A Journey from Nurse Clinician to Nurse Educator (Part I)

Afza.Malik GDA

A Journey From a Nurse to be an Educator

A Journey from Nurse Clinician to Nurse Educator (Part I)

Journey from Clinician to Educator, What Clinicians Bring to the Educator's Table, Characteristics and Qualities Found Common to Both Educators and Clinicians, Cognitive Apprenticeship and Partnerships Ease Transition from Novice to Expert, Clinician to Educator.

    How does one change or move from being a good nurse clinician to being a competent nurse educator? Qualities that draw one into nursing are also essential to nursing education. The term nursing, which comes from the Latin term “ nutricus ”, means to nourish. Just as nurses nourish, support, and care for their patients, nurse educators nourish, support, and care for their students. 

    Educators serve as role models of caring in our interactions with both students and patients. Caring can be role modeled and shared by setting up partnerships for the purpose of promoting nursing education. Partnering with peers and faculty on this journey transitioning from clinician to educator can lay the foundation for success. Other qualities that are similar to both educators and clinicians are listed in.

What Clinicians Bring to the Educator's Table

    Considering the knowledge that a clinician has within the three domains of learning will help novice educators appreciate the skills clinicians bring to the profession. According to Bloom, Hastings, and Madeus (1971), the three domains of learning include: cognitive-knowledge, affective-feelings or attitude, and psychomotor-physical skills. 

    Learning in the cognitive domain occurs when there is a change in knowledge and intellectual skill development. The intellectual skill development encompasses Bloom's taxonomy of increasing levels of intellectual skill including: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. 

    Learning in the affective domain occurs when there is a change in attitude or feelings; the recipient receives the phenomena, responds to the phenomena, values, organizes, and internalizes values, thus changing attitude. 

    Learning in the psychomotor domain includes stages from perception of sensory cues of activity to be learned, through origination, in which the learner is able to create new patterns in response to different situations for the activity. Previous learning related to nursing practice in these three domains will facilitate the transition from practitioner to educator in the following ways. Clinicians have a solid knowledge base.

Characteristics and Qualities Found Common to Both Educators and Clinicians

  • Quality assurance for their outcomes 
  • Accountability for their responsibilities 
  • Dedication to their tasks
  • Good interpersonal skills and communication skills 
  • Professional affinity and broad acceptance level 
  • Accountability for practice and academic progress 
  • Bound by professional regulations and organization
  • Adherence to safety and security of resources 
  • Quality care and education 
  • People professions

    Desire to help others should be core principle and a variety of experiences that give them a broader picture of a concept than that described in a nursing text. The novice educator brings this clinical knowledge to the educational setting. Telling narrative accounts of experiences is a particularly helpful teaching strategy (Lovin, 1992; Mattingly, 1991; Sparks-Langer & Colton, 1991). 

    Narratives provide a forum for learning in both the cognitive and affective domains as the narrator describes an experience, dilemma, feelings, values, and attitudes. The description of the patient, assessment findings, and pathophysiology provide the cognitive learning whereas articulation of feelings and/or attitudes experienced by the nurse provides for learning in the affective domain. 

    Equally important, educators can use their narratives to develop case studies or problem-based learning assignments to promote active learning for their students. Moreover, clinicians' experience performing actual nursing skills is essential for teaching the foundations of nursing practice. 

    Most nurses have learned a few helpful strategies not found in the nursing literature. It is only through hands-on practice that one truly learns the psychomotor skills necessary in nursing.Simple tricks like stretching a transparent occlusive dressing to break the adhesive fibers to ease removal of the dressing can only be learned by doing. 

    In other words, reading the performance steps in a procedure manual or text involves the ability to perceive the information, but the actual mechanism of the action and complex overt response, also known as skillful performance, does not occur until one has carried out the procedure enough times for the skill to be achieved. 

    Although clinical experience will help facilitate the transition from clinician to educator, experience alone does not ensure learning ( Brehmer , 1980; Sheckley & Keeton, 1997). A critical analysis of one's experience is essential before passing one's tips along to students. Critical analysis includes reflecting on one's experience and noting where and when the lived experience matches the theoretical, research findings. 

    Nurse educators must be aware of the need to teach evidence-based practice. Learn to ask questions such as, Why does this work? Is this more effective than what's currently in print? If so, why is it more effective? Recognizing and using clinical talents in the educational setting is accomplished best in a supportive environment. 

    Setting up partnerships, whether they are peer partners, preceptor student partners, or teacher-student partnerships, can facilitate role transition from clinician to nurse educator.

Cognitive Apprenticeship and Partnerships Ease Transition from Novice to Expert, Clinician to Educator

    In academia, we have been socialized under a hierarchical structure using the work of cognitive developmental theorists like Perry (1981) and King and Kitchener (1994) who describe a linear or categorical model of development as individuals progress from one level of thinking to the next . 

    The concept of connected relationships is linked to Riane Eisler's (1987) work on partnerships, in which she first described the “partnership way.” In her work, she envisioned a society where mutual respect and trust, a low degree of fear and social violence, and an equal valuation of men and women are the norm. "The partnership way" offers a power-with rather than a power- over relationship between teachers and students, among peers and colleagues. 

    Kathleen Heinrich and others (Heinrich et al., 2005) described how nursing education can be transformed through partnerships. A “How can I help you? How can you help me?" way of thinking can benefit both partners while promoting scholarship for both students and faculty. Rather than going it alone, graduate nursing. students should develop partnerships with peers and teachers as they seek to advance in their nursing career. 

    Sharing one's gifts and talents with others provides an opportunity for both individuals to grow. Several nurse educators (Heinrich & Scherr, 1994; Jacobi, 1991; Krawczyk, 1978; Paterson, 1998) have recognized the power of partnerships and peer-mentoring activities not just as a strategy for learning but also as a way to invigorate the profession and “promote reciprocal learning” (Eisen, 2001, p. 30) between professionals.

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