Last year, I wrote about my feelings as to starting my first live theory class. I just finished re-reading that and caught myself smiling and shaking my head. It is amazing how one grows over the course of one year. I will be beginning my third year of teaching now and thus entering my third year of IPA. Reflecting back over the time since I began as a full-time instructor, I can say that IPA has proven to be beneficial to my development as an educator. I will admit that there were times I would think “Oh no, I have IPA again”, but there were many others that I thought “I have IPA again”. My cohort is great and we all seem to be very receptive and supportive to one another. I have collaborated with several individuals to make my teaching/clinicals better or to even run ideas past one another thus getting an unbiased opinion. As I progress along in my time at NWTC, I am picking up more and more responsibilities. This coming semester, I have another new class—Pharmacology. While it scares the heck out of me and conjures up “bad” memories from my pharmacology course, I am excited. My mind continually thinks, “how can I take this course and make it fun”, “how can I take this course and get my students engaged”, “how can I help my students be successful”, and how can I make it better than my pharmacology class was? I am fortunate to have some colleagues who are great and willing to assist me or let me bounce ideas off of them! I can’t help but ask though…..will this ever get “easy”?! Maybe, maybe not….only time will tell!
One challenge to it getting easier and that I will admit too, is that I still struggle with saying “no” and it is something I hope to work on this year. It is ok to say no to some things, I do not want to be overwhelmed and I want to be on the top of my game. We shall see how this goes! 😉
Anyway, I am still excited to be teaching; I know I have found my true calling in life—-I LOVE THIS! Still smiling since I started, so that is a good thing! Best of luck to every one this year and I hope your year is successful!
Introduction to Clinical Practice is the first nursing clinical that students will encounter in either the Practical or Associate Degree Nursing programs. The setting for this clinical is the long-term care environment and often where students will encounter clients who may take a numerous amount of medications. Nursing Pharmacology is taught in the first semester as well—–students will start with pharmacology and then move in to clinical once they have some information under their belts. As instructors, we strive to bring the “classroom into the clinical”! Last semester, I had the pleasure of taking over a Pharmacology classroom for a colleague while teaching the clinical associated with the pharmacology class. LIGHTS BULBS WENT OFF! I knew students were struggling with pharmacology in the clinical setting as well as the classroom setting; how could I remedy this? Well, let me tell you what I did!
While watching “Maleficent”, I decided to get my scrapbooking material out. I had BRIGHT colored paper, my circle cutters, AND GLITTER GLUE! Shiny object syndrome was in full affect for me. I tend to recall things better with color and shininess (is that a word?), so maybe my students would too! I began cutting multiple circles of many many different bright colors. I grabbed my marker and started writing medication names on those circles. Before I knew it, the glitter glue was on those circles as I traced the medication names with the glitter glue and my table was FULL of “pills”. Once they dried, I punched holes in the top and put a ring through them. I now had a “wheel of pills”. So you are probably wondering, “what in the world are you going to do with those things?” Well, let me tell you………………………………….
I carried this “wheel of pills” in my scrub pockets at clinical. Randomly throughout clinical, I would pull out the “Wheel of pills”, approach a student and ask them to “pick a pill”. I would then proceed to ask them to tell me what the medication was and what they know about that medication. At first, students were panicked. HOWEVER, eventually, the students started asking me to pull the “Wheel of pills” out and to ask them questions. Towards the end of clinical near the end of the semester with a Pharmacology FINAL exam looming over them, students would play games with the “Wheel of Pills”. It was great to see them accept this strategy so readily as was watching them bring that classroom learning into clinical AND clinical learning into the classroom! It has been a HUGE success and I will for sure continue with it!
How often have you said to your students, “don’t just memorize this, but learn it for life”? I know that I say it almost every day, but does it really stick? I can honestly answer that. Teaching throughout both the Practical Nursing and Associate Degree Nursing programs from start to finish, the answer to that is NO!!!!!!! Well, alright, we always have SOME students who do commit their skills to memory and never forget what step comes when; but, we also have those students who memorize the check off list and forget it the minute the check off is complete. How can we get our students to understand that we really are speaking the truth? How could I, the instructor, assist my students in reviewing their skills and truly understanding what the steps are? And more importantly, why is it important for them to remember their skills steps? Well, let me tell you!
After my students take their State Board exam for nursing(NCLEX), I often follow up with them and ask questions as to how the Boards went. I ask questions that are very detailed oriented: what kind of questions did you have, how many were “select all that apply”, how many of each type/area of nursing(pharmacology, Med/Surg, Mental Health, OB, Fundamentals, Math, etc). and so on. I believe this helps me to develop new activities that will prep my students for the biggest exam of their lives and familiarize themselves with what to expect. Imagine my surprise this year, when I learned that the NCLEX exam had several of my students put nursing skills in the correct order of performance! Immediately, I knew exactly what I was going to do to assist my students to be successful in this area! Basic Nursing Skills is taught in the first semester of both programs and I teach the clinical that is associated with that class: Introduction to Clinical Practice. This clinical is taught in the long-term care environment. There are times that this clinical has some “down-time” and I knew this activity would be perfect to complete at this level! I have taken the Basic Nursing Skills check off lists, cut out each individual step and placed them on flashcards. During clinical, I will randomly give a student a set of flashcards with the directions to place them in correct chronological order! What an amazing opportunity to take the classroom learning and apply it to the real-life clinical setting; in the words of a wise Nurse Educator, “This is where the rubber meets the road”! I cannot wait to try this during the semester. Completing this teaching strategy will allow me to assist my students in being successful. Repeatedly exposing them to the nursing skills will allow them to commit these important tasks to memory and help them to be prepared for their NCLEX exam! Stay tuned for the results!
Well, I have started my class and it truly is amazing as well as everything that I have imagined! I now know that in 4th grade when I said I was going to be a mom, a nurse, and a teacher when I grew up, I was right……I had it all figured out at the ripe old age of 10 years! HAHA! But, now that I have started teaching, I am posed with new problems that I never knew I would face. After administering the first test and hearing each and everyone of the students complain about it, I couldn’t help but wonder……what did I do wrong? I know it wasn’t me; I know the test was good and that the material was covered. What was new to me was the fact that it appears some students are unmotivated or have the “I don’t care” attitude. To be honest, this is shocking to me and I am wondering how I can motivate the “I don’t care” generation? What techniques have any of you used to correct this? What worked, what didn’t? I am hoping to find references and answers from you, my colleagues, to help me move forward…………..hope to hear from you soon!
Wow! It’s hard to believe that in less than 1 month (28 days to be exact), I will be teaching my first live theory class here at the college! While I am super excited, I cannot even believe how much my head is spinning! There is so much to know and remember…..but I can’t help wondering though……will I remember it all? As a new educator, one’s head and thought processes go everywhere…..it’s almost like one suffers from “shiny object syndrome”. HAHA! I love researching new ideas and finding great new techniques to incorporate into my class, so, if anyone out there has some great CAT’s or ice breakers or other classroom teaching strategies and are willing to share, feel free to share with me! I would love to try out more new things! Soon the spinning will stop and I will be thoroughly enthralled in my class! But for now I am researching and developing and pondering all sorts of educational things! Stay tuned……….my new educator update will come at a later date; for now, I need to finish putting it all together! Have a great day!