteem, classroom practices and credibility with students for faculty practice participants were outcomes achieved.