Nursing Education and Patricia R Liehr Concept

Afza.Malik GDA

Nursing Education Concept By Patricia R Liehr 

Nursing Education and Patricia R Liehr Concept

Who Is Patricia R. Liehr,Journey as a Teacher,Interest in Education,Steps to Become a Teacher,Training  as a Teacher,Progress as a Teacher,Comfort as a Teacher,Challenges,Disgusting Teaching Moments,Rewarding Aspects,Least Rewarding,Maintaining Excellence as a Teacher,Advice for Coming Teachers.

Who Is Patricia R. Liehr

    Patricia Liehr earned the BSN from Villa Maria College, MSN from Duquesne University, and PhD from the University of Maryland. She also completed a postdoctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania in Clinical Nursing Research. 

    She is Professor and Associate Dean for Nursing Scholarship at Florida Atlantic University, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. She began studying story with her dissertation, where she examined blood pressure changes while talking about a normal day and while listening to a story. 

    The connection between story theory and bodily experience continues to be a thread in her research. 

    She and a colleague have created a middle range theory of story proposing that story is a narrative happening of connecting with self-in-relation through intentional dialogue to create ease. Dr. Liehr believes that stories are powerful entities for not only chronicling but also creating health.

Journey as a Teacher

    Dr. Liehr was not prepared and not even mentored when she began her early career in teaching. She remembers it as being scary. She was helped along the way by good teachers who modeled Socratic questioning and engaged students actively in the process of learning. 

    As she has matured, she experiences herself becoming more comfortable and grounded in her teaching. Her intent when with students is to be open, encouraging, and present while always ready to hear and listen. 

    She keeps her teaching vibrant and her scholarship up to date by not taking on activities that pull her away from teaching and scholarship. Another way she keeps focus is “weeding her committee-work garden” every 6 months.

Interest in Education

    The first time she thought about moving from practice to teaching was before she finished her baccalaureate degree. She graduated from a diploma program and then went on to earn a baccalaureate degree. 

    While she was in the process of completing the degree, she had been working in critical care. At this particular time, she was working at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania, which had a 3-year school of nursing. 

    It was a Catholic institution and one of the nuns at the School of Nursing asked me if she was interested in a teaching position. She was flattered that she asked me and viewed it as an exciting possibility. She applied and was hired to teach. This was the first time she ever thought about teaching.

Steps to Become a Teacher

    She was not prepared, and she was not even mentored. She had not yet earned my baccalaureate degree, and there she was teaching. She remembers having hives because she was so nervous about not knowing what to say to the students. She remember sitting in the faculty lounge with hives. As much as she wanted to do it, it was scary.

    Her next position in teaching was in the baccalaureate program, after just having received my own baccalaureate degree. This was at Slippery Rock State College. Slippery Rock had just started their baccalaureate program and they were desperate for faculty. 

    So, at this point she enrolled in a master’s program. It was as if the teaching positions drove my education. Actually, it was the need for teachers that drove my education. She does not recall anyone ever helping her with her teaching, as far as how to do it. 

    She was on my own. Then in the baccalaureate program, she recalls there was faculty who were supportive. However, there was no structured way of helping her.

Training  as a Teacher

    What helped her was having good teachers in her master’s program. At that point, she was a student in Duquesne University’s master’s program in nursing and there were senior expert teachers. She has always thought that my education there was one of the best experiences she have ever had. 

She watched how the faculty asked questions, in a Socratic sort of method. This opened a new way of being in a classroom for me. She did not know how to do this sort of questioning but she liked the way the questioning engaged the student so she started doing that with my students. Because she had no education about how to teach, she figured things out her. For example, when she had to put a syllabus together, she would find a copy of another syllabus and see what went into the syllabus. She never felt confident about tests because she was not confident about my questions. Students could almost always argue me out of “the correct” response because they would make another rationale for her questions and she could see their perspective.

Progress as a Teacher

    She believe she have evolved through her personal growth. Over time, as her have become more mature and more comfortable with who her am, her have become more grounded in my teaching. She does not feel like she must have a right answer every time. She sees students as my teachers. She does not see herself as the teacher. 

    She is engaged in a dialogue with students and they are both learning at different levels. Therefore, she try to maximize the dialogue. To do this takes a personal maturity and it does not happen quickly. Engaging the students in dialogue is really about story. It is also about being open to where the student is and not feeling threatened. 

    Even when she feels uncomfortable, she try to hear what they say, even if it sounds like a real challenge, or disagreement, or even an insult. She try to move away enough from the emotion to come back and explore where that student is in a way that is enlightening for her, and usually enlightening for the student. In her mind it is the intention to listen and to hear. 

    Therefore, her intent is to be open and to encourage understanding. If she approaches a student with this intent, and the student does not grow in understanding, then she cannot help that. However, my intent is to always be present to the student.

Comfort as a Teacher

    When she began teaching at Duquesne University, she still was not comfortable. She was in her master’s courses at Duquesne and was teaching undergraduateclasses, part time, while she was getting my master’s. 

    She was not comfortable because she was still growing who she was in nursing. Then, she went into the doctoral program and was teaching graduate statistics at the University of Maryland. She still was not comfortable. 

    Then there was an interlude where she did postdoctoral work and did no formal teaching. After postdoctoral work, she went to the University of Texas and after a couple of years she began feeling comfortable. She was there for 15 years. She believes it is as much about age and maturity as anything.


