Nursing Education Philosophy of Pamela Ironside

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Nursing Education Concept By Pamela Ironside

Nursing Education Philosophy of Pamela Ironside

Who is Pamela Ironside,Journey to Education,Interest in Teaching,Willingness for Teaching,Training For Teaching,Developing as a Teacher,Level Comfortable as a Teacher,Challenges she Faced,Embarrassing Event,Rewards of Teaching,Least Rewarding Aspects,Maintaining Excellence,Advice for Teachers.

Who is Pamela Ironside

    Pamela Ironside is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned a BA in nursing from Luther College, an MSN from the University of Minnesota, and the PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She teaches a variety of nursing education courses including curriculum development, instruction, and clinical education.

    Dr. Ironside's current research uses interpretive phenomenology to explain how new pedagogy influences thinking in classroom and clinical courses, reforming practices in nursing faculty, and the experiences of nursing doctoral students. 

    She is a member of the Board of Governors of the National League for Nursing (NLN) and served as an invited member of the NLN's think tanks on graduate preparation for the Nurse Educator Role and on Standards for Nursing Education. She was recently appointed as a site evaluator for the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education. 

    She is associate editor of the book series, Interpretive Studies in Healthcare and Human Sciences and is the editor for Volume IV, entitled Beyond Method: Philosophical Conversations in Healthcare Research and Scholarship. In addition , her work is widely published in health care and nursing journals.

Journey to Education

    Dr. Pamela Ironside moved to nursing education after rising through the ranks of nursing administration. She believes in a non-structured approachto the teaching/learning session and likes to begin class involving students in discussion of questions, thus inspiring a spirit of inquiry. She views students as partners in learning.

Interest in Teaching

    She has always been interested in teaching. When she graduated with her baccalaureate degree, she worked in a surgical trauma/intensive care unit. She was often asked to work with students who would come to the unit for an observation experience. 

    Even though these experiences were for observation, she tried to explain everything that was going on and to help them make links between what they were seeing and what they were learning in their program. She found that this felt like a natural thing to do and she found she looked forward to these experiences. 

    Then she took the position of Assistant Head Nurse and in that position, she was in charge of staff development and orientation. This experience was delightful. she found teaching was the part of her job that she really liked, in part because it kept her learning new things. 

    After rising through the ranks of administration, she found that she missed teaching. When her family decided to relocate, they decided to move to a place they wanted to live rather than to a job. So, they relocated to Minnesota and there happened to be a position open at the College of St. Scholastica (CSS) School of Nursing.

Willingness for Teaching

    At first, she was not prepared; her master's degree was in nursing administration. She was very fortunate that the school she was teaching at was very good. She was able to spend an entire quarter with the faculty, watch them teach, and talk with them about teaching. 

    They were very generous with their time and ideas as she planned for her first course. So, it was not as if she had no preparation, but the preparation was not formal preparation. At CSS, they provided courses that were interdisciplinary for all new faculties on writing exams. There were a series of four each year. 

    That got her started in developing skills in teaching. It was not until she went back for her doctorate that she decided her wanted to do more in nursing education. Even though her think she did OK in her role at CSS, she knew there was so much more that she didn't know. 

    She really wanted a background in education, to do research in education, and to learn about research and design issues so she could make a difference to nursing students and teachers. She earned her doctorate at the University of Wisconsin Madison. It was in her doctoral experience that she really focused on learning about nursing education.

Training For Teaching

    When she came to work with Nancy Diekelmann , she had taught for 3 years. Her work in using Heideggerian her meneutics to study nursing education really engaged her in thinking about teaching and learning in a new way. At first, she observed and taught along with her. 

    She would respond to various situations and we would talk about what was going on. She started teaching graduate courses using Narrative Pedagogy, even though she had never taught that way before. They would talk about her concerns, how the class might go, what kinds of questions might come up, and things that she needed to think about. 

    They never talked about content issues. This was very helpful to her. The most important thing to me about her mentoring her as a teacher was that she had undying faith in me she persistently communicated her belief that she could do it. She never once was harsh, condescending, or critical. 

    She was always positive with specific examples of what might work in a given situation. She instilled in her the spirit of inquiry encouraging her to try new things or ideas, sees what happens, and then they would talk about what worked and what didn't. 

    This is something that she tries to instill in every student she works with. Still after all these years, she can watch her teach and learn something new about how she engages with students and gets them thinking together about new possibilities for teaching and/or research.

Developing as a Teacher

    When she first began teaching, she was teaching as she had been taught. She constructed lectures and had every aspect of the class pre-planned. She was very clear about where she would be at any time throughout the lectures. 

