Adjunct pro's and cons

  1. Hi all,
    Right now in my area of the country there is a shortage of nurse educator positions. Well, I have been offered an opportunity to work as adjunct at a local community college and a local university. The hours will not conflict so I can do both. Just wanted feedback from faculty relating to working as an adjunct.

    If I accept the adjunct position, I will be leaving a full-time position at a private school ( not happy here). Current position presents many ethical dilemmas for me, and not a place I would like to be at for long term.

    Please share your thoughts/experiences relating to working as adjunct.
  2. Visit mysnurse profile page

    About mysnurse

    Joined: May '11; Posts: 21


  3. by   llg
    Will you have access to benefits such as health insurance, a retirement plan, money for conference attendance, etc.? If you would be giving all that stuff up ... that's something to really consider.

    Some adjuncts don't get ANY support at all and may hardly ever even interact with the other faculty members. You come in, teach your class, and leave. That's the kind of adjunct position I have. I teach an evening classs and have NO interaction with any other faculty members and receive no benefits. I don't even have a mailbox in the School of Nursing building and had to pay for my own copy of the textbook. It's OK for me now as I have a full time job with benefits during the day. But I wouldn't want that type of position to be my ONLY job.

    However, sometimes .... adjunct faculty are incorporated into the faculty, attend faculty meetings, have an office, etc. Some have access to benefits and support services. What will YOUR adjunct positions be like in regards to these issues? Find that stuff out before making a decision.
  4. by   June59
    I have been an adjunct for 3 years in 2 different associate degree nursing programs. My preference is to remain adjunct as I enjoy remaining in practice prn. My 1st year was with a college in which the adjunct clinical salary was 1/2 of what I am making now. Currently, I am primarily clinical adjunct with periodic lab & classroom spots. My on campus salary is lower per hour, but it is a reasonable amount as it accounts for my prep time. Clinical is double than what I earn on campus as it is expected that I will also be spending time prepping for post conference activities & grading care plan assignments. Overall, my current position is very fair in compensation. As for my prior college, after calculating all hours invested, ie, clinical hours + grading hours, my hourly salary amounted to approx. $12/hr. Both positions had/have the potential for full time, but still require going through the group interview & teaching demonstration. My prior employer requires FT faculty have or return to school for doctorate degrees. Neither college guarantee a FT position based on having been adjunct. Both do not offer access to benefits.

    I advise you to determine if the salary is reasonable. Take into consideration effort you will be investing during your personal time. For clinical, expect to invest an additional 4-8 additional hours prepping for post conferences as well as grading. In both positions, I had 10 students for clinical. The 1st college had significantly more homework than my current. Students were overwhelmed by it, & I found the assignments did not promote learning. This was frustrating for me and contributed to my lack of satisfaction with the position. Most clinical's were spent with students in the texts & charts rather than in patient rooms. In my current position the students are learning as they care for patients. They have the amount of homework & have the time to stop & think about what they are putting on paper. As a result, I am more satisfied with my job & can build on prior learning. Also consider what semester you will be teaching. Grading & prepping for 1st semester is more time consuming than for semesters 2 - 4. If this position includes labs & class, inquire if there is compensation for prep time. Ask to view an example of a typical weekly assignment ~ this will allow you to get a feel of how much personal time you will be investing. If hired as an adjunct, take note of the FT faculty workload & morale. Research the college expectations & requirements of FT faculty. If hired, give serious thought as to why you are not happy with your current position. Will FT with the new employer be different?

    As for college/department support, in both positions I had an on campus mailbox & was invited to all department & team meetings. Both positions pay for time in attendance for these meetings, yet attendance is not mandatory for adjuncts. The colleagues at my last position gave little notice (sometimes less than 24 hrs), if any & decisions were made without my input. I received little info from my colleagues regarding the outcome of these meetings & as a result learned of clinical changes from my students. Inquire as to how much involvement you will have in program/clinical decisions.

    Bottom line is I recommend you compare & contrast the 2 employers regarding potential for FT, & if so, when. What are the true job descriptions, & how will you be compensated, & approximately how much time will you need to budget outside clinical/off campus. Granted, I presented a lot of input that relates to salary, but I value my personal time & found that lacked in my former position as I also work prn at the hospital. That year I had to put in more shifts at the hospital compensate for the lower adjunct salary. This placed stress on my marriage as I always had work to do on my days off & in the evenings. FT would have been no different. As an adjunct w/ 2 different employers, you will have the opportunity to preview the FT faculty positions. Compare both w/ your current position & why you are dissatisfied with it.

    I hope this helps you as you consider this move to adjunct. Good luck to you in whatever you choose.
  5. by   mysnurse
    Great feedback! Thanks so much for providing me with feedback, which I will consider in making a decision.