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PamtheNurse BSN, MSN

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PamtheNurse has 25 years experience as a BSN, MSN and specializes in Simulation.

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  1. PamtheNurse

    What Is Wrong with These Students?

    Have you ever looked out at your student filled classroom to see that half are paying attention? Are they taking notes on their tablets or laptops? Don’t be fooled! A close look may reveal facebook scrolling or Amazon-buying. Social media is integral to this generation’s community experience. That realization brings an understanding of their preference for a text message to a face-to-face encounter. There is nothing wrong with social media. We do enjoy looking at baby pictures of our high school and college friends. And what does our Ex look like now? Day-to-day personal and work routines of banking, ordering goods, and emailing have thrown us right into the middle of the digital age. Our families keep in touch through texting or facetime. And we look everything up online. Times have changed! Connecting with our millennial students' means, like it or not, we have to get on board with digital communication. Expanding within the digital environment sets these students apart, as does a lack of confidence. Millennial students who perceive life as stressful rely heavily on their previously hovering parents or guardians to help them navigate life’s challenges. As a result, the autonomous nature of the nursing profession and the emphasis on the responsibility of decision-making that can impact lives is difficult for them. Understanding this is crucial to recognize stress and anxiety which can inhibit learning. Millennial students are ambitious, optimistic, gravitate towards working in teams, conventional and need to feel important. Expressions of appreciation gain of these students’ attention as do small recognitions. We might have to start giving them a pat on the back for coming to class on time! Other ways faculty can show they appreciate their millennial students Learn and call them by name (you won’t remember them, that’s what seating charts are for) Introduce yourself on the first day of class (don’t assume they know who you are!) Clearly outline your expectations (these students are very concrete thinkers) - give them specific rubrics and firm due dates Provide a lot of feedback (oral and written) Don’t criticize in front of the class (you shouldn’t do this with anyone) Millennials tend towards skepticism. After all, their parents were baby boomers who didn’t trust anyone over 30! Review how you present the information. What worked with older generations simply won’t work with this crowd. Nursing faculty must gain student trust, helping them become accountable individuals that collaborate in the learning process. Tried and true instructional methods for millennials Give them questions and scenarios that relate to the real world as they understand it Have students share their research with classmates Encourage working in small groups to solve problems Make use of available technology (incorporate computer games and resources, like Socrative© in the lesson plan) Ask for their help (Millennials are helpers in the strongest sense of the word) Utilize all types of learning in the classroom (don’t shy away from hands-on practice and demonstration) Give nursing students in upper-level courses the opportunity to engage in service-learning Millennials are diversity sensitive. 21st-century American universities and colleges have greater inclusivity. Depending on where you teach, specific unique cultural or ethnic considerations may need to be incorporated into the classroom. They are adaptable to change so long as it is fair and clearly defined. Tolerant of differences, they may appreciate your personal quirks but they expect you to do the same for them. Working with a classroom full of Millennials isn’t easy. Understanding how they differ from you and your colleagues lends to successfully bringing them to the graduation finish line.
  2. PamtheNurse

    Degree or Not Degree, That is the Question

    This article is a reflection of questions and concerns that motivated me to further investigate the nursing faculty plight with research. The research survey to generate the data will be coming soon!
  3. A nursing faculty writes: "My college is pressuring all faculty with a Master’s degree to pursue a Ph.D. or DNP. I don’t feel this is something I want to do. Can I continue to teach without it? It wasn’t long ago thoughts of Doctor Nurse were ludicrous MDs didn’t appreciate the few brave souls that dared venture into that territory! Patients were confused and hospital administration wasn’t willing to cough up more pay. The average DNP in practice made about $50/hr. Depending on location, that amount could be earned three 12-hour shifts a week as a generalist nurse. Enter the 21st century: New era, new roles, and with-it new norms More letters behind your name, the greater your status. Now don’t get excited. Nursing faculty work hard to achieve these certifications, etc. and proudly display them. And, they should! Though I also know those who behind their names have more letters than the Oxford English Dictionary and are not capable faculty or nurses. It is your decision to pursue your post-graduate education It isn’t always the case, though. Colleges and Universities have determined nursing education has to maintain comparable professionality standards as other professions and therefore a greater number of terminal degreed individuals. Do you need a doctorate to teach? Yes and no On a tenure track - yes Teaching at a Community College - no Teaching in an ADN program - no Teaching in a BSN program – contingent on the institution - yes If the thought of pursuing yet another degree gives you hives, don’t panic. Switch to clinical teaching If your institution won’t budge, consider switching to a clinical teaching position. Job placement sites like Indeed.com, list dozens of available clinical teaching positions throughout the country. These require a master’s degree and some nursing experience. Contract work Another option is contract work. Colleges and Universities save money by hiring adjunct faculty term by term. An advantage is longer breaks between semesters. However, often these jobs don’t include benefits. If this option is desirable to seek a traveling nurse agency that specializes in education positions. Teaching Assistant If you can take or leave being head honcho, consider a graduate teaching assistant (TA) position. These faculty are responsible for performing teaching or teaching-related duties. They assist faculty members, professors, department heads. proctor exams, grade, and record tests and homework. The TA can fill in for a lecture and moderate classroom activities. (America’s Job Exchange, 2020). Positions in the lab or simulation department institution contingent may be associated with teaching. If you enjoy working with technology and creating interesting and effective hands-on learning, this could be the place for you. Some additional training may be needed. (LaFond & Blood, 2016) Consider going for that degree if You have ten years or more till retirement – worth your time You have available State or Federal Nursing Faculty loan repayment programs Your institution offers full or partial tuition reimbursement – take advantage of it Your area of expertise is in demand (mental health, maternal/infant) Your employer will offer you time off to take classes You find a program that offers part-time classes if that’s what is holding you back On-site classes are available if you don’t like online ones – if brick and mortar is your cup of tea Your kids are out of the house and you have more personal time – do it for you A terminal degree path may not be for you if You have a ton of family responsibilities – post-graduate degrees take up a lot of time You still work full or part-time as well as teach – ditto above comment The cost will put you over the edge – it’s never a good idea to stretch yourself financially Your job description does not require it – unless you want it for yourself You can achieve your personal career goals without it Getting that terminal degree isn’t easy or there wouldn’t be a nursing faculty shortage. Remember why you became a nursing instructor in the first place. It’s all the rage, for now, to have behind your name, prestigious degrees. Ask yourself, truly, is this for you? If it isn’t, find ways to continue your love for teaching with the degree you now have. Who knows, shaking it up a bit might just get rid of the symptoms of burnout you’ve been feeling lately.
  4. PamtheNurse

