DEAR NURSE EDUCATOR, YOU DESERVE A BIG THANK YOU!
Dear nurse educator, thank you for teaching outside your comfort zoneBy Annie Moore-Cox, PhD, RN
How many days were you given to put your course online? 5 days? 3 days? A weekend?
You’re not alone. Professors in every discipline were forced to do the impossible this semester with little or no notice. And, for a professional discipline like nursing, full of people who are “people-people,” teaching online is a particularly difficult endeavor. After all, none of us became nurses because we wanted to sit behind a computer all day. Yet, here we are.
NURSE EDUCATORS: TAKING ON NEW CHALLENGESOnline teaching and learning is a wonderful venue for faculty and students who opt for the experience. But online teaching is a specialty with its own research base and practice standards. It takes hours to learn how to develop an online course. In fact, many schools have a course exclusively prepared for teachers to learn this skill — a course designed by expert online course designers. One online program has a 40-hour orientation program for new faculty, yet all their courses are prebuilt by course designers!
What you’ve done — in the space of a few days — is amazing.
I’ve heard from so many of you that you’ve been working 10-, 12-, 14-hour days — and that’s after putting your courses online in a weekend’s time. This is on top of caring for your own families at home, becoming your children’s teachers, and, in many cases, working in a health care facility at great risk.
While we’ve all watched grateful Americans clapping for healthcare workers, I want to take a moment to thank you.
Thank you for teaching outside your comfort zone.
Thank you for putting your students first.
Thank you for taking the time to put your courses online in thoughtful and creative ways.
Thank you for listening to your students as they expressed their anxiety.
Thank you for carrying on despite the challenges.
Thank you for your patience and persistence.
Thank you for doing something completely different every day for the past few months.
In my role as a Complete Account Executive here at ATI, I have the privilege of regularly interacting with hundreds of nurse educators. One overarching theme I’ve heard over and over is your concern for the well-being of your students. You worry about them meeting course objectives, getting out there in the workforce and staying safe (despite their lack of experience), trying to learn at home (while quarantined with their families), being forced to work extra hours as nurse’s aides (while trying to keep up with their studies), and caring for ill loved ones — all simultaneously.
At the same time, you all have had your own challenges. I’ve heard stories of courage and heartache, strength, and vulnerability.
- Acting in the role of single parent as your healthcare worker partner moves into temporary housing to avoid infecting your family — all while you are still teaching full time.
- At home, after giving birth during the pandemic, but still teaching.
- Anxiously waiting for a loved one in intensive care — sick with the virus — to get better, but continuing to serve your students.
- Teaching online despite not knowing what a browser was a couple of months ago!
NURSE EDUCATORS: BEING THERE NOW FOR OUR NATION’S FUTURE HEALTH
Nurses are healthcare’s unsung problem solvers. That clearly extends to nurse educators, as well, and these last few months have proven it. Because of you, a grateful nation will have new nurses serving Americans this year, and next year, and all the years to come.