I am a novice and need guidance


I have posted this thread under the nurse educator section. But would also appreciate guidance from all you wonderful nurses out there. As some of you are aware, I have just been hired as an ADN instructor at my local community college. Am very excited at this opportunity. Will start the first of August and will basically be "thrown into" the job with minimal training. (Best way to learn is by doing!!!) Have not had formal teaching experience (though lots of "informal" experience), but have lots of enthusiasm. So, I come to you, my cyber nurse colleagues-- asking for advice--any good ideas for a novice educator--good ideas for lesson plans, strategies, good books, nurse educator resources, online conferences, etc??? What things should I concentrate on and what pitfalls should I avoid??? Thank you in advance for any direction you can offer me :).

live4today, RN

5,099 Posts

Specializes in Community Health Nurse.

Hi VickyRN...just trust what you DO know, relax professionally with your students, be as prepared as you can be prior to each lecture, think back to when you were a nursing student and what things you wished could have been explained a little better and share that experience with your students, and don't pretend to know something you don't - they will respect any Instructor who says "I don't know, but I will certainly have that answer for you as quickly as I can."

The beginning teaching jitters will soon disappear as you become more comfortable with your students, and they with you. Stay encouraged, and much success on your new job! :kiss


455 Posts

I'm not a nurse educator, but I am in grad school taking a course (starts Tuesday) in teaching strategies. The course is geared toward nursing educators. The books they are using are:

Toward A Caring Curriculum by Em Olivia Bevis and Jean Watson ISBN 0-88737-440-9.

Teaching In Nursing A Guide for Faculty by Diane Billings and Judith Halstead ISBN 0-721603037-5.

I have just started reading them, so I can't tell you if they are helpful or not. I can let you know later once I've had a chance to read them.



266 Posts

My only advice....as a former student is: don't loose your heart. Remember that your students are there to learn and your there to teach, but don't forget that the students have a life outside of class. Teach from your heart! Show them your passion for nursing. Teach them with love and they will absorb all you have to teach and turn out to be awesome nurses!

Congrats.....and good luck!!


577 Posts

Hey, welcome to education!

I am a educator myself, and although our system of teaching here is different as in the USA, students are students and teachers are teachers and nurses are nurses and............. etc.

My advice is: be honest to your students, you don't have to know everything, but tell them so. tell them you'll look it up or ask someone else.

This is one of the biggest mistakes quite a few new educators make, they think they know it all, or should know it all, which is absolute b....s.....t!

You only make youself laughed at by your students and they don't take you for real anymore.

And another thing you'll need is patience. Tons and tons of it!!

Read as much as you can and don't try all the "new" methods and technical stuff with a class. They get pretty bored with another video or another groupwork or another mindmap.

Tell them anecdotes and let them (the students) talk, take them serious, even when they ask the most peculiar questions.

Best thing to do every once in a while: go for a drink with them and relax.

good luck on your new job, take care, Renee


446 Posts

Also helps when you are teaching if you can give clinical examples and/or real life analagies....that helps them learn when you can link it to something they understand.

Also makes it a heap more interesting.

Humor helps too. If they are first year students, sometimes I'll share some of my student nurse experience when I was in first time clinical. Always makes them laugh and there's a lesson there to be learned...but that is another story.

Suffice to say, I was the most brilliant clinical nurse in basic nursing NOT!!!

But that doesn't mean the pychomotor challenged student won't be a good/great nurse.

Maye that is why I have never wanted to work in LTC EVER.

adrienurse, LPN

1,275 Posts

Good luck! You have to start somewhere. Speak directly and honestly to your students. Learn how to use Powerpoint. Have a sense of humor. I loved the instructors whe told jokes and inserted cartoons into their lectures. Remember it's not the length of the paper that matters, its the content.

nimbex, RN

387 Posts

Practice your first few lessons in front of a video camera, the mirror or on cassette tape..... This will lead you to know what needs to be improved and what works....

If you're comfortable, share one of the above with a trusted friend who will give constructive feed back... not just "you were so good"

After you've practiced a few, the nerves go away.

Your enthusiasm will be catchy, look on the net for teaching games, test reviews .... like two teams playing jeapordy, the winning team get a homework pass.... yes,,,, this works on adults... any fun learning is ... fun while learning.


603 Posts

Lots of good advice here...I have very little to add except for something that helped me...

My favorite nursing instructor (who, BTW, was also the most demanding, exacting, and knowledgeable instructor -- as well as scrupulously fair -- wow, was she ever good) carried a wand with a star on the top to lecture. When she wanted to emphasize something was extremely important, she would wave her wand and say "Star, star" for emphasis (meaning we should put a star by it in our notes).

Not only was it funny, but helped with both studying and in clinicals later.

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