The purpose of this paper is to describe my philosophy of nursing education in terms of the role of educator and learner, evidence-based practice in nursing education and useful teaching strategies. Three key issues in nursing education are examined: raising the educational level of nurses, increasing interdisciplinary learning opportunities, and preparing nurses to lead initiatives to improve care and enhance patient outcomes. These challenges are related to my goal as an educator.
Role of the educator
The role of the educator is to facilitate student development of critical thinking by helping the student build on existing knowledge and integrate curriculum content with clinical experiences. Peters (2000) described a teaching as a process of medication where the educator “works as the interface between curriculum and student.” Core competencies for nursing education have been developed by the National League for Nursing (2005). The competencies include facilitating a learning environment by providing structure to content and learning activities, goals and objectives, assessment, evaluation and feedback to students. In addition, the core competencies outline the role of educator in curriculum development and program evaluation. Educators should function as role models and change agents, working to continuously improve the learning experience. Educators should function within the academic environment and serve as leaders in scholarship through the development and refinement of evidence-based teaching practices. Finke (2009) outlines the scholarship dimensions of nursing education: discovery, integration, application and teaching. The effective educator is a facilitator, coach, mentor, and role model in continuous practice improvement.
Role of the student
Students build existing knowledge by interpreting new information through personal constructs and prior experiences. Students employ a variety of learning styles and have diverse educational needs and come to the learning experience with a variety of perspectives, expectations, and motivations. Students who take an active role in learning acquire important skills of scholarly inquiry and discovery. Svinicki (2011) described strategic learners as “diligent and resourceful” who are open to continuous learning to improve their practice. Benner (2010) identifies the ability to prioritize and a acquiring a sense of salience as central goals of nursing education. Through feedback, reflection, and discussion, the student creates meaning and gains awareness of personal constructs influencing his or her perceptions. Students develop skills for lifelong learning, a key to successfully adapting to ever-changing technology, information, and clinical situations.
Useful strategies in nursing education
The most useful strategies in nursing education are those that help the learner integrate clinical knowledge with patient experience. Emergency situations happen rarely in clinical practice and simulator training helps students gain confidence as they test their performance under a variety of conditions without risking harm to a patient. Benner (2010) describes several strategies educators use to enhance learning such as contextualizing patients’ experiences, and guiding students in learning how to respond to changing situations. Constructive planned feedback helps students improve their practice. Learning is also enhanced when the educator creates opportunities for students to integrate clinical experience with classroom content. Through clinical coaching and classroom interactions, the educator and student engage in an empowering social process aimed at the development of the student nurse. Narrative pedagogies are a useful strategy to help students learn to think critically through analysis and interpretation. Reflective journaling allows students to find meaning in clinical experience and explore feelings when clinical interactions are complex or challenging. Interdisciplinary collaboration on service projects builds a foundation of mutual respect and understanding of roles and boundaries and students learn from patients, families, communities and each other.
The role of evidence-based practice in nursing education.
Chisari (2006) Evidence-based elements of nursing education. Should be adopted by all programs. Mission to educate a nursing workforce maximizing their ability to provide safe, effective, patient-centered care.
Oermann, 2007 Using evidence in your teaching.
Strategies that work, so much content knowledge, simulators – training best practices,
Three most important issues in nursing education and why
My goal as an educator
I hope to impart the spirit of continuous improvement so that learners seek new knowledge and learning opportunities throughout their careers. I hope to contribute to the preparation of nurses who can practice effectively in complex, technological healthcare environments with the skills necessary to work with others in the efficient management of health information and resources. I hope to reveal the learning opportunities that exist in everyday experience as nurses interact with other disciplines and patients and families who are the experts in their care. Most of all, I want to teach nursing by example through respect, thoughtful reflection, and continuous refinement of my teaching practice.