To All Seasoned Nurses, Preceptors, and Nursing Instructors: You Rock!

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    Nursing instructors, professors, preceptors, and seasoned nurses are critical to the the future of nursing, because without their tenacity, no one would teach vital knowledge and skills to the next generation of nurses. In spite of this, the healthcare community does not always place a high value on the contributions made by nurses who educate. The purpose of this article is to express my deepest gratitude.

    When I'm ironing the wrinkles out of my nursing scrubs before going to work, I often think of them.

    When I'm performing a procedural nursing skill at the bedside, I often think of them.

    When I'm explaining the purpose of a medication to a curious patient, communicating with a nervous family, or using the SBAR format to report a change in condition to a physician, I often think of them.

    Who am I thinking about? I often think about the nursing instructors and professors I had while I was a student. I regularly think about the seasoned nurses who oriented me and patiently transferred their nuggets of expertise to me. During the course of our days at work, we carry out procedures, perform skills, and engage in a certain way of thinking. While all of these things might appear clear-cut and routine on the surface, the majority of what we do calls for skills and knowledge that various people have transmitted to us.

    The most successful teacher that has certainly touched all of our professional and personal lives is direct experience. However, our professional experiences are rooted somewhere, and it is mostly from the formal nursing education we received as students and during our years of accumulating informal education at our places of employment. As we drift through our hectic days at work, some of us go into autopilot and might not always remember that our specialized skill set and fund of knowledge were introduced to us by some of the most special people in existence.

    Nursing instructors, professors, preceptors, and seasoned nurses are critical to the nursing profession, because without them, no one would be around to transmit vital knowledge and skills to the next generation of nurses. In spite of this, the healthcare community does not always place a high value on the contributions made by nurses who educate. This is evidenced by the meager salaries that colleges, universities, and trade schools offer their nursing faculty members. After all, a nurse who has earned a master of science degree in nursing (MSN) or doctorate (PhD) can earn significantly more money by securing employment somewhere other than a school setting. The low value that the healthcare community places on nursing education is also demonstrated by the numerous hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and other settings that fail to pay preceptors additional money for the arduous job of orienting brand new nurses to the floor or unit.

    I admit that I disliked a couple of my nursing instructors. However, I still appreciate them to this very day. Keep in mind the advantages that nurse educators bestowed upon you, and then return the favor by transmitting some of your expertise to a new nurse. The future generations of nurses are the lifeblood of our profession.

    The foundation of every competent nurse in existence today was formed by nursing instructors and built upon by experienced preceptors. Without people willing to educate, the nursing profession would cease to exist. I am expressing my deepest gratitude to the nurse educators who have selflessly passed the torch of knowledge and skills to the future cohort of new nurses because, without you, we would be lost. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You rock!
    Last edit by Joe V on Nov 16, '12
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  3. by   Ntheboat2
    It's like that in all realms of the education world. The high school football coach always makes more than the teachers. It's baffling.

    I was glad to have a "young" preceptor for my last semester of nursing school because she made my time easy. I heard horror stories from fellow students who had "mean" preceptors and it made me thankful. I DID learn a lot with my preceptor, but now that I'm going to be training to work on my own vs. just getting in my required hours for school - I'm really hoping for an older, experienced nurse.

    My "cool, young" nurse was not a bad nurse by any means, but lots of my questions went unanswered and probably unheard while she texted on her iPhone 5. She made it smoothe sailing for me as a student, but I don't need smoothe sailing when training to work on my own. I need someone with a lot of experience who cares more about the patients than whether or not we are going to be friends at the end. Of course, the nurse I was with did care about her patients, but they were HER patients. She could go back and fill in any blanks that I missed while she was in the "phone zone" as I call it. Of couse, I would never even know what I might have missed and she wasn't worried about my future license or future patients - as long as all of HER work was as it should be.

    I think more experienced/older nurses see the bigger picture. I hope. I hope to be put with someone who will think that when I'm on my own that what I do or do not know might reflect on their teaching. What trainees do doesn't always reflect on the teacher, but if a student has spent weeks with you and doesn't know how to put an order in properly then there might be some education lacking. I have nothing against new grads (obviously) but my area is flooded with new grads and/or young, inexperienced nurses. Some preceptors haven't even been out of school for a year before they are training someone else. That's crazy to me, but it's common. I really, really hope that I'm placed with someone who has a lot of experience.
  4. by   amygarside
    Great article!
  5. by   Testa Rosa, RN
    I was so blessed to have some good instructors (even the ones I didn't like so much taught me something), more importantly tho was my preceptor--she taught me so much and hope and pray I do her proud every time I practice our craft.
  6. by   daisyv
    Thank you so much for this article. I am a Nurse Educator for more than a 20 years, it is only now that I have read this kind of appreciation to us.This is very wonderful and heart warming, I am so touched.
  7. by   JustMe
    The reason I teach clinicals is because I had awesome nursing instructors--and I want to be just like them! Even though it's been over 30 years since graduating from nursing school, that part of my training is still very vivid in my mind. I want my students to have the best clinical experiences possible and I hope they learn from me, not only the mechanics of nursing, but the heart and soul of what it really means to be a nurse.
  8. by   lepew
    Thank you for this article. I have been a nursing instructor for 8 years. I have an MSN, with a specialization in nursing education. I could make a lot more elewhere, but teaching is what I love. The best saying I ever read-and I do not know who it orginated with- is this:
    Nursing instructors: we are in it for the outcome, not the income.....

    That sums it up for me!