Understanding the needs, and roles, of today's nursing leaders
Nursing is about taking care of people—it's a symbiotic relationship between you and your patients. You give of yourself and you receive the reward of knowing that you're a part of helping others improve.
To be a great nurse, you have to have the heart as well as the knowledge needed to implement that care, particularly as the rapid advancement of technology puts increased demands on a nurse's ability to practice that role effectively and efficiently.
Some nurses thrive on the fast, stimulating pace and seek to expand on their experiences in patient care by transitioning into a leadership role that has a more direct influence on health care as a whole. A Ph.D. in Nursing is a perfect way to do that, but some nurses feel they don’t have the time to earn a higher degree given the demands on their schedule and the shifts that they work. For these nurses, earning a Ph.D. in Nursing in an online format is a great solution.
That's why I love teaching at a university that understands the needs of today's nurses. There are few other online Ph.D. programs that have a complete online experience—many programs use a combination of traditional and online teaching. University of Phoenix is very good at setting up structures for online learning and a Ph.D. program offered by a university with a structured online experience provides a very strong foundation for the educational background of a nurse.
Everyone contributes to the learning experience
To bring an environment of discovery and excitement to the learning process, I often draw on my own experiences as a professional nurse, theorist, researcher, administrator and educator.
In the traditional educational environment, I have held tenured positions and am currently a tenured full professor at a Big 10 university. As Professor Emeritus, and as a continuing full professor in higher education, the students in my classes continue to benefit because they have the opportunity to ask questions, engage in dialogue and appreciate that education occurs in a variety of environments and through various methods of facilitation.
My research interests are in health policy issues, new and comprehensive models for health care delivery, and the importance of nursing in a world of constant ongoing change. I encourage my students to take a broader view of their field, and then narrow the focus to reflect their own expertise. While it's important to be able to focus on specific areas of expertise, nurses—as members of a complex profession—need to be committed to being a meaningful part of effective, efficient and safe models of practice. Dialogue surrounding all of these concepts and issues is encouraged in the classroom and is made more meaningful by the personal experiences students—all of whom are professional nurses—bring into the discussion.
By extensively discussing and debating the most current theories, research and practice for the nursing profession, the reward to nurses is a challenging and stimulating intellectual environment.
Educators and nurses must do their part
Generally speaking, institutions of higher learning are working very hard to maintain the nursing cadre needed to serve society now and in the future. If our nation's health care needs are to be met, universities must recognize that they must produce leaders who understand the unique characteristics each generation brings into the workforce and the potency of leadership, which can either serve to attract or repel talented nurses.
The Ph.D. in Nursing prepares one to engage successfully in an environment in the health care delivery arena when the individual learner has paved the chosen path through self-growth and self-selected goals for the future. University of Phoenix takes its commitment to producing nurse leaders very seriously. Every faculty member is vetted for appropriate experience and ability to facilitate specific areas of clinical specialization. In addition, students have excellent sites for clinical affiliation and the opportunity for simulation laboratory learning at both the undergraduate and graduate levels of education.
The university environment encourages self-growth, but it can only do so much. For nurses to achieve the success and personal fulfillment that they seek, they must take care of themselves physically, mentally and emotionally. Such strategies can help alleviate the burnout that some nurses experience in such a demanding professional environment.
If you really love your work—that’s the hope we have for professional nurses—you must be getting strokes back as well as giving strokes to others. In helping others, we are getting strokes back, and also helping ourselves in that the health care system is better for us, for our families, our patients, and for society in general.
This article originally appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, UOPX Campus Viewpoints section. To review our current faculty articles, visit: https://chronicle.com/campusViewpoint/University-of-Phoenix/29/.