Nursing faculty: Helping students discover their passion
“Once a nurse, always a nurse” is my personal motto. My first job, 19 years ago, was as an oncology nurse at an acute care hospital before transitioning my career into community health care. There, I case-managed communicable diseases, dispensed health care advice as a phone advice nurse and raised awareness about the dangers of lead poisoning as a community educator.
Today, I’m the Administrator of Comprehensive Health and Emergency Services for the Stockton Unified School District and I’m also a faculty member with the University of Phoenix College of Nursing. Even though I’m working in management and education rather than providing patient care, I’m still a nurse.
I teach LPNs and RNs who want to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Most pursue this degree with University of Phoenix because they want to be more effective as a nurse leader. Here, they get a quality education scheduled at times that work with their busy schedules and they like the one-class-at-a-time format.
Finding joy in nursing
A good nurse is passionate about the work, whether it’s serving humanity or serving science. So when I ask students why they’re pursuing the bachelor’s degree, the one thing I hope I don’t hear is, “I want to make more money.” Don’t get me wrong, money is important—but so is discovering your passion for your work.
If a student’s only drive is money, I believe a faculty member should help that student discover something to enjoy about the work. Burnout is a risk, and it’s an even bigger risk when they don’t find joy in their work.
To help my students, I often start by sharing the things that I’ve enjoyed about being a nurse. I encourage students to look into Community Health Care Nursing if they like being able to spend more time and really get to know their clients. Community nursing also allows more autonomy in nursing practice.
If students like children, school nursing is a rewarding career. It’s also an area with a growing need.
There are more children with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and ADHD, who require medication during school hours. In order for the medications to be dispensed on school grounds, a school nurse must be present to administer the medication if students are unable to administer it themselves.
There are many different roles a community health care nurse can take on—educator, advocate or case manager. A graduate who doesn’t know what area they want to work in should look into a position that requires diverse responsibilities.
An education that prepares students
No matter what career path a student chooses, an education that teaches them relevant skills is important.
Our Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing requires hands-on clinical work. We have an agreement with a pediatric hospital that allows our students to train with pediatric nurses at the hospital. Our students can experience treating a wide variety of conditions in a hospital setting. Community health care students can shadow a school nurse or Public Health Nurse to experience what it’s like to work in that particular field.
One of the University’s greatest innovations is our immersive learning environment. Using technology, students are able to enter a virtual neighborhood and study the health-related issues of the people who live in that community. Another great technological advancement that we utilize is in our nursing simulation lab. The lab, available to students in the Licensed Practical Nurse to Bachelor of Nursing program at the Salida Learning Center, features manikins that can be controlled by remote control. Students can assess bowel sounds, heart sounds and respirations, as well as practice nursing procedures. And, instructors can vary what the students hear from the manikin to test students on their skills.
Quality graduates alleviate shortages
As a University of Phoenix faculty member, I’m proud that my role is helping to eliminate the current nurse shortage with well-prepared nurse leaders. The University’s curriculum and innovative learning environment help provide a real-life view into the responsibilities that nurses have in various roles.
It’s also important to help nurses discover and follow their passion in education. This will help them to make the appropriate choices when it comes to choosing a field. It will also allow them to be fulfilled in their role and stay longer.
The world needs more dedicated nurses—and I’m committed to help.
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/.