Leadership and the Nurse Educator Role

CONVERSATION] Get the magazines
down about that high. [LAUGHTER] Bert, would you like
some more water? Yes, thank you! The 80+ population is the
fastest growing segment of our population
in the country. And as we have more baby
boomers coming along, we’re going to have more needs
not only in the hospital, but needs in nursing homes,
assisted living, in the home. That means that nurses
are going to be in demand. People talk so much about
the nursing shortage, but they don’t really
understand the importance of addressing a
faculty shortage, so that we can, in
fact, have people to teach the health care
workers for tomorrow. Many of the programs
have to turn away nurses. Well qualified individuals,
who want to be nurses, or want to go on for
higher education, but there just aren’t
enough faculty. We need nurse educators
of every kind. Within that, there’s a dearth
of geriatric nurse educators. And geriatric nurse educators
are really, really important. I have loved teaching
nursing since the get go. I love the challenges. Most of all, I
love the students. I probably learn as
much from my doctoral and post doctoral students
as they ever get from me. I was surprised to
find out how much I enjoy teaching, particularly
when I’m teaching about topics for which I have
a lot of passion. And so working with
undergraduate students and trying to get them
interested in geriatric nursing was really much more fun than
I had ever expected it to be. I was taught well,
and I wanted to be one of the individuals
that could contribute to the discipline by
also teaching well. I think what got
me into education is I realized that
I could be giving good care, one
patient at a time. Or I could become
a nurse educator and influence lots of people
to go out and give good care. Does it sound
continuously abnormal, or intermittently abnormal? Being a nurse educator,
you have to be a leader. I think you have to
care desperately, have passion, about the
area that you’re working in. You must have an
inquisitive mind. I think you need to be able
to problem solve situations, because no situation
is ever the same. You have to be creative. You have to figure out
how to engage students in the conversation,
that it’s not just stand in front of the class
and deliver this lecture. But always standing
up to date on what is the latest information. It’s intellectually challenging. It’s never boring. There’s something always
new and interesting to do. So, that’s been
really exciting to me. The educator role
as a powerful one. I’m in Europe,
there the classroom, in front of so many students. And you’re a role model. And to emulate those leadership
skills for your students is something that’s
critical to inspire the next generation of nurses. I think a lot of nurses are
very, very proud of the fact that they give exquisite
care, and they do. But being a nurse educator gives
you the opportunity, not only to work with people that
give care to patients, but I think also you influence
the lives of those nurses. I think the exciting thing
about being in nursing education is that your
students are involved with you in discovering the new
evidence and the new knowledge, so it’s very exciting
to see that happening. Our country is rapidly aging. By the year 2020, there’s
going to be 72 million older adults in this country. We have a huge
demographic shift. Everyone talks about it. But we don’t have
sufficient numbers of educators in this field. Nurse educators can affect the
practice of so many nurses. They get to touch the
new generation of nurses who will really be able to
make changes in health care. This is a great area of
opportunity for great people to do great things,
and have a huge impact.

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