Cathy Jo Sroufek, MSN, RN
Certification and Licensure:
While in nursing school, I learned that it is important for all nurses to be educators, whether they educate patients, families, communities, students or colleagues. We educate patients about their disease processes, medication use, dosage, and side effects, treatment modalities and discharge planning. We educate families about how to adapt to their family member’s disease, how to help them in performing activities of daily living and special accommodations that will be necessary at home for their loved one. We educate communities about public health and safety, healthy lifestyles, and community specific topics. As nurses, we educate students in clinical settings to a new environment and we share our knowledge with colleagues.
As a nurse educator, I believe that nurse educators must be caring and compassionate towards their students. Nurse educators must acknowledge that nursing is both an art and a science and have competency in psychomotor, affective, and cognitive skills in order to teach their students. Nurse educators must serve as role models for their students and teach appropriate and necessary socialization as well as knowledge. Nursing students must be taught that treating a patient often involves a complex web of trained health care personnel to address different needs, such as occupational therapists, physicians, and pharmacists. Nurse educators must be able to teach their students how to appropriately interact with other members of the health care team.
As a nurse educator, I believe that group work is essential for development of social skills, sharing knowledge, acknowledging personal differences, and overall for the socialization of the nursing student. Knowledge and role play with interdisciplinary health care team members is important to help the nursing student understand their role in patient care and the health care delivery process. Group work challenges students to deal with different ideas and view-points, and encourages critical thinking.
Nurse educators must utilize multiple teaching styles to most efficiently reach their students. Not all students learn in the same way and not all teaching material is intended to be taught in one particular style. It is imperative that nurse educators take inventory of their students’ learning styles and plan their lessons and curriculum so the widest variety of learning styles can be addressed and a majority of students receive information in a way that they can best process and utilize.
Nurse educators must take into consideration student disability, cultural and generational differences, as well as familiarity with technology. Students are not just an open book to be filled with knowledge; they come with their own set of knowledge and experiences as well as personalities. Nursing is a field that is primarily dominated by females and it is important that nurse educators do not participate in gender bias with their students. Nursing students are a diverse population and nursing instructors must be able to set aside any biases they have in order to promote a positive, caring learning environment. Nurse educators must be able to adapt to their student population in order to facilitate an accommodating learning environment.
Nurse educators can learn just as much from their students as their students can learn from them. They must be able to acknowledge their mistakes and accept responsibility if they misinform their students or students find conflicting information about a particular topic. Nurse educators must be open to pursing and learning new information, as well as learning information about topics outside of their expertise to broaden their knowledge base. It is important for nurse educators to be up to date on best nursing practices/evidence based practice and current research in their field of expertise.
Nurse educators must be knowledgeable and passionate about their subject of interest. Nurse educators must be able to keep their students engaged in difficult learning material that may not be easily understood by students. They must be able to facilitate learning by promoting critical thinking and challenging students in both the classroom and the clinical setting. Nurse educators are critical in the facilitation of nursing students’ learning, personal and professional growth, and success in a nursing program.