Professional Values and Capabilities
A Chinese proverb says, “Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.” I believe this is true and as both a teacher and learner. I try to keep this in mind every day. Even though the proverb is helpful in explaining how we best learn, it leaves some gaps in terms of how we involve others in the learning process and also what is essential learning. In the next several paragraphs, I provide some information about my values and capabilities on student learning, understanding, and excitement about learning.
People learning is complex because it goes beyond instilling knowledge from a text. In many nursing programs there has been a greater focus on the training part of being competent nurses to being a health individual. However, nursing students need to learn more than psychomotor skills and how to do well on tests. I am able to identify learning in a variety of ways. Tests, quizzes, skills laboratory demonstrations, classroom discussions, and simulation help students and me identify if they are acquiring the knowledge base of nursing. In addition, I believe my role is to evaluate their interactions with others both in the classroom and in the simulation lab to help me see if they are learning about what it means to be a professional. Students and I also need to continually learn and hone our skills as professionals (Sullivan, 2005). As students develop as professionals, they begin to value lifelong learning, the importance of ethical behavior, and see how they can best improve the health of others.
Philosophically, I feel that being an educator in nursing is a privilege and very rewarding, but also a difficult role to fill. As a teacher, I need to know about what is important “book knowledge” for students to know and assisting them in maturing into competent, professional nurses. In terms of facilitate their acquisition of basic knowledge, I do this through involving and inspiring students to be the best that they can be as they use their critical thinking skills as they perform assessments, give medications, and do procedures. In assisting student learning in these areas, I provide lecture materials, quizzes, case studies, online discussions, and hands on activities.
My role as an educator does not stop with facilitating students’ learning of nursing skills and basic knowledge. As mentioned previously, nursing is much more than giving injections and changing wound dressings. Nursing students often need assistance with learning about being professional and holding high moral and civic standards. To facilitate this learning in a variety of modalities, I lead students to information about standards of care, include ethical issues in case studies, and discuss ethical professional issues with them. In addition, I am a role model along with the other instructors and give students opportunities to discuss professional nursing behavior with enthusiasm in and out of the classroom and online. Doing this is a privilege and honor.