Professional Roles ILocation: CNB 2400 (CNB 2400)
Nursing InitiativesLocation: ONLN (Online)
Capstone ClinicalLocation: CNB 2600 (CNB 2600)
- Oncology Nursing Society. 02/01/2018 - present. Position : Member.
- Sigma Theta Tau. 01/01/2018 - present. Position : Events Chair.
- American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. 05/01/2016 - present. Position : Member.
I believe that in order for adults to learn, they must be motivated. My teaching philosophy centers on helping learners connect to the material. I have found that my students are not likely to be engaged if they do not understand why they are being given the education. A frequent sentiment heard from nursing students is that some classes are “fluff classes”. My mission is to facilitate the students understanding of material and its application to their future practice.
An important factor in nursing education is the diverse learning preferences found among students. I have typically addressed this consideration by having my classes take a learning style test at the beginning of the semester. This will help both the students’ self-awareness, and allows me to incorporate teaching methods that will facilitate the most retention. I also provide a variety of supplemental resources that include support for many different learning preferences, such as webinars, articles, charts or tables, and images that promote integration of the concepts learned in their preferred learning technique. I have also found that when I present the information in a real-life situation or scenario, students are more easily able to understand how to apply the information to their practice. Having a substantial background as a bedside nurse in many different specialties is beneficial, because I have many real-life experiences to draw from.
Among the most satisfying experiences as an educator has been working with students individually during the clinical component of the Caring for the Older Adult course I taught at Brigham Young University – Idaho. Many students had the initial impression that the gerontology class would be boring or not applicable. Spending individual time with the students allowed me to help them discover how the curriculum applied to their areas of practice. In many of my semester evaluations students remarked that the course ended up being one of their favorites in the program, because they were surprised at how applicable the information was to their practice.
Supporting students in hospital clinicals is a vital component to their nursing education. Helping them synthesize and connect their clinical experience to their classroom learning is an important concept. These are the opportunities that help them grow as a nurse.
My experience in teaching in the online environment has been valuable. I have had the opportunity to teach gerontology, pathophysiology, and mental-health nursing courses online in my work as an adjunct faculty member. Learning to connect with students without having face-to-face contact is challenging but rewarding. I have had the distinct pleasure of educating students living in all areas of the world, which has encouraged thoughtful discussion on the diversity in healthcare provision worldside. To facilitate learning in an entirely online environment I worked diligently to ensure all assignment instructions were clear, and provided video explanations, examples, graphics, and rubrics. I engaged frequently in online discussion boards to show presence, but also carefully to allow students to run the discussions and avoid taking over. I also responded in a timely manner to student inquiries and questions via e-mail to ensure they had the information they needed to succeed.
Beyond teaching in the classroom, I believe my attitude as an educator strongly affects the learning environment. As an educator I respond with empathy and curiosity, because my students are adults with complex needs and considerations outside of my classroom. It is important to sincerely care about students and I demonstrate this by consistent consideration of student’s needs and learning styles. I recently had a student in my online gerontology class that was living in Japan. Many of the clinical hour requirements were impossible for her to accomplish based on what was available to her. We were able to meet individually to create a plan that would fulfil the course requirements. We communicated frequently and were able to ensure she had the information she needed. She was able to successfully complete the course.
I believe that being a good educator goes far beyond experience. Continued scholarship is vital. I am constantly aware that there is always more that I can learn, as a nurse and an educator. I am not ashamed to admit if I do not know something. This is a skill I try to teach my students. I have had many students in the past that have inquisitive personalities. Occasionally this can be a challenge in a classroom setting. Maintaining my own sense of curiosity and patience when responding to these questions is of vital importance. Students must be encouraged to ask questions. My classroom will always be a safe place for curiosity.
Nursing students face a challenging and rewarding career after graduation. Our role as educators is vital in both their future and the future of our communities. I believe that my approach to teaching with empathy, respect, patience, and curiosity will help foster these behaviors in the nursing students I teach, and that they will integrate them into their own practice.