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Scholarly Teaching Strategies for Nurse Educators

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I am not new to the role of nurse or educator, but to the role of nursing educator. My motivation to teach future generations of nurses prompted my transition from a clinical nurse to an academic nurse educator. My interest in teaching comes from my own positive experiences as an undergraduate student and from a love of learning

My educational philosophy is a work in progress as I continue to grow as a nurse, educator, and scholar of nursing education.

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The role of the educator is to facilitate student development of critical thinking by helping the student build on existing knowledge and integrate curriculum content with clinical experiences. Peters described a teaching as a process of medication where the educator “works as the interface between curriculum and student.” Core competencies for nursing education have been developed by the National League for Nursing. The competencies include facilitating a learning environment by providing structure to content and learning activities, goals and objectives, assessment, evaluation and feedback to students. In addition, the core competencies outline the role of educator in curriculum development and program evaluation. Educators should function as role models and change agents, working to continuously improve the learning experience

Educators should function within the academic environment and serve as leaders in scholarship through the development and refinement of evidence-based teaching practices. Finke outlines the scholarship dimensions of nursing education: discovery, integration, application and teaching. The effective educator is a facilitator, coach, mentor, and role model in continuous practice improvement.

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Friberg and Lyckhage’s study emphasised the significance of research utility and disseminating research results

Cader et al. revealed differences in students’ knowledge of computer and information literacy skills. In one study, differences appear to have been influenced by the role of the library in supporting nursing students, curriculum content and emphasis, and interaction with lecturers and peers. Nurse educators indicated a need for staff development and a progressive approach to the curriculum to ensure students’ understanding of IL and its links to learning. An environment supportive of the learning process promoted change and development. Collaboration with and facilitation and guidance by academic and library staff was considered essential for a successful process and outcome. It was also clear from these studies that nursing students need greater support to access, use and evaluate information fully.

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In the long run, this highlights that whilst scholars internationally, perceive these kinds of techniques to be important to nursing education, there is no existing (or push to create a) collection of techniques for assuring meaningful and engaging teaching

Whilst this is surprising, it does highlight that this may well be a fruitful area for useful research.

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Cader R, Derbyshire J, Smith AG, Gannon-Leary P, Walton G. In search of evidence: a small scale study exploring how student nurses accessed information for a health needs assignment. Nurse Educ Today. 2006;26:403–8.

Friberg F, Lyckhage ED. Changing essay writing in undergraduate nursing education through action research: a Swedish example. Nurs Educ Perspect. 2013;34:226–32.

Mattila L-R, Eriksson E. Nursing students learning to utilize nursing research in clinical practice. Nurse Educ Today. 2007;27:568–76.

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