Whereas most of the concern about increasingly stressful work environments has focused on acute-care hospitals, the academic healthcare environment is not immune. Faculty, staff, and students in schools of nursing report similar stressors. Pressures from managed care, personnel shortages, and unceasing change are affecting the academic environment and yielding stressful, dysfunctional, and occasionally abusive settings here as well. This article describes the role of the dean in creating a healthy work environment in which students can learn and faculty can teach and do research. Future nurses are introduced to critical care as students, and the learning environment significantly influences them. Graduate students in critical care can experience encounters that range from supportive to obstructive. Knowing what is reasonable to expect from a dean and faculty should help students in critical care sort out the issues if they are experiencing an abusive situation, and what options they might pursue.

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