The external consultant as perceived by consultees in associate, baccalaureate, and higher degree programs in nursing



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When a School of Nursing is faced with certain tasks such as a self-study for accreditation by the National League for Nursing, curriculum development or revision, or formal organizational restructure, it has an option of seeking advice from a consultant external to the organization. The purpose of this study was to identify relationships between external consultants and consultees, as perceived by the consultees, in associate degree, baccalaureate, and higher degree programs in nursing. The CONSULTANT-CONSULTEE SURVEY INSTRUMENT was used to elicit information from the Dean/Director or her/his designate of the school. The sample of 249 associate degree and 116 baccalaureate and higher degree programs located in Region 3: Southern (a National League for Nursing specification) identified whether or not they contracted for the services of an external consultant during the years of 1980-1981, 1981-1982, and 1982-1983. Two types of analyses, descriptive and inferential, were done to determine the effectiveness of consultant-assisted change efforts as a function of the processes between the consultant and the consultees. The variables which were significantly related to effectiveness (satisfaction) of the consultation assignment included (a) extent of agreement to hire a consultant, and (b) pre-decision discussion of the assignment prior to selection and hire of the consultant. Two predictor variables which were significantly related to the dependent variable, satisfaction, were (a) the extent to which the consultant made use of the abilities, knowledge, and experience of the organization members, and (b) the reporting process required during the consultation process. The results suggest that effective consultation can be facilitated by a specifically outlined process which includes (a) need identification for a consultant, (b) selection and engagement of consultant, (c) scope of the assignment, (d) task structure (working phase), and (e) evaluation. The recommendations are (a) that Deans/Directors of schools of nursing and practitioners in clinical nursing should use the results of research studies to establish the most effective consultant-consultee relationship; and (b) that further investigation be done: (1) supporting the use of various predictor variables from this study and others possibly having impact on the effectiveness of consultation and (2) using a national randomly selected sample of associate degree, baccalaureate, or higher degree programs in nursing and the inclusion of case studies of consultation assignments for comparative data.



Nursing--Study and teaching--United States