Objective To optimise the career development in early career academic nurses by providing an overview of the attributes necessary for success. Background Evidence of early prospective career planning is necessary to optimise success in the tertiary sector. This is particularly important for nurse academics given the profession's later entry into academia, the ageing nursing workforce and the continuing global shortage of nurses. Design A qualitative systematic review. Methods Academic Search Complete, CINAHL, Medline, ERIC, Professional Development Collection and Google Scholar databases were searched; resulting in the inclusion of nine qualitative nurse-only focussed studies published between 2004 and 2014. The studies were critically appraised and the data thematically analysed. Results Three abilities were identified as important to the early career academic nurse: a willingness to adapt to change, an intention to pursue support and embodying resilience. These abilities give rise to attributes that are recommended as key to successful academic career development for those employed on a continuing academic basis. Conclusions The capacity to rely on one's own capabilities is becoming seen as increasingly important. It is proposed that recognition of these attributes, their skilful application and monitoring outlined in the review are recommended for a successful career in academia.
- Career planning
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