Friday, March 1, 2013

Nursing Instructors: Teaching and Inspiring the Next Generation

Nursing instructors have a unique calling to impart what they have learned in the field to student nurses. They take clinical experience and knowledge and pass it on to the next generation. The good ones know how to include anecdotal stories from their days on the floor, or explain concepts in inspiring language and tone. One of my favorite instructors was able to teach in a way that helped me visualize being a nurse; she shared stories of being an ICU nurse which helped to solidify the major points of her class and shared helpful tips on how to remember things in a fun way.

I’m sure we have all had (or will have) an instructor who is on the other end of the inspirational spectrum,, one who might leave us feeling a little shorted. I remember having one instructor in particular whom I felt was simply in academia because she hated being a clinical nurse so much more. She seemed to portray an air of discontent with even teaching, and I had a hard time fathoming how she acted toward her patients. Eventually we bonded, however, and I learned that although she may not have had a good “bedside” manner, she was brilliant in regards to knowing and teaching difficult concepts.
While some of my nursing instructors have been more inspiring than others, I have found that every one of them has something unique to share that has contributed to my development as a nurse.

Most nursing schools require instructors to have a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) with a preference for those with a doctorate degree. The art of teaching can be challenging, so a PhD in nursing can help with evidence-based teaching concepts and research. Most nursing instructors teach classes or help with clinical experiences based on their prior employment. For example, it would be difficult to do a rotation in L&D with a clinical instructor that only worked in the ICU. Fortunately, most instructors prefer and are placed at clinical sites and teaching classes in the area where they have the most experience. This ensures a positive and enriching experience for the students.

Just like becoming a nurse, teaching is a challenging yet rewarding profession. For those of you who enjoy teaching, a career as a nursing instructor may be in the future for you. Take opportunities to teach, mentor, or be a preceptor in the future to help learn essential skills or to discover if it is something you enjoy.

What experiences have you had with instructors? What factors make some better at teaching and inspiring than others? If you are interested in teaching, what aspect of the job is most interesting to you?


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Phyllis Grabot said...

I really like reading your blog Cassie. It's very informative. I'd like to remind any nurse reading your blog that part of Barco’s Nightingales Foundation’s ongoing commitment is to encourage people to embrace the profession of nursing. We hope that by bringing their stories to life, more will be inspired to embrace nursing as a profession.

On our Facebook page, we are sharing stories from nurses and student nurses from across the country and throughout the world.

So, I'd like to invite you and other nursing professionals you know to contact me so that I can ask some specific questions on advice you’d offer those who are considering nursing as a profession. LIKE us on Facebook and send me a note at
Thank you--Phyllis Grabot

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