Nurse educators transform lives – every day students, nurses, patients and communities learn and flourish because an educator took the time to care, listen, share, teach and inspire. This blog provides an opportunity to explore what makes our work meaningful, memorable and transformative.
The genre of blogging is free from the normal publishing conventions and my foray into the world of social media has been an exciting experience. Over the past 12 months I have been a little self-indulgent, reflecting on and writing about contemporary issues in new, eclectic and imaginative ways. Over the next year or so I plan to spend more time blogging about and profiling new (and some not so new) nursing education articles that have the potential to transform the way we teach in higher education contexts and in clinical settings.
I want to acknowledged Siobhan Allen (http://www.siobhanallen.co.uk) for the beautiful stained glass and mosaic pieces that I’ve used recurring metaphor for my website. Each of Siobhan’s pieces of glass is unique and beautiful in its own right, but together they create magnificent works of art. In the same way, I believe my research is multifaceted and illuminative because it was undertaken in a collaborative way with friends and colleagues who share a common vision about the power and potential of transformative learning.
The last few weeks have been a turmoil of final exams, graduation balls and completion ceremonies for final semester nursing students. This is always a special time of year when we reflect on the success and accomplishments of our students and wish them well as they embark on the next stage of their journey. Among the hundreds of students who are completing their nursing degree this year at my university, is my son. So this year’s celebrations have been particularly meaningful and exciting for me.
It’s been a privilege to be part of these students’ journeys and I’ve watched in awe as they have developed into amazing nurses. Although they no longer need my guidance I can’t help but think about the things I wish I’d known at the beginning of my nursing journey. So, before you leave, here are some final words of advice for all soon-to-be registered nurses … Read more →
The ‘tips for improving the quality of mentoring’ provided in this post were developed by Alexandria Wilson and Micaela Cassar, and were originally presented as an educational poster submitted during their undergraduate nursing degree. As Alexandria and Micaela were mentored by a number of nurses while completing their clinical placements, they are well positioned to provide these illuminative, evidence-based and practical insights about mentoring. I feel honoured that they have given me permission to share these important tips on my blog.
Nearly 3000 years ago Heroditus told the story of how King Thrasybulus was asked by a fellow monarch about the best way to govern his kingdom. In response the King went to a nearby field and, walking through the rows, whacked the heads off the tallest, brightest ears of corn. The Romans continued the analogy in their literature, but changed the corn to poppies, and the term ‘tall poppy syndrome’ was coined (The Histories, 440 BC).
Next month I am going to an Empathy conference in Oxford and needless to say I’m more than a little excited. For someone who is a self-confessed English history devotee the opportunity to meander around the 12th century university college buildings in the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’ will be wonderful. However, as an educator and researcher with a passion for exploring the concept of empathy, the conference promises to be thought provoking (even though we are forbidden from using either ppt or written notes in our presentations … eeek!).
‘Healthcare is more than the sum of its parts. All healthcare professionals must be knowledgeable, clinically astute and able to provide empathetic care’1
I’ve become increasingly interested in empathy over the last decade. For a long time I thought that people were either born with an empathetic disposition (as I assumed most health professionals were), or they weren’t (these are the narcissistic people we’ve all met at some stage in our lives). I didn’t conceptualise empathy as a skill that should and could be taught.
Then along came Naleya Everson, an exceptionally gifted and insightful person who taught me so much about the empathy deficit. Naleya was one of my undergraduate students, she soon became an honours student and is about to commence her PhD. She set me on a path where I became determined to fully understand this elusive construct and to discover ways to teach and assess students’ empathy skills.
So often you find that the students you are trying to inspire are the ones that end up inspiring you ~ Sean Junkins