Teaching Strategies for CNEs: Clinical Setting & Classroom

Instructor: Tara Schickel

Tara has taught staff nursing courses and has a master's degree in public health.

Our lesson today will provide information on the skills that are necessary for nurse educators to teach effectively in both the classroom and clinical settings.

Teaching Nurses

Do you teach nurses? Have you wondered why you struggle just to have the information forgotten? This lesson will teach strategies to provide nurses with training that is beneficial and allows them to remember what is taught. Based on the neuroscience of learning, an educator can structure training so that the brain sends signals to the learner to retain valuable information.

Using Evidence-Based Practice in Instruction

The nursing profession continually changes and evolves as we learn more about best practice and ways to improve patient care. As nurse educators, it is important to be able to provide nurses with the latest and greatest when it comes to giving the best care possible. Those of us who serve in the capacity of education and research understand the gap between new evidence and practice. Traditionally, to accomplish putting evidence into practice, we provide classes for our nursing students that typically last long, eight-hour days and then send them to their clinical units to put into practice what we have taught. However, as many of us have noted, actual practice on the units seldom reflects what we've imparted to them in the classroom. The disconnect between the classroom and the patient care setting is not new and will never improve until we change the way we deliver learning.

According to research, most adult learners will forget 70% of what they learn in an eight-hour class by the next day. To set an expectation that nursing students not only remember the content from a lengthy class, but that they actually put it into practice is unrealistic. Although classroom training is valuable and has its place, to teach competent practice at the bedside, we must be willing to provide learners with shorter initial training sessions and follow up with engaged clinical learning.

Using Evidence-Based Education to Engage Nursing Students in the Classroom

The classroom setting is a wonderful way to provide a plethora of information and knowledge to a captive audience. However, if students are not engaged and don't understand the importance of the information, their attention will be lost after the first ten minutes. An important element that a nurse educator must remember is to involve students in the learning process. The goals and purpose of the instruction must be clearly explained, and the students must be able to see the meaningfulness of what they will learn. In order to allow students to understand the importance of what they will learn, nurse educators should ask for collaboration from students in establishing learning goals. Certified nurse educators possess the ability to determine how to best deliver needed content, however, students must actively participate in establishing their goals of learning.

Once learning goals are clear, the nurse educator must use his or her expertise to determine how to best deliver the content. Gone are the days of hours upon hours of lecture. A large part of the preparation of a nurse educator is learning how to incorporate other teaching modalities into the classroom. Modalities such as case studies, games, assigning students a portion of the content to teach to the class, and simulations are wonderful tools to enhance learning in the classroom. Experienced educators combine the use of lecture and an interactive modality to teach each concept covered in the classroom.

Techniques for Teaching