    Balancing time by keeping her teaching alive and vibrant and her scholarship up to date is a challenge. It is an additional challenge when practice and administrative responsibilities are added. The challenge is to find a balance. 

    The challenge is bigger than just teaching. It is putting it all together. It has always been my view that she is not a teacher, she is a nurse. Her primary way of being is as nurse and researcher. She teaches to express what she knows as nurse and researcher. She has never viewed herself as a teacher. 

    However, she recognize that she have a responsibility to the people who are coming after her. She has been blessed to be able to earn a doctorate and to do research. It is her responsibility to share what she learns in these ways with students. 

    One of the ways she keeps the balance, because students always demand time, is to block out time for scholarship. She keeps one day a week for scholarship. It is important that my research grows and develops so that she can continue to share meaningful ideas with students. She works to not keep pushing scholarship aside. It is critical to stay with the scholarship.

    Now, since she has recently moved, she is considering how she can contribute to the mission of the College as the Associate Dean of Nursing Scholarship and keep my scholarship alive. 

    She tries not to take on things that are going to pull her away from her direction. For example, she generally tries to work with doctoral students who are interested in story. She tries to keep a focus, even in my teaching. 

    When she mentors a student to submit an NRSA (National Research Service Award), and the NRSA uses story method, the time spent on the NRSA pulls the teaching and research together. Another way she have kept her focus is to “weed her committee work garden” every 6 months. she look at all the things she am doing, committee wise, and think which ones are most important and which she can stop.

Disgusting  Teaching Moments

    There was an embarrassing time with the Thai students in dissertation seminar last year. There were three Thai students, and several American doctoral students who she was mentoring. In one of the dissertation seminar classes, the Thai students brought in ears of corn. 

    Every now and then a student would bring in something for us to munch on because these classes went from 4–7 in the evening. It was an informal seminar. After looking at these ears of corn, she looked around and sort of shrugged at this unusual treat. 

    She thought since the Thai students had brought it, she had better eat it to show respect for the gift. She picked up her corn and ate it all off and the other teacher present in the group ate it all off too. 

    Then, what she noticed about midway through the class was that no one else had eaten any corn. She then noticed one of the Thai students taking off the kernels of corn one by one. She was eating them one at a time, taking one, eating it, taking another and eating it. 

    The students were discussing their research but she said to the Thai student, “You eat the corn very differently.” She softly said, “One by one.” All of the students learned a lesson about cultural dimensions of social interaction as they discussed how the other teacher and she ate the corn. She believe the point of this story is that you sometimes learn what you least expect to learn in a teaching situation.

Rewarding Aspects

    Rewards come to her in mentoring doctoral students to do research, and to publish their theory papers. Within the last few months, she moved on from another university, and she had a call this week from a student who she taught last fall and spring. 

    She told me her theory paper was accepted for publication. She believes that there are 8 or 10 students who have published papers developed in theory classes.

     There were always other faculty members involved in supporting publication and she found this to be a very rewarding experience.

Least Rewarding

    She does not see things as least rewarding. Even circumstances that are really hard for me, and she am struggling; if she can stay with the struggle, eventually she can understand why she needed to do that. Usually the times that she stayed with the struggle are growth times for her. 

    These times tell her a lot about herself and give her alternative ways to respond and to be in different situations. When things are difficult in any work situation, there is a tendency to separate from the difficulty, blame someone else, or ignore it. 

    What she is suggesting is, that is it helpful to reflect on the situation enough to learn, but at the same time, not dwell on it to the extent that it hinders what you are doing. It is a balance. Least rewarding times cannot color the dimensions of who you are and how you are living. 

    She has found that it is important to be with the struggle enough to decipher it. Be patient because you can never decipher difficult times all at once. Do it over time. She guess what she is describing is bigger than teaching. It is a way of living.

Maintaining Excellence as a Teacher

    She has maintained excellence by keeping the links between theory, practice, and research. She really means keeping them. She thinks that is where the uniqueness of nursing lives, in the intersection of theory, practice, and research. 

    She believe she is most vibrant as a teacher when she is actually seeing patients, or when she am doing research and can apply her research in theory building. At these times, she is sharing with students in a way that makes sense to them. 

    She think my excellence comes in being able to talk to a group of students in a research class and give them clear examples from what she am working on right now. That is what brings the didactic to life for her and for the students.

Advice for Coming Teachers

    She suggests that teachers find out where the student is and stay where the student is. Try to stay there until you get in touch with them in a way that tells you how to move. 

    She knows that doing this is hard when you have a large class. It takes a bit of skill when you are working with a large class. Make sure you know where they are before you begin dosing them with ideas they are not prepared to understand. 

    Do not underestimate the importance of getting a sense of where the students are. Another thing, be able to say that you do not know, but you will find out. Then, again, get very clear about where their question came from. 

    She has found that students’ questions reflect so much about who they are and where they are. She cannot always assume that she understand their question the first time she hear it. She ponders the question a little bit to make sure that I got it. She believes sometimes we act asif we understand the question, and move on too quickly. 

    Try to fully understand where the students are by questioning the question. Try to understand what triggered the question. Do not take things personally. 

    Recognize that when a student lashes out and the lash out seems to be beyond the content of what has transpired, you are probably working with a student who has a complex history or a complex life situation. 

    Try to stay on the course of what you are teaching. Do not disregard their anger, but perhaps address it later, rather than in the midst of a class. There will always be angry or disgruntled students no matter how good you are as a teacher. Teaching, for me, is a way of being present in every moment.

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