Teaching Based on Nursing Student Experience

Instructor: Kaushiki Kapoor

Ms Kapoor has masters degree in nursing education and has taught professional nursing and vocational nursing students in both private and community college set up.

Nurse educators should design student-centered learning in an adult nursing programs. Customized lessons are beneficial for any student from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Nursing school has students of all ages and generations, with adult learners carrying with them life experiences and knowledge. Most of the students at the graduate school level are self-directed individuals that have different styles of learning. They do not want to follow the same method of learning and comprehension. Some students want teachers to give some handouts to memorize facts, some want to record lectures so they can listen to them later, and some want to utilize audio-video resources to have a better understanding of learning content. For better learning of the content, a student-centered approach should be adopted by the nurse educators. A teacher should utilize innovative teaching techniques for diverse learning needs. Let's take a look at some of these different methods.

Methods

Concept-Based Teaching:

It is not uncommon to see in many colleges and universities that a teacher enters the class and starts a screen with some slides. If there was a camera in the class, one could see after fifteen minutes, more than half of students have started browsing on their laptops or texting on their phones. In a passive learning atmosphere, student engagement is negligible. Nurse educators should teach nursing concepts rather than big content in more traditional ways. For example, one of the nursing school lessons is to teach assessment skills to nursing students. Recalling an everyday life experience of using thermometer can relate to evaluation methods in a fundamental nursing course. When a family member gets sick, we take thermometer readings of their body temperature and record it throughout the day. We continue taking their temperature until it is normal. This example can be helpful to understand assessment skills by a nursing student. Connecting old knowledge to new knowledge is useful in teaching students of all ages and backgrounds.

Discussions in class:

A teacher cannot assume anything about nursing students, whether it be their age, gender, race or background. Each student comes with their own life experiences that need to be valued, making healthy discussions stimulating higher order thinking a must. The instructor needs to encourage the shyest student in the class to speak confidently without any bias or intimidation. Non-English speaking background students, as well as the first-generation college going students, should initiate classroom discussions. Everybody should be respectful and receptive to each other's viewpoints so a good teaching can take place with open minds. Teachers can encourage this through different discussion strategies: large group, small group, and individualized reflection.

Large Group

Nursing instructors can encourage large group discussion by posing questions to the class and then inviting students to respond. The group could sit in a large circle, inviting eye contact. Or students can come up to the front and write on the board, stand by their chair, or raise their hand.

Small Group

Some students work better in small group settings. Teachers can pose a question to a group and then give them time to discuss. The group can choose one person to then share their discussion with the larger group. Another idea is having small groups move from table to table. Each table has a different question or discussion point. Mixing up age ranges, genders, and backgrounds in small groups will help nursing students better get to know one another.

Individual

Allow students to journal and reflect on their fears, anxieties and questions about becoming a nurse will help even the most shy students become vocal. Students can turn in their journals with questions to their teachers. Teachers can write back to the students, allowing them to gain confidence and knowledge in a safe space.

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