Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Loretta B. Johns

Second Advisor

Shirley A. Freed

Third Advisor

Jennifer W. Dove


Problem. There are few resources to show educators how to help students improve learning by improving health and mental well-being. There is a lack of integration in the literature in terms of how practitioners can reach these students in order to help them learn effectively and develop into successful, productive adults with meaningful lives. This study has three major sections. First, I examine my experiences within education to determine what values, truths, and principles mold my practice. Second, I identify my teaching practice in relationship to nursing theory integrating it with learning theory, thus highlighting the relationship between the health and learning of students. And third, I analyze and discuss my experiences to develop an emerging theory that can be shared with others in the fields ofeducation and nursing.

Method. Using a narrative autobiographical approach, I reflected upon my experiences with students, evaluated comments by students, parents, colleagues, my husband, and assessed informal conversations with colleagues. I examined my teaching practice based on nursing theory as it relates to individual adolescent learners. I wrote stories using my journals. I also presented data using stories, poems, metaphor, concept maps, and graphs.

Results. After analyzing my teaching practice, three predominant themes emerged from my practice as a nurse---caring, compassion, and student advocacy---that are applicable to the practice of teaching and connect the relationship between the health and learning experience of students. Caring provides opportunities for role modeling, dialoguing, reflection, connection, and community. Compassion requires recognition of self-involvement with students and the knowledge of the nature of life itself with all its twists and turns in order to deal with student suffering. Student advocacy requires entering into supporting, trusting, and flexible relationships with students. Together these three themes demonstrate my practice and lead to my emerging theory of Teacher Becoming.

Conclusions. Since my practice is based on my emerging Theory of Teacher Becoming, I am challenged to connect the relationship of health and well-being with learning effectiveness of adolescent students and to emphasize the human perspective. Therefore, this bridges the lack of integration between health and learning so that educators can have the benefit of my nursing practice in teaching as a result of this research study. As I progress and cultivate my practice, the Theory of Teacher Becoming will be continually tested and continue to evolve.

Subject Area

Interdisciplinary approach in education, Learning ability--Research, Nursing


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