    The Overlapping Roles of Nursing Faculty

    Kathy, You have made some good points. The overall tenor of your reply and the postings above is one that I have heard so often. As a result, it is the topic of my doctoral effort and associated research. The survey will be available here on allnurses.com soon! Pam the Nurse
  5. Meetings A typical nursing faculty day starts an hour or more early to check emails and get organized for the first lecture or class. And bing! An email calendar reminder: a 30-minute countdown to the curriculum committee meeting. Frantic scrambling ensues – where are the previous meeting notes? A dreaded discovery – today’s report is a totally forgotten one. Off to the meeting with the embarrassment and self-torture brain tape running amuck. Not quite what the TV sitcom portrays. Teaching Two hours of teaching follows the meeting. A class break between class one and two brings student appointments. After class two is a quick lunch at the desk and phone calls. Student Appointments After lunch, three more student appointments, no break, term paper grading for the remainder of the afternoon. More Meetings Late in the day - bing! A phone alert reminder of a Nursing Department meeting and the research update presentation obligation as the (leadership requested) task force head. More frantic scrambling looking for the presentation that - sigh – was found. Following the task force meeting… oh no! today is the library trip – now closed, so much for working on the dissertation. Wearily locking the office door, juggling a tote bag full of nursing care plans to grade and leaving. Yet, until the care plans are graded for tomorrow’s 12-hour clinical day, the day is not done. There is More... A typical day? But wait there is more! In addition to teaching duties and responsibilities and serving on committees, there is completing license maintenance professional development hours. Advanced practice faculty have to complete extended hours of continuing education credits to keep working. As if that weren’t enough, common are requests for workshops or conference presentations, often outside of office hours. Peer mentoring can eat up precious time, as can additional classes due to faculty shortage. Active participation in research, self-credentialing, and community involvement are among the many other responsibilities. Northwestern University found that 60.9% of faculty at public universities and 56% at private ones find committee work stressful. Overlapping Roles Overlapping roles increases the demand for faculty time, which is already constrained with student needs and course requirements. Far from the capability of doing it all, and not being able to meet basic responsibilities causes stress. The inability to meet leadership expectations with committee or task force assignments that may impact one’s chances for promotion or tenure exponentially increases the stress. Northwestern University reported that three-quarters of their faculty suffered at least moderate to severe stress from multiple roles required for their position (Northwestern University, n.d.). So, What Can Be Done? Considerations for leadership when assigning additional roles to stressed faculty are the possible stress associated conditions: mental depression anxiety pessimism inability to concentrate Serious physiological ill that can occur: Alcohol abuse Substance abuse Chronic fatigue Sleep disorders Headache Muscle tension Gastrointestinal ailments (Better Health, 2012) Teachers who were surveyed listed several reasons for their job stress. Here are some common themes: Too little time Not being able to develop their class Not enough administrative support Changing responsibilities (Mulholland, R. et al, 2013) Consequences of nursing faculty stress on their performance include: Less efficiency Impaired student-faculty interaction Poor student outcomes Clinical errors especially medication errors Placing patients at risk due to poor supervision of clinical students Academic institutions should take advantage of opportunities to decrease the stress caused by overlapping responsibilities on nursing faculty: Provide mentoring for new faculty before assigning additional tasks Review whether current committees or task forces are necessary Offer paid time off for faculty pursuing advanced degrees Consider the course load of the instructor before recommending them to a committee Rotate responsibilities throughout the nursing faculty community Nursing Faculty can help themselves by: Speaking to the Dean or Department Head when the workload gets overwhelming Get help with prioritization and organization if necessary Reach out to a mentor or colleague for help Schedule some time for self to unwind and relax Don’t take unnecessary work home Take care of physical and mental health Consider whether the job is worth the stress Overlapping roles for the nursing faculty may never go away. It is possible, however, to prevent hating the job you used to love.

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