Keeping up with clinical practice while teaching

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    This thread is not intended to be a discussion about the importance of keeping current in clinicals. I am well aware of the importance of it. But, as a full time instructor, I am having trouble balancing it all. In hindsight, I can now see why some instructors do not keep up... they simply cannot.

    I am young and physically able to, that is not the problem. I do not feel I am 'above' the brunt work of floor nursing. I like being there, I just cannot handle a full 12 hour shift, especially when I work 5 days a week. I am a single parent, and my weekend time with my daughter is very precious. Fortunately, my parents live close by and help me out.

    The unit I have a per-diem position on is a pediatric unit, which I have been on for almost 5 years. I started out as part-time there, and switched back and forth from PT to per-diem, as my needs changed.

    My nurse manager told me I need to be more constant in my 'appearances' on the unit. It is kind of a running joke with the staff. They'll say "So, we'll see you in 6 months?" She said that the per-diem requirement is 2 shifts per month. She showed me my attendance over the past year, and it blatantly correlates with my school schedule. She told me I need to be here more, in order to keep up with what's going on. I absolutely agree with her, because i find myself taking time to get back in the swing of things. Policies and paperwork are constantly changing.

    I don't want to give up this gig. I had to give up another per-diem job last year b/c of their requirements (they wanted 4 shifts a month...impossible, even when I was teaching PT). I am comfortable here, and don't feel like starting over. besides, how could I? Are there places that don't have per-diem minimum requirements? (I live in NY, Long Island/NYC area). I'd have to go through an orientation and get adjusted to a whole new unit, new people and all that.

    I do understand the rationale for mimimums, but it is so hard to keep up. Believe me, I need the money too. And during the summer, I try to average one shift a week, while I am off from teaching.

    How does everyone else do it? Or do you not do it?
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  4. 4 Comments so far...

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    I switched jobs. I now work in a BSN program (clinical instructor, lab instructor, plus other duties) and the workload is much more sustainable. The hours are also more flexible. Instead of two days off per week, now I average three days off per week. Because of this change, I usually am able to work two 12-hr shifts per month in a local facility. This facility, BTW, does not require a "minimum" amount of shifts per month. In my former nurse educator position, I was hardly able to work in a secondary staff nurse position, as all of my spare time was consumed in writing/ updating lectures, grading papers, etc., etc. I quickly grew "rusty" in the clinical area. I agree - It is very much a challenge for nurse educators to stay "current" in the clinical arena. BOTH the primary and secondary employers must be supportive of the educator's unique scheduling needs and the need to stay current in practice.
    sailornurse likes this.
  6. 0
    Have you thought about going with a registry? There usually is no minimum. You will have to go to different hospitals instead of getting comfortable at one, but I have found that to be kind of fun, really. I am in the home stretch for my MSN and have recently started registry work in anticipation. I think it is also good for teaching as I am seeing a lot of "do's and don'ts"!
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    The hospital I work for doesn't hold faculty members who teach in our hospital to the same per diem minimums that other per diem staff are required to fulfill. We figure that the faculty time they spend in clinical with the students helps to keep them current. But that is only with the per diem staff members who teach clinicals at our hospital. Actually, the faculty members don't actually work per diem on one unit, they work for our in-house float pool. But the float pool has minimum hours that are waived for faculty teaching in our facility.

    Perhaps your school can help promote a more cooperative relationship with your hospital. It is to the hospital's advantage to have some of their staff members serve as faculty members. The hospital should be willing to be a little flexible to make it possible for faculty members to stay current. You particular unit manager is not seeing the big picture -- that it is in everybody's best interest to work with you on a schedule that works for you. Get people higher up the ladder involved in the discussion -- at least sound them out on the issue. They may see the bigger picture and give you some support with your unit manager.
    sailornurse likes this.
  8. 0
    [QUOTE=nurse educate;2568025]
    I am young and physically able to, that is not the problem. I do not feel I am 'above' the brunt work of floor nursing. I like being there, I just cannot handle a full 12 hour shift, especially when I work 5 days a week. I am a single parent, and my weekend time with my daughter is very precious. Fortunately, my parents live close by and help me out.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Uh-oh. 12-hour per-diem shifts? That's tough. Especially when you DON'T want to sacrifice your weekends and work 5-days a week.

    Hmmmm...

    You need a special agreement with your per-diem practice facility. Maybe agree to give-back some time after your daughter reaches a certain age? Maybe a special arrangement to work a minimum number of 8-hour shifts?

    A collaborative agreement is in the works.


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