A difficult learning experience - page 3

During this past semester, I took a graduate-level nursing theory course as part of my MSN program. “Piece of cake,” I told myself; I believed it would be easy. Puffed full of hubris, I expected to ace the class with little to no... Read More

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    There's a lot to be said about the time spent away from undergraduate learning. I only graduated in 2008 and now, revisiting some prerequisites for nursing programs, I'm having to relearn the habits that made me a successful student in the past.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    I teach pre-nursing students, so my students are mostly new undergrads. I can roughly divide my classes into three groups: (1) high-achieving self-starters that are experienced with college-level work - think B.S. in bio or psych who has decided to become a nurse, (2) post high-school students who recognize the courses are a lot tougher than they're used to, and rise to the challenge, and (3) grasshoppers who believe the world owes them a living, and blame me for "ruining their career". The first group needs a tiny bit of direction and an occasional extra challenge. I'm still working on a way to reach the third group, but I love working with the second. I'm not going to say all of them make it, because they don't. To be honest, not all of the first group make it. But articles like yours give my students a new reason to learn concept mapping (which most of them think I made up on the spot!) and explain a little why we emphasize stretching their reach in research work. "Why can't I use the New York Times or Science Digest? They're reliable." becomes "Wow, I didn't think I could understand an article from a journal like this; it was really interesting." Thank you for the article!
    Last edit by Anatomatrix on Aug 22, '12 : Reason: typo
    Latterlife Midwife likes this.
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    When I started my MSN program the only theorist I'd been exposed to was Orem. But I learned about Virginia Henderson's theory: "What is the unique function of the nurse?" I had to think about that one--a lot! And it is now my favorite theory. I think about it almost everyday because it is the best description of how I feel about nursing, my patients, my co-workers, etc. It says it all!
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    Quote from hey_suz

    The first day of class, I probably even walked in with a swagger, clearly the oldest student in the room, second only in nursing experience to the professor. I chuckled to myself during the introductions....

    As the semester continued, it became increasingly clear to me that this was not going to be easy, and that I was not nearly as well-prepared or as intelligent as I had initially believed...

    So, then, what did I learn? First and foremost, I became aware of the infinity of what I don’t know, and the vastness of knowledge itself; I learned some new skills that will help me curate and attempt to understand this knowledge; and I learned that I needed a serious attitude adjustment...

    Most importantly, I learned that I do not know nearly as much as I had led myself to believe. I learned that I need to ask for help, from the right people, early on, rather than sweating alone over my notes and letting anxiety get in the way of thoughtful work. This experience changed me in a fundamental and humbling way, nudging me toward praxis.
    Oh my, how well I relate to these statements! I went for a BSc in Midwifery 2007 after being an RN for nearly 40 years, with 20years in the field of L&D. I was sure I would soar but I had no idea how little I knew about academic writing, especially in the UK where so much is self-directed learning. How I suffered! I made it through with a lot of help from my instructors and the student assistance office, but it still stings that I didn't get a First, having been so experienced in the maternity field. There was no hope of that in the end. It's all in the academic writing and having a very open mind to new learning.

    The thought of doing a Masters creeps up on me now and then, but I don't know if I've got it in me. Maybe, at 62, it's time to be happy with what I've done and let it go at that.

    Thanks for writing what's been nagging at me for 3 years now. Well done!
    SHGR likes this.
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    Thanks for the inspiration as I prepare to begin the next course toward my BSN. I too have suffered the godliness disease. I thought the informatics class would be a breeze since I have a BS in systems analysis. Then I thought the gerontological nursing class would be easy since I've done LTC and home care. got Be in both of them because I didn't take the work seriously. Next class...heath care delivery...can't be cocky there!
    SHGR and Latterlife Midwife like this.
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    This is such a great story and love because I actually start my MSN program tomorrow so I felt like I was reading my own thoughts! Thank you of your insight, learning experience and your true honesty! It is a breath of fresh air especially in today's culture where most people are self-centered! This article gave me hope for myself and my next three years of graduate school! Thanks again!
    Latterlife Midwife likes this.
  7. 0
    Hey_suz, your write-up was great and heart-felt. For me, it confirmed that life-long learning is not a fad. I also found myself humbled after I started my MSN program.

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