Nursing education is a transformational experience for the student.
Training nurses, both as students and in practice, is a complex process and as a result, the role of the nurse educator is multifaceted, going beyond simply bestowing knowledge on the learner. The nurse educator is a facilitator of learning and growth. My teaching philosophy focuses on building a respectful relationship between the learner and the educator in which the learner is not a passive recipient of information nor is the educator a fount of unending knowledge. Instead the teaching-learning experience is an interchange built on a relationship of trust and safety. Elements of Adult Learning Theory, constructionist learning, self-determined learning, social learning theory, cognitive load theory and heutagogy all contribute to my approach to teaching. As an educator, I see myself as a guide and mediator to learning. I must provide accurate information to learners, but I must also model the nursing role, guide learners, and support their unique and diverse needs in learning. To this relationship, the learner brings their own personal life experiences, driven by their motivation to learn and is expected to reflect on their own growth and development.
This perspective frames my approach to all things nursing education: from program development, curriculum design and creating courses, to the implementation of classroom activities and evaluation strategies.
An academic program must take students from nursing student to practicing nurse, building on previous knowledge and gaining depth of understanding that leads to the ability to make clinical decisions that result in safe and quality care for humans beings in all stages of life. In the hospital setting, nursing education spans from the orientation of newly graduated nurses to new to practice setting nurses to seasoned nurses learning to train the next generation. In addition there are overall facility-wide practice changes, updates in best practice and guidance for practicing nurses that must be provided in a relevant and meaningful manner.
I am passionate about creating curriculum and content that respects the learner and their own learning process. Respect for the learner creates an environment of trust and collaboration. Education should address the needs of the community, healthcare system and the learners. Teaching should be supported by best practices in student centered learning approaches and result in life- long learners, yet not be afraid to make mistakes and improve.
Nurse training must be engaging, interactive, and relevant. My courses and content are built on realistic, measurable outcomes that can be met by providing learners the tools to gain and apply knowledge.
Class activities are active and driven by a self-determined learning approach, and ultimately give students the ability to apply the information learned in a meaningful way.
In my courses, students are evaluated on outcomes in multiple ways to support diverse learning styles.
In many ways, I feel the role of the educator is in service to the learner. Much as a nurse is in service to others, in providing care and comfort, the educator is in service to the learner, providing the information, experience and guidance to lead the learner to growth and development in the profession.