    When she was really new to teaching, she would time the lectures and practice them at home. She would put little sticky notes on her lecture notes so she could monitor where she was related to what she had planned. As she became more comfortable, she “let go” of her notes a little more. 

    Then she realized how much more interesting the class became and how much more engaged the students were when she would start talking about her own experiences in caring for patients in different situations. This approach started creeping in more and more into the class. 

    It took her a while to get confident enough that her knew what she was talking about to begin relying more on discussion and engaging students' thinking. She soon began to realize how she had a lot to offer and that the students had a lot to offer too. 

    She began to worry less about whether or not she could not answer every question. Then she was able to try more new things and really follow the students' questions and concerns. She tells new teachers now that when you are most unfamiliar with the content, you really want to hang on to control in the class. 

    Now she likes to start out the class with questions that she have and don't know the answers. She brings her questions to class and have students investigated them. This approach has been really helpful. At this time, her classes are non-structured. 

    She deals a lot with drawing from the students' experiences and questions and they collectively work on interpreting and reinterpreting these experiences throughout the course. It is more meaningful and engaging for me and she think for the students as well.

Level Comfortable as a Teacher

    Her comfortable feeling is best described on two levels. After the first couple of years, she was comfortable enough that she could teach a course well. Yet, with every new class, she is never really comfortable even when it is a course, she has taught many times. 

    There is always both excitement and worry with every new class. She works very hard to stay mindful because she want to hold on to how difficult it is for students to learn. She often reflect on her own experiences as a student. 

    She thinks she is a better teacher when she keeps herself learning something new and remembers how overwhelming learning can be. Therefore, she is always a little uncomfortable. This experience helps me appreciate how hard students are working.

Challenges she Faced

    Probably the biggest challenge is in clinical instruction that involves being moved to units that are not in your area of expertise. When schools were trying to secure clinical sites, we had to move to wherever the sites were cated. 

    She worked hard as a teacher to help students learn new skills and how to think in rapidly evolving situations. She was worried about the patients, and what she was not picking up on, because she did not know the specialty like she knew other specialties. That has been a significant challenge that clinical teachers continue to face.

Embarrassing Event

    She was using an overhead projector when teaching her first large lecture class, and for whatever reason, She always had it backwards so that it projected the image on the ceiling. In the end-of-year celebration at this school the students did skits. 

    They came in and projected the overhead onto the ceiling, and said, “What teacher is this?” It has kind of followed me around. Every once in a while, students will make you aware of your little mannerisms that you do not know you are showing in class. 

    Another thing was in one of her nursing education courses she taught where we were talking about student evaluations of faculty. The students were master's students so they had been students for a long time. They did not believe that faculty ever really saw what they wrote on their evaluations. 

    So, the entire class wrote on their evaluation, “I wish she was taller.” Sure enough, the student comments report came back with 10 identical comments, “I wish she was taller!”

Rewards of Teaching

    She am rewarded when She see teachers teach in ways that are more student centered and that create warm, receptive environments for learning nursing. She am also rewarded when she see students thinking in ways that challenge underlying assumptions and create new possibilities. 

    She like seeing students of develop confidence in their intellectual abilities and to begin seeing themselves as nursing scholars.

Least Rewarding Aspects

    It is least rewarding when arguments persist about the curriculum and what content goes where. Too often, at the end of the day, it is really not different in any substantive way. This creates tensions among faculty and takes an incredible amount of time and energy.

Maintaining Excellence 

    She tries hard to listen very well to students. Students will really help you out about what is a good idea, what is not working, and what you can do to fix it. When she was a new teacher, it was easy to become defensive with students and to spend time trying to explain all the reasons why she was doing what she was doing. 

    But she has learned that when you listen to students, really listen to them, they will not let you down. They just make you a better and better teacher and they help you make your courses more and more compelling. 

    She also tries to take continuing education classes and put herself in situations where she is a learner. She does a lot of reading and try a lot of new things in her courses. She is lucky to be able to do research in teaching and learning because what she learns in her research helps her be a better teacher.

Advice for Teachers

    The best advice she could give is to see students as your partners in learning. Pay attention to how they are experiencing your course, and listen to what they have to say. Do every assignment you ask students to do. Y

    ou will gain a lot of insight into which ones work well and which ones don't, and which ones are compelling and which are either too difficult or are busywork. Talk to students a lot. She really believes that students will not let you down. 

    They will step up and go beyond your expectations and be creative. If you have a really good idea, try it. And last, but not least, she would stress the importance of research in nursing education. 

    If we want an inclusive science of nursing education to guide our teaching practice we must all get involved in making that happen.

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