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Words From One Nurse Educator to Another
- A nurse educator teaches nursing students in both the classroom and clinical settings. Also, how to manage work-life balance.
- Our country became reliant on healthcare workers as the front-liners during the pandemic. As nurses worked tirelessly, in poor hazardous conditions, and without much of a break, many have felt beaten down and are losing their passion for their job.
- We must change the message of uncertainty and fear to strength and resilience. Our job is to provide insight and guidance to this new future generation of nurses that are entering unprecedented times. To adapt our teaching style and create a deliberate, optimistic learning environment. To invest in our future nurses and remind them that the storyline behind our profession is not pessimism, but compassion.
Words From One Nurse Educator to Another
The dream of every student seeking to become a nurse one day is not an easy journey. Despite personal circumstances at the time of enrollment, every student is quickly enveloped and consumed by the expectations required of them.
Nursing programs are created to be fast-paced, rigorous, and demanding of both time and mental capacity.
The long hours spent between both the clinical setting and classroom lectures are meant to train future nurses in the art of managing a work-life balance that will continue with them as they move forward on in their careers.
However, since the pandemic transformed the world we know of today, educating nursing students has too changed.
Nurse Educator Adapting to Change
Teaching at the clinical setting before the pandemic was simpler, smoother, and less complex. For the most part, students were trained by preceptors that had been nurses for several years with vast experience and wisdom. The energy in the unit was contagious and the morale was higher.
Fast-forward to today, the stark contrast is that many of the students are now being trained by preceptors that are either recent graduates themselves, contract nurses from out of town, or it’s simply staff that has no desire to teach but are forced to have students shadow them.
What happens is that this creates a ripple of effects. It requires more due diligence from an instructor’s role, including more careful monitoring of the students on the unit floor.
It demands more time spent in post conference discussing and allowing students to fully share their raw and honest emotions of the day.
It causes more time to be spent in teaching and reiterating our patient safety core values. But most importantly, from a nurse educator standpoint, it demands that we elicit hope and optimism to the incredible field of nursing that has been through so much.
Nursing continues to be the backbone of healthcare today.
New Era of Nursing
Five years ago, landing a daytime position in a critical care floor such as ICU or ER as a new graduate was unheard of. The rule of thumb was that you had to have prior experience before being hired in a critical care unit or start off on the graveyard shift.
Since the pandemic, however, the playbook has changed and now specialties that were coveted and rare are now readily available for anyone to take.
Nursing professor and researcher, Peter Buerhaus from Montana State University pointed out the sad reality of how these unintended consequences associated with the pandemic led to a severe drop in nursing enrollment rates.
Humanity in Teaching as a Nurse Educator
Teaching is a partnership between a student and the nurse educator. It is an understanding that the senior role will inspire, empower, and guide a younger professional along their footsteps.
Some of the most revolutionary lessons have come from those individuals that sparked passion and purpose in other’s journey.
The goal is to help our students ignite that fire and lead them to identify their specialty of choice.
The Bottom Line
As a nurse educator, we must change the message of uncertainty and fear to strength and resilience. Our job is to provide insight and guidance to this new future generation of nurses that are entering unprecedented times. To adapt our teaching style and create a deliberate, optimistic learning environment. To invest in our future nurses and remind them that the storyline behind our profession is not pessimism, but compassion. Nursing is so much more than just a title.
The greatest lessons are learned through working in the service of others and meeting them in their most vulnerable states. It’s the hand you hold for the patient that’s receiving a life-changing diagnoses, it’s the warm words you speak to the child who misses their home, it’s the legacy we leave as individuals for each life we touch on a day-to day basis.
Let’s make our footprint count.
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