Marinette campus nursing students hold a wellness event while enrolled in a class titled, Health Promotion. Students work in pairs or trios to bring health related information to other students, as well as faculty an staff who attend the event. Topics are chosen from the Healthy People initiatives and are specific to young and middle age adults. It is a fun and highly engaging event where students work with a population that is different than they typically do as clinical usually is centered around disease processes. Examples of topics include: distracted & impaired driving, stress management, sleep, exercise, nutrition, smoking cessation, eye safety in the workplace, ergonomics, and the list goes on. It has been a great way to bring students together from many different programs.
As a father of two, I have to confess that I use the electronic nanny (TV) nearly each morning as my wife and I are getting ready for the day. What I am amazed at is the fact that a 2 and 5 year old can remain interested and learn…even some fairly complex subject matter at times! I found my self wondering if cartoons could work for students too.
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!
You’ve developed your syllabus, printed your class roster, and set up Blackboard for your course this semester. You feel ready to roll. But have you thought about the benefits of an icebreaker activity on the first day of class?
Think about the fact that a group of strangers, with the capacity to affect one another’s wellbeing, will be spending a great deal of time together in the course, and likely the program, over the coming weeks and months. Icebreaker activities are get-to-know-you activities that offer an opportunity for students to positively engage with one another right from the start of the course.
Many positives from an initial icebreaker activity will benefit students and the instructor for the duration of the semester:
- Comfort – Icebreaker activities enable students to let down their guard, move past any initial apprehension, and arrive at a comfortable state for learning.
- Rapport – Students will feel that their instructor cares enough to get to know them; that they are more than a Student ID number in a classroom seat.
- Camaraderie – Students interact positively with their classmates, and this connection with classmates will serve them well in the form of future study groups, projects, and activities throughout the semester.
Google icebreaker activities for college students, and you will find many options that are easy to implement at the start of your next course. Doing the right things first and the first things right with a relationship-fostering icebreaker activity will set the stage for positive student engagement throughout the semester and likely even the program.
Would your students benefit from further developing their non-technical skills so critical for successful employment? Consider the role service learning could play in fostering these important virtues! Continue reading