Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Research Advisor

Michael A. Carter, DNSc, DNP


Margaret T. Hartig, PhD Susan R. Jacob, PhD Patricia M. Speck, DNSc Lynda Wilson, PhD


grounded theory, nurse educator, qualitative research, role translation, tacit knowledge, unfamiliar setting


There is a gap in evidence to guide individuals as they prepare for a nursing education partnership in an unfamiliar setting. Much of the existing knowledge base is contained within institutional or organizational confines. Individuals new to the field need access to existing expertise and tacit knowledge. The purpose of this research was to generate a grounded theory to guide aspiring nursing faculty in developing the necessary knowledge base to fulfill the nurse educator role in an unfamiliar setting. Ghana, Africa, was specified as the unfamiliar setting and context for this study.

Purposive sampling identified individuals from North America and Ghana who were experienced in the role preparation processes of outside nurse educators partnering in Ghana. In addition to first-hand experience with the phenomenon of interest, inclusion criteria specified the ability to speak and converse in English, and a minimum age of 18. Data collection used theoretical sampling via telephone interviews for individuals from North America (n=10) experienced as partners for nursing education in Ghana. After determining theoretical saturation from North American participants, sampling transitioned via researcher fieldwork, for face-toface interviews with individuals from inside Ghana (n=6) experienced in partnering with outsiders for nursing education. Data management included an inductive on-going data analysis process that began with the first interview, and used constant comparison of thematic concepts until the final theory emerged. Interviews were audio-recorded, and transcribed into Microsoft Word. Member checks served to validate the transcriptions. Researcher thoughts, observations, and methodological decisions were recorded in journal entries in memo format, and served as another data source for this study. TAMS Analyzer qualitative software was used to store, manage, code, and analyze the data. An audit trail was used to track data sources.

Findings revealed five steps to outsider preparation processes that organized the emergent theory, Preparing for an Unfamiliar Setting, grounded in participant experiences. The five steps included (1) Personalizing Information Needs, (2) Seeking Information, (3) Laying the Groundwork, (4) Developing Understanding, and (5) Framing the Outsider Role. Antecedents to preparation processes included the participants’ past experience, existing network, and existing knowledge base. Progression through the process was fluid, allowing individualized interpretation based on antecedent characteristics. Instances of ineffective preparation were also revealed. Findings indicated that outsiders returned to earlier steps in the process when they recognized a gap in knowledge or understanding. Failure to correct gaps in understanding or amend gaps in knowledge resulted in ineffective partnering while Framing the Outsider Role. Findings revealed the necessity of including insiders as information resources during preparation.

This research generated a theory grounded in the realities of individuals' experiences while partnering for nursing education in an unfamiliar setting. Concepts derived from interview data combined with researcher interpretations formed a theoretical framework that can guide individual nurses through the process of Preparing for an Unfamiliar Setting



Included in

Nursing Commons