Tips for New Nurse Educators

  1. 11
    welcome to the wonderful and rewarding field of nursing education! we certainly need you and this next generation of nurses needs you!

    my best advice for you is to make sure you have a mentor or preceptor at the school. make sure that your mentor is someone you can trust, someone with integrity. (unfortunately, horizontal violence is alive and well among nursing faculty, so choose your confidants and friends wisely. stay out of interpersonal conflicts and politics.)

    hopefully the instructors who preceded you left copies of their lecture notes, etc. some are more thorough than others. it is very difficult (but not impossible ) creating lectures purely from scratch.

    research your lecture material thoroughly, until it becomes part of you and you feel a passion for that subject. as you lecture, that enthusiasm will shine through and spark interest in the students. there is great virtue in simplicity (kiss, stay on target and to the point as possible). less is more. try not to drown the students with too much information. i know, i know. this is nearly impossible with adn and bsn curricula, but try anyway :chuckle always let your students know what are the most important points of your lecture as you are lecturing.

    i give out handouts. caution: don't give out too many (as i did my first year of teaching and "drowned" my students). remember the axiom: less is more. simple handouts with the main points of your lecture save time--you will be able to get more bang for your buck, as time is very scarce with lecturing (so much information, so little time). good handouts will enable the students to write less and concentrate on what you are saying more. i also encourage my students to use tape recorders. that way they aren't so frantic to catch my every word. if your nursing school has a web site, use it to your students' advantage. post your lecture notes and study guides there. your students will appreciate the convenience. i try to post my lecture notes early so the students have a chance to read my notes ahead of time.

    integrate pertinent nclex-type questions as you lecture. especially after more important subjects are covered, throw out a question or two. this helps the students process the material better, and also helps with their test-taking skills.

    if a study guide is included with your text book, refer to it often and have the students use it (don't recreate the wheel). if not, create a simple one yourself. the students really appreciate having them.

    writing exam questions is an art. it takes time to develop this skill. nursing test questions are modeled after the nclex and are "higher order." most teachers and students (!) aren't accustomed to this type of testing at first. instead of a simple knowledge question, you are requiring your students to think critically (analyze, evaluate, prioritize), which is so essential to safe nursing practice. all nursing textbooks come with a test bank. i would use these questions first. after awhile, you will learn to create your own. caution: make sure you choose your test questions before you lecture, so that your lecture will include this material!

    hope this little bit of advice helps. any other more "seasoned" veterans feel free to post here. i welcome your input.
    Last edit by VickyRN on Jul 24, '04
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  4. 10
    For me, it is easier to develop the course from scratch and continue to improve it each semester. It usually takes two years to get it where I want it, but that depends on the course too. It is a great deal of work to go this route, but it makes the course "mine" and this is the most effective system for me.

    If I am lecturing about material that I have had to relearn or learn for the first time, I lecture to my husband so he can ask questions. He actually performs better on my exams than many of my students due to all that he has learned. We enjoy doing things together regardless if it is work-related or not and it has gotten him interested in another career as well...not nursing, but health care-related.

    The first two years I taught at the baccalaureate level, I allowed educational technology to intimidate me. Sometimes now, I realize that faculty can go overboard with this technology too. Keep it simple. If an old-fashioned teaching method is effective, why change it? In my nursing educator experience, there are very few educators who are high tech. My husband has helped me in this area more than any nurse educator. Don't allow it to intimidate you; the computer will not blow up if you select the wrong button or link.

    If the material is very difficult, I will provide them with my notes, but this is rare as I found that they don't do the work of learning in this manner. I never teach without some type of visual aid as most nursing students are visual learners. I do believe that much of nursing education is about entertainment and I do attempt to use humor in my class. I am very structured and tell them exactly what I expect of them in writing and verbally---students do appreciate this type of instructor too.

    Set the standards for classroom behavior, placing this in writing and reviewing it the first day of class. Then, have them sign and date this contract. I love it when a student attempts to tell me, "you never told me this before". Then, I can pull their signed contract out and show them...works every time.

    Study guides are useful and I do require them to do some of those as assignments and turn them into me for credit for their hard work. I use them as a quiz grade. I believe in quizzing them frequently-some unannounced and some announced. This will keep some of them on top of their reading before my lecture. Yes, some never will read and they have to accept the consequences. Offer extra office time to all students, but continue to highly encourage those that are not performing well to come to your office. If they are failing, require it. This alone can get them motivated to do better so they don't have to go to your office. Set office hours and adhere to that schedule. I have done so much outside of class and office hours that it can burn one out quickly.

    Stick to adult learning principles and this is my greatest challenge as an educator. I have been accused by more than one faculty member that I do too much for the students. I recall my days as a student nurse like it was yesterday and I wish I would have had the assistance that I provide to my students.

    Role model professional behaviors...be on time to class and clinical without exception. This is one issue that upset me greatly during this past year. Students reported that faculty just would not show up, yet they expected the students to behave differently than they had...if you inform the students that you are going to do something, do it. Keep notes for yourself to ensure that you do what you say. Also, allow early morning planning for the day at home where you are not disturbed.

    Integrity is a core value in nursing and be consistent. If a student does not show that they are honest, take the necessary steps to discipline them and always report this to the Dean with documentation. Remember that the Dean must be reminded to follow up on these issues. I have had students that I personally did not think belonged in nursing due to violating the core value of integrity...today, I hear about those nurses and they are still doing the same thing. It is worth standing up for these values with the Dean, but yes, it is her/his final decision on what action should be taken.

    Be cautious what you write to students, faculty, and the Dean in e-mails. This avenue of communication can be misunderstood so easily. When angry or upset, don't send any emails.

    Above all else, care deeply and intensely about your students as if they were your patient/client, because they are just that...if you don't enjoy teaching, do all of the faculty and students a huge favor, quit! Not all nurses make effective educators, in fact, in my experience most are not effective. The few that are effective are exhausted due to having to back up and teach what other faculty did not. Realize the importance of what you produce and take responsibility for it. Monitor them very closely in clinical and prepare for clinical. I would make assignments the day before and it took me hours to review those charts. We are responsible for the students and all of those patients, so take this leadership role seriously.

    Good luck and if I can be of further assistance to any educator, I will. Just PM me. My first mentor was a God send to me. Vicky is right on about horizontal violence in nursing education. It is actually worse than in nursing practice because it is well-hidden. Trust one or a few only until you can further assess the faculty group. Realize that the faculty are the ones who need to share and discuss private student issues...trust me, students are not the ones to share this with and if you are in a weak faculty group and this happens, it will only make you very unhappy.

    Barbara
  5. 0
    Thank you both Vicky and Barbara for your words of wisdom. I appreciate their practical value and they were right in step with my graduate readings. How does one pack so much into the time limit of an ADN program? Does everything just keep in step with the State exam expectations? How do you incorporate a discussion on Ethics and professionalism into the ADN program?
    Rhonna
  6. 1
    Hi, I'm new to Allnurses, just started a masters degree with the intention of teaching at the BSN level. Great information here! I have an assignment to find out what it costs to educate a nurse at this level. Has anyone seen any statistics on this?
    jbhaktidog likes this.
  7. 0
    Quote from vickyrn
    welcome to the wonderful and rewarding field of nursing education! we certainly need you and this next generation of nurses needs you!

    my best advice for you is to make sure you have a mentor or preceptor at the school. make sure that your mentor is someone you can trust, someone with integrity. (unfortunately, horizontal violence is alive and well among nursing faculty, so choose your confidants and friends wisely. stay out of interpersonal conflicts and politics.)

    hopefully the instructors who preceded you left copies of their lecture notes, etc. some are more thorough than others. it is very difficult (but not impossible ) creating lectures purely from scratch.

    research your lecture material thoroughly, until it becomes part of you and you feel a passion for that subject. as you lecture, that enthusiasm will shine through and spark interest in the students. there is great virtue in simplicity (kiss, stay on target and to the point as possible). less is more. try not to drown the students with too much information. i know, i know. this is nearly impossible with adn and bsn curricula, but try anyway :chuckle always let your students know what are the most important points of your lecture as you are lecturing.

    i give out handouts. caution: don't give out too many (as i did my first year of teaching and "drowned" my students). remember the axiom: less is more. simple handouts with the main points of your lecture save time--you will be able to get more bang for your buck, as time is very scarce with lecturing (so much information, so little time). good handouts will enable the students to write less and concentrate on what you are saying more. i also encourage my students to use tape recorders. that way they aren't so frantic to catch my every word. if your nursing school has a web site, use it to your students' advantage. post your lecture notes and study guides there. your students will appreciate the convenience. i try to post my lecture notes early so the students have a chance to read my notes ahead of time.

    integrate pertinent nclex-type questions as you lecture. especially after more important subjects are covered, throw out a question or two. this helps the students process the material better, and also helps with their test-taking skills.

    if a study guide is included with your text book, refer to it often and have the students use it (don't recreate the wheel). if not, create a simple one yourself. the students really appreciate having them.

    writing exam questions is an art. it takes time to develop this skill. nursing test questions are modeled after the nclex and are "higher order." most teachers and students (!) aren't accustomed to this type of testing at first. instead of a simple knowledge question, you are requiring your students to think critically (analyze, evaluate, prioritize), which is so essential to safe nursing practice. all nursing textbooks come with a test bank. i would use these questions first. after awhile, you will learn to create your own. caution: make sure you choose your test questions before you lecture, so that your lecture will include this material!

    hope this little bit of advice helps. any other more "seasoned" veterans feel free to post here. i welcome your input.
    i am not yet a nurse educator, but i am precepting new graduates. i enjoy this very much and would love to some day be a nurse educator. right now though is there any advice for me as far as precepting? my hospital does offer a 16 to 20 week preceptee course, so i feel that i do not have much to offer when it gets to night shift preceptoring. any suggestions?
  8. 1
    I don't have any statistics to offer you Sapphire, but I also was educated at the advanced practice level twelve years ago and education was cheaper as you well know. One thing I can advise you is to be certain that this is what you want to do...work in an ADN program doing clinical before you invest into nursing education. And remember if you don't like it, academia is not the only avenue of educating nurses.

    This is what I learned recently...there is such a thing as being "overqualified" in nursing...hmmm with the nursing shortage, I thought this was unheard of, but it seems that there are parts of the country who have management that are intimidated by nurses with advanced practice degrees who want to work on the unit. If I was in a large city, no one would care that I am working on my doctorate, but I have moved to a rural area. I actually had a staff RN take me on a tour. After she looked at my CV, she said, "oh, I don't think this little hospital would be the place for you". I thought, with that attitude, you are absolutely right, I would never fit. I had an educator here tell me that the area is flooded with ADN's and I was trying to figure out what she meant by this statement. Because all I could think is WHO CARES? But, I understand it more clearly today. I will keep searching and find the right fit for me. I know that the VA cannot be beat for benefits and since I am a veteran, perhaps that is where I do belong even if it is a 70 minute drive.

    Nursing practice really concerns me and Vicky, the moderator knows exactly what I am referring to here. Why is it that staff nurses don't want an advanced practice nurse working with them and why are they threatened? I realize that this does not apply to all floor or ICU nurses, but the saying of nurses eat their young is an untruth....they will eat whomever they can regardless of the nurse's age...period.

    OK enough for my rant, time for more job searching, :angryfire

    Barbara


    Quote from sapphire
    Hi, I'm new to Allnurses, just started a masters degree with the intention of teaching at the BSN level. Great information here! I have an assignment to find out what it costs to educate a nurse at this level. Has anyone seen any statistics on this?
    funmi Esema likes this.
  9. 0
    Quote from barb4575
    For me, it is easier to develop the course from scratch and continue to improve it each semester. It usually takes two years to get it where I want it, but that depends on the course too. It is a great deal of work to go this route, but it makes the course "mine" and this is the most effective system for me.

    If I am lecturing about material that I have had to relearn or learn for the first time, I lecture to my husband so he can ask questions. He actually performs better on my exams than many of my students due to all that he has learned. We enjoy doing things together regardless if it is work-related or not and it has gotten him interested in another career as well...not nursing, but health care-related.

    The first two years I taught at the baccalaureate level, I allowed educational technology to intimidate me. Sometimes now, I realize that faculty can go overboard with this technology too. Keep it simple. If an old-fashioned teaching method is effective, why change it? In my nursing educator experience, there are very few educators who are high tech. My husband has helped me in this area more than any nurse educator. Don't allow it to intimidate you; the computer will not blow up if you select the wrong button or link.

    If the material is very difficult, I will provide them with my notes, but this is rare as I found that they don't do the work of learning in this manner. I never teach without some type of visual aid as most nursing students are visual learners. I do believe that much of nursing education is about entertainment and I do attempt to use humor in my class. I am very structured and tell them exactly what I expect of them in writing and verbally---students do appreciate this type of instructor too.

    Set the standards for classroom behavior, placing this in writing and reviewing it the first day of class. Then, have them sign and date this contract. I love it when a student attempts to tell me, "you never told me this before". Then, I can pull their signed contract out and show them...works every time.

    Study guides are useful and I do require them to do some of those as assignments and turn them into me for credit for their hard work. I use them as a quiz grade. I believe in quizzing them frequently-some unannounced and some announced. This will keep some of them on top of their reading before my lecture. Yes, some never will read and they have to accept the consequences. Offer extra office time to all students, but continue to highly encourage those that are not performing well to come to your office. If they are failing, require it. This alone can get them motivated to do better so they don't have to go to your office. Set office hours and adhere to that schedule. I have done so much outside of class and office hours that it can burn one out quickly.

    Stick to adult learning principles and this is my greatest challenge as an educator. I have been accused by more than one faculty member that I do too much for the students. I recall my days as a student nurse like it was yesterday and I wish I would have had the assistance that I provide to my students.

    Role model professional behaviors...be on time to class and clinical without exception. This is one issue that upset me greatly during this past year. Students reported that faculty just would not show up, yet they expected the students to behave differently than they had...if you inform the students that you are going to do something, do it. Keep notes for yourself to ensure that you do what you say. Also, allow early morning planning for the day at home where you are not disturbed.

    Integrity is a core value in nursing and be consistent. If a student does not show that they are honest, take the necessary steps to discipline them and always report this to the Dean with documentation. Remember that the Dean must be reminded to follow up on these issues. I have had students that I personally did not think belonged in nursing due to violating the core value of integrity...today, I hear about those nurses and they are still doing the same thing. It is worth standing up for these values with the Dean, but yes, it is her/his final decision on what action should be taken.

    Be cautious what you write to students, faculty, and the Dean in e-mails. This avenue of communication can be misunderstood so easily. When angry or upset, don't send any emails.

    Above all else, care deeply and intensely about your students as if they were your patient/client, because they are just that...if you don't enjoy teaching, do all of the faculty and students a huge favor, quit! Not all nurses make effective educators, in fact, in my experience most are not effective. The few that are effective are exhausted due to having to back up and teach what other faculty did not. Realize the importance of what you produce and take responsibility for it. Monitor them very closely in clinical and prepare for clinical. I would make assignments the day before and it took me hours to review those charts. We are responsible for the students and all of those patients, so take this leadership role seriously.

    Good luck and if I can be of further assistance to any educator, I will. Just PM me. My first mentor was a God send to me. Vicky is right on about horizontal violence in nursing education. It is actually worse than in nursing practice because it is well-hidden. Trust one or a few only until you can further assess the faculty group. Realize that the faculty are the ones who need to share and discuss private student issues...trust me, students are not the ones to share this with and if you are in a weak faculty group and this happens, it will only make you very unhappy.

    Barbara
    Thanks Barbara for the words of encouragement. My first day is this Friday and I am nervous. I do not have a mentor or know anyone from the faculty group. I am adjunct clinical. Will try and plan the best I can and pray all works out well. I am excited, just got the butterflies at present.
    Kokomo
  10. 0
    I have had such a challenging few weeks in my first year of full time teaching. Vicky your words could not have been available at a better time. I found them very helpful and wanted to say thanks-
    I will take them to heart and continue on.
  11. 0
    start of care data collection does any one have a lesson plan
  12. 0
    i was wondering what is the basic background (clinical) of most nursing educators prior to earning msn and or higher levels of education? my long-term goal is to become an educator.





    Quote from vickyrn
    welcome to the wonderful and rewarding field of nursing education! we certainly need you and this next generation of nurses needs you!

    my best advice for you is to make sure you have a mentor or preceptor at the school. make sure that your mentor is someone you can trust, someone with integrity. (unfortunately, horizontal violence is alive and well among nursing faculty, so choose your confidants and friends wisely. stay out of interpersonal conflicts and politics.)

    hopefully the instructors who preceded you left copies of their lecture notes, etc. some are more thorough than others. it is very difficult (but not impossible ) creating lectures purely from scratch.

    research your lecture material thoroughly, until it becomes part of you and you feel a passion for that subject. as you lecture, that enthusiasm will shine through and spark interest in the students. there is great virtue in simplicity (kiss, stay on target and to the point as possible). less is more. try not to drown the students with too much information. i know, i know. this is nearly impossible with adn and bsn curricula, but try anyway :chuckle always let your students know what are the most important points of your lecture as you are lecturing.

    i give out handouts. caution: don't give out too many (as i did my first year of teaching and "drowned" my students). remember the axiom: less is more. simple handouts with the main points of your lecture save time--you will be able to get more bang for your buck, as time is very scarce with lecturing (so much information, so little time). good handouts will enable the students to write less and concentrate on what you are saying more. i also encourage my students to use tape recorders. that way they aren't so frantic to catch my every word. if your nursing school has a web site, use it to your students' advantage. post your lecture notes and study guides there. your students will appreciate the convenience. i try to post my lecture notes early so the students have a chance to read my notes ahead of time.

    integrate pertinent nclex-type questions as you lecture. especially after more important subjects are covered, throw out a question or two. this helps the students process the material better, and also helps with their test-taking skills.

    if a study guide is included with your text book, refer to it often and have the students use it (don't recreate the wheel). if not, create a simple one yourself. the students really appreciate having them.

    writing exam questions is an art. it takes time to develop this skill. nursing test questions are modeled after the nclex and are "higher order." most teachers and students (!) aren't accustomed to this type of testing at first. instead of a simple knowledge question, you are requiring your students to think critically (analyze, evaluate, prioritize), which is so essential to safe nursing practice. all nursing textbooks come with a test bank. i would use these questions first. after awhile, you will learn to create your own. caution: make sure you choose your test questions before you lecture, so that your lecture will include this material!

    hope this little bit of advice helps. any other more "seasoned" veterans feel free to post here. i welcome your input.


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