Concept of Nursing Education By Diana Lynn Morris

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Nursing Education Concept By Diana Lynn Morris

Concept of Nursing Education By Diana Lynn Morris

 Who is Diana Lynn Morris,Journey to Nursing Education,Early Interest in Teaching,Readiness for Teaching,Training  For Teaching,Grooming as a Teacher,Comfortable as a Teacher,Challenges,Embarrassing Moments,Rewarding Aspects,Least Rewarding Aspects,Maintaining Excellence,Advice for Teachers.

Who is Diana Lynn Morris

    Dr Diana Lynn Morris is an Associate Professor of Nursing and Associate Director for Programming at the University Center on Aging & Health Case Western Reserve University. 

    She earned an associate degree in nursing from Point Park College, a bachelor's degree in nursing from Pennsylvania State University, and a master's and PhD in nursing from Case Western Reserve University. 

    She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and is a past recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Faculty Scholar Award in Geriatric Mental Health with a focus on long term care residents.

    Dr Morris has received an Award of Appreciation from the master's in nursing science students at the University of Zimbabwe; the National League for Nursing Lucile Petry Leone Award for Teaching Excellence; and the Elizabeth Russell Belford Founders Award for Excellence in Education from Sigma Theta Tau International. 

    Dr Morris's research interests include self care in elderly family caregivers, geriatric mental health, the health of minority elders, and training of formal and informal caregivers. She has authored numerous book chapters and is published widely in refereed nursing journals.

Journey to Nursing Education

    Dr Morris's story is a journey in learning and teaching, from the bedside to the university classroom, from rural America to Africa. She believes that a large part of her success derives from her early teachers and strong mentors throughout her practice and teaching career.

Early Interest in Teaching

    Her first teaching experience was in first grade when Mrs. Varnham, her first grade teacher, asked me to help others with their reading. She was able to read before going to school because her grandmother had taught me to read and do math before she went to first grade. 

    Even though her grandmother had to quit school and go to work, she valued education and encouraged us to learn. We had a special shelf in the living room for our books. She would encourage us to role-play; she would pretend to be a newspaper reporter, store clerk, preacher, or teacher. 

    We always talked about things going on in the community and news with her grandparents and parents. We were not excluded like some young women were. Her grandparents had all girls and then her parents had girls, and we were always part of the discussion.

    Teaching others to read in the first grade was a special experience for me. It made me feel good to be able to help. Her desire to learn and help others learn also was reinforced by her participation in Bible School and the teachers there.

    Another important experience occurred in high school. She had a teacher who believed in mastery, so when she finished one book she had others to recommend. You could move on even if the other students were not ready to do so.

    Her early interest in teaching nursing occurred when she was a student in an Associate Degree nursing program. She thought that quality nursing care was not being provided to the patients. At that point she thought she would like to teach because, as a nurse educator, she could make a difference in nursing care.

    Her interest in teaching nursing was reinforced when she was a nurse manager, working with staff and trying to support their development. She was a nurse manager at 21 years old when she was too young to know that she should not be. 

    She started taking management and general education courses so that she could do a better job with staff development. While in this leadership role as a nurse manager, 1 had an idea of the content that she wanted to present but she did not know much about how to deliver the content. 

    She did not know about curriculum development or educational design. So she signed up for workshops and some formal classes as well. She also worked closely with an experienced teacher from the nursing education office who could provide guidance and supervision for her teaching. 

    As a manager, she was further influenced to think about teaching by a nursing professor from a local university who had students on her unit and also by one of the staff development faculty. Both of these individuals kept telling me that she was a very good manager but that they thought her calling was teaching.

    Her first formal teaching experience was soon after she finished her baccalaureate degree. She had a clinical teaching position, supervising the clinical learning of RN to BSN students. 

    She then took a teaching job at a diploma school, and was using that to pay for her master's degree education. So, she was using the content she gained in workshops to prepare myself in topics such as curriculum development, testing students, designing courses, designing objectives properly, and lesson planning. 

    She was also working with colleagues who were known as excellent classroom and clinical teachers, so that she observed and interacted with quality role models. She selected those who had expertise in the areas that she needed to develop, such as clinical teaching and test construction.

Readiness for Teaching

    When she enrolled for the baccalaureate degree program at Penn State she was in one of the early external degree programs in the western part of the state. She enrolled for general education courses as part of her elective credits in the BSN program. 

    She also continued to participate in education workshops and continuing education focused on teaching. When she was in Pittsburgh she participated in a number of workshops focused on the dynamics and artistry of engaging learners, and the process of interaction in the classroom. 

    These workshops were not just about how to create a course outline or structure for an exam, but rather they were focused on the mutual interaction between faculty and student, and the teacher's use of self as a tool in the classroom.

    She was teaching full time and was studying for her master's degree part time. She continued to participate in workshops designed for nurse educators that were offered in the local community. 

    One of the workshop faculty members was Dr. Litwak, who had been at Kent State. He was conducting many workshops around curriculum development. In addition, her master's degree program included a focus on educational principles, as it was a psychiatric nursing curriculum designed to prepare clinical specialists. 

    The courses included change theory and adult learning principles. Components of educator preparation focused on adult learning, change theory, staff development, and management were all part of the preparation for clinical specialists for indirect services to support quality care. 

    One of the books that she read at that time, recommended by the director of the psychiatric nursing program, was Teaching as a Subversive Activity; it is one of the most outstanding books she have ever read on teaching. 

    It includes a focus on the Socratic Method and emphasis on the fact that the teachers' questions are not as important as the students' questions. Another book that influenced me was one by Litwack and Wykle, focused on counseling and clinical supervision of students. 

    It is the best thing she has ever read in this area of educator preparation. She still recommends it to graduate students. She was already interested in teaching and had been doing teaching, but this graduate education provided an opportunity for me to integrate the learning.

Training  For Teaching

    She have absolutely been mentored in teaching, she did not know it then, but she was mentored by one of her first faculty members, Helen Wright, who taught me in the Associate Degree nursing program. She had grown up in a rural community and did not know much about the world; she told me she could be a leader. 

    She took me under her wing and started to expose me to the larger community, and to various roles and ways she might participate in the community. She was a role model and a mentor to me.

    Her main mentor has been May Wykle. In fact, she came to Case because she had met May at some staff development classes she was presenting. She decided she wanted to study with her and learn to be a therapist from her. 

    She also learned about teaching from her because she worked for her as a graduate assistant. This position included formal teaching as well as participation on research and training proposals and grants. 

    She learned about curriculum development and innovative programming while preparing training proposals with May, working with the grant supported students, and developing clinical sites to support the curriculum.

Grooming as a Teacher

    Her teaching has evolved so that she now approaches the process in terms of working with and thinking about the interaction with students. She not only considers this interaction in clinical teaching but also in working with them in the classroom. 

    Her teaching style is informed by what she learned as a psychiatric nurse and by the clinical supervision that she had in her own educational program. She has used that kind of clinical supervisory process as a teacher, where she seeks out a master teacher to be a supervisor to me. 

    She use this process as she would if she were in a therapy role, to monitor myself in terms of how she am relating to students, and to determine if she have too much energy around some issue and may have her own theme interference or bias. 

    Talking to someone in a supervisory capacity is part of her own learning and development. She has also continued to enroll in workshops and continuing education courses to assist me in thinking about different ways of designing courses and different approaches to teaching. 

    Even at research conferences if there are papers presented on education that she think will be helpful, she will attend these presentations.

Comfortable as a Teacher

    She was comfortable teaching in a clinical setting and supervising students in clinical experiences within a couple years after she started teaching. Initially, she had a much greater comfort level with clinical teaching because she felt very comfortable with her knowledge in her specialty area. 

    Also, having been a manager in the clinical setting helped me to feel comfortable in clinical teaching. In the classroom, she am not sure exactly when she began to feel comfortable, but it was sometime during her master's degree program when she was teaching part time. 

    Probably it was 3 to 4 years after she started teaching that she became comfortable in the classroom. she think she was mature enough that it was alright with me if she did not always have the answers, or if students raised issues that she had not already addressed. 

    Even now when she am preparing a new course, and presenting it for the first time, there is some discomfort; but not like it was when she first started teaching. The discomfort comes from knowing that if it is something new, it may not work exactly the first time, and that is OK. 

    You work through it and you work with the students, and you resolve any questions that might occur. You identify what is working and what is not working. 

    As a teacher, one reaches a maturity level where any difficulties or problems are not perceived to be personal inadequacies but part of the process of evaluation and course development. It is important to invite the students to join in the process. She tries to do that every time she starts a class. 

    She communicate to the students that this is their class, and she am there as a resource. When she was younger in teaching or just younger in terms of her career in general, even though she did some inviting of student input, she wasn't as comfortable with it.


    Some of her most significant challenges have been related to facilitating students' growth. A couple of students she had decided in classes they were just marking time and they either already knew the content or they did not need to know it. 

    In fact, there is always the potential to grow. she have to be careful because she think sometimes (more often in the past), if she am not careful she start to get frustrated and sometimes angry in situations where her perception is that a student does not wish to learn. 

    That is a difficult situation. She think she manage it better than she used to because she try to focus on what she can do to make the situation different. Yet, maybe sometimes there is nothing she can do. She needs to let that person just be where he or she is, even if it is not where she would like the person to be.

Embarrassing Moments

    She went to do a class on interpersonal relations and professional relationships that she was teaching for nutrition graduate students. She had been hurrying in her morning preparations. 

    She did not have her glasses on when she got dressed and when she got into the classroom she had on two different shoes. There are other times when she is talking about something and the wrong word comes out. 

    For example, one time she was trying to say circumscribe and she said circumcised. It was with a younger group of students, so they thought that was pretty funny, and that she was pretty much an idiot. 

    She am the one that always edits things, and she have her technical equipment, but she do not always follow the detailed steps well enough not to make or correct editing mistakes. 

    So when she does err, she has to beg for patience from some students who want it perfect. They equate mistakes with the faculty member not being organized or prepared.

Rewarding Aspects

    She enjoys teaching more each year. It is more fun partly because it is less stressful. She has had more experiences with a variety of students in a variety of settings, dealing with different information and different resources. 

    Besides the structured evaluations the students do for the University, she always asks them, no matter what level student they are, to do a narrative self evaluation. It is rewarding to see different things that emerge from the learning that occurs in students. 

    When they really get something about what you were hoping to communicate, or they really understand, it is re- warding. For example, in the aging course that she teaches one of the greatest things is having new students gain insight into the relationship between culture and health or the humanity of those they care for. 

    They would say things like, “One of the things that she learned is, she really has to listen to people and pay attention. She am not just taking care of the equipment." It is not so much a singular event, but the change in students caused by events. If you can facilitate that learning, it is rewarding.

Least Rewarding Aspects

    Some of her least rewarding times were when she got frustrated when other teachers labeled students who asked questions as deviants. That was frustrating to me, and it is still frustrating even though she think she is more mature now and do not always interpret this in an antagonistic way. 

    She try to understand the perspective of the other teachers, yet sometimes she still have to be righteously indignant. From her perception of this type of response to students does not allow them to reach their potential. 

    It closes off the options for students' learning, and that is frustrating for her. She particularly saw this happen at the diploma school where she taught, students who asked questions were perceived negatively. They were not deviant; they often just had more creative ideas and a great curiosity. 

    The attitude of the other teachers made it easy for me to decide to leave there, even though she wasn't sure what her next position would be and there was a benefit that was helping to pay for her graduate education.

Maintaining Excellence

    She think the most important thing that one can do is to grow as an educator. This can be accomplished by going to workshops and seminars. So, she learns from each class she teaches. 

    She always uses some more experienced faculty member as colleague supervisors who can help me process how she am doing. She thinks that it is important for the educator to be a lifelong learner. 

    Also, the professional behaviors that we encourage among our students are relevant for us as faculty as well; ie, it is important to continue to develop self-awareness and understanding. 

    Invite others to give you feedback and listen to the feedback that you are given. For me part of the development of excellence is to continue to play with ideas and focus on interactions with students as they learn the “ahhas.” 

    The mutual interaction between students and faculty is important to me; it challenges me to keep thinking and to keep looking for something new. she is always learning something from the students on hearing another perspective she have not heard before; that keeps me energized.

Advice for Teachers

    One of the most important things new teachers can do is to recognize that teaching is not a one-way street. The teacher must be a lifelong learner, not only in your particular area of expertise, but also in how you think about teaching. Know also that you will make mistakes.

     You will edit things in correctly. You do not have to have all the answers. It is actually good to let students know you do not have all of the answers, but that you can teach them how to seek answers and solve problems for themselves.

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