RN Clinical Teacher- no teaching experience?

  1. Just curious what you think of this. I saw a job posting at work yesterday for a position as a clinical instructor for ADN program in my area. All they want is a willing RN/BSN with recent acute care experience. They don't care if you have ever taught or have any teaching experience. I was a little surprised by that. Nope, I am not applying to the job. I was just a little disappointed I guess. I know we nurses do precepting & teaching all the time. But I couldn't help think that they are being unfair to the student RNs by not even requiring a little formalized teaching experience from the clinical instructors. By the way, this ADN program has an excellent rep. What do you all think?
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  2. 57 Comments

  3. by   Furball
    I'd rather be taught by someone with actual bedside experience (recent) rather than by someone with just a teaching degree....yes indeed.
  4. by   psychomachia
    Furball: I'd rather be taught by someone with actual bedside experience (recent) rather than by someone with just a teaching degree....yes indeed.

    Me: But does that person with recent experience actually KNOW how to TEACH? That's not an assumption you should take lightly. Teaching is difficult and requires certain skills that not all "experienced" nurses might have. I'm sure I'm not alone in having the experience of being "taught" by someone with loads of work experience, but couldn't "teach" to save their life.

    Yes, experience is needed, but so is an understanding of the dynamics of teaching. One has to be able to explain how, why, when, and most importantly, why not. AND be able to adjust their individual teaching "style" to different students abilities.

    Personally, I think the best teachers are the ones with lots of experience (it doesn't have to be that recent), lots of understanding, an ability to convey thoughts and actions to others, and also has a desire to continue learning. It's the ones who think they've seen and done it all that are probably the worst teachers.
  5. by   Rena RN 2003
    so far in my adn program, we have had 2 clinical instructors that have had no teaching experience. thankfully, i have not had them for clinicals but i've talked to some that have and they say it's awful. the instructor is a very nice person but they do not have assignments that are even close to what the rest of the class is doing. papers are not returned in a timely manner so that students may see how they are progressing. there actual learning is limited because the instructor is with them for every little thing they do other than baths where as the nursing lecture instructors that lead clinicals know what the students have accomplished in class and rely on that to know what the students are capable of. yes, i do believe this isn't the best situation for student nurses. but then again, no clinical instructor would be worse.
  6. by   researchrabbit
    Originally posted by psychomachia
    But does that person with recent experience actually KNOW how to TEACH? Teaching is difficult and requires certain skills that not all "experienced" nurses might have. I'm sure I'm not alone in having the experience of being "taught" by someone with loads of work experience, but couldn't "teach" to save their life.

    Yes, experience is needed, but so is an understanding of the dynamics of teaching. One has to be able to explain how, why, when, and most importantly, why not. AND be able to adjust their individual teaching "style" to different students abilities.

    Personally, I think the best teachers are the ones with lots of experience (it doesn't have to be that recent), lots of understanding, an ability to convey thoughts and actions to others, and also has a desire to continue learning. It's the ones who think they've seen and done it all that are probably the worst teachers.
    As a perpetual student and (once upon a time) language teacher I have to say I agree. As the program looking for the teacher has a good reputation, they probably try to screen out obviously unsuitable candidates, and may even have them teach something extemporaneously, as I had to do when I interviewed for public school teaching.
  7. by   Dr. Kate
    There are so mnay things that go into the decision of an institution when hiring an instructor. Lots of CCs desperately need more nursing instructors but for whatever reason are not allowed to hire more FT instructors. They're focred by administrative or budgetary circumstance to make do with PT/per diem clinical instructors. (We hear this from the CC instructors who come to our facilities.) In the public CCs, even instructors have to meet certain hiring requirements. So, while the ad may indicate only a BSN is required there are other requirements that willneed to be met for the person to continue even in a casual PT position.
    Everyone knows that classes don't make a teacher, classroom or clinical. All they do is improve and validate skills. Doesn't make it a good thing to have an inexperienced teacher in clinical.
    If I have learned anything over the years it is that people are far sturdier than than we tend to give them credit for being. Patients manage to survive most of what we do them, children survive inexperienced parents, and students survive inexperienced teachers. Sometimes you have to step back and trust that things will work out. I can't be the only one who has pulled a student aside and said something like "I know your teacher said . . . . but that isn't the way it's done anymore, now we do . . . ."

    Just an aside, the average age of nursing instructors is something close to 55. Scarey, isn't it?
  8. by   Flo1216
    One of the best instructors I have ever had was new to teaching. Some of the worst teachers I have had have had over 20 years experience. Besides, if they suck then just fire them.
  9. by   psychonurse
    I totally agree.....although I wish there was a way that the teachers with the teaching experience would also have to have some practical experience also. I mean some of them have been out of clinical nursing for so long that they are totally out of the loop. My OB instructor had her teaching certificate and she also worked in the OB ward a couple of shifts a week. She was the greatest teacher that I had in all my schooling. My med-surg teacher had some clinical experience but no teaching exp. and my psych nurse had teaching but no clinical exp. It was amazing that I made it through my training.....but I think I just wanted to be a nurse and that made me work for it.
  10. by   NurseAngie
    I think an eagerness and willingness to help others learn is what is important. I had an instructor in PN school that was a recent new BSN grad and she was very good. I learned a lot from her. The only thing was that she didn't really believe in LPN's as nurses and made that pretty plain. I think maybe it was a pride thing to her in the beginning (she wanted to teach ADN students), but after a while she really got involved and showed us that she did care. I would support any nurse that wanted to teach because that is half of it...WANTING to teach.

    ~Angie

    P.S.- Why aren't you going to apply? Is it something that you would be interested in? Maybe it's waiting for you to discover it.
  11. by   Furball
    The best clinical instructors I had in school were still working bedside. The worst ones were the ones who had been away for many years and appeared painfully clueless during clinicals. This is purely my opinion formed from my personal experience.

    Hopefully instructors are hired based on experience in BOTH realms.....current clinical experience AND teaching experience. You can't just disregard current bedside experience because changes in healthcare are constant and therefore it is easy to become an ineffective, uninformed instructor.

    Dr Kate is correct...I had floor nurses tell me several times during school "We haven't done it THAT way in 20 years" contradicting information given by my clinical instructor. I survived but it did get rather annoying. It made you wonder what other information was out of date, wrong or possibly dangerous? Someone may be wonderful at communicating information or explaining procedures but if the information is incorrect what good is it?
  12. by   BBnurse34
    As nurses we teach all the time (externs, students, patients, new hires.. residents .) I think floor experience is much more important than teaching experience.
  13. by   zumalong
    Well---this is a subject near and dear to my heart. I was hired as a nursing instructor with no education background. I had a very strong clinical background--and much education experience with teaching patients and also CNA's. Still the first few years of teaching were very difficult. I have asked this question many times--even when I went back to school and focused my practicum project on improving teaching so board scores would be acceptable.

    I have worked with some very wonderful people--some can teach and reach the students like there is no tomarrow--some should take a deep look at themselves and why they entered into nursing in the first place (let alone teaching nursing). Unless you go on for your Master's and above, there is no structured nursing program that focuses on teaching. Most of what i have accomplished has been by research, trial and error. Mostly trial and error. This method did not work what will work next time. I try to attend every seminar I can on nursing education. Sometimes I learn a lot--sometimes I shake my head and walk away.

    Would I be a better educator if I had a degree primarily in nursing education???? No I don't think so. THe degree does not make you an instructor, the ability to transmit ideas, thoughts, theories, and skills in a manner that allows the student to thrive in an environment of acceptance and respect makes you an effective educator, and a respected nurse.:kiss
  14. by   psychomachia
    zumalong: Would I be a better educator if I had a degree primarily in nursing education???? No I don't think so. THe degree does not make you an instructor, the ability to transmit ideas, thoughts, theories, and skills in a manner that allows the student to thrive in an environment of acceptance and respect makes you an effective educator, and a respected nurse.

    Me: EXACTLY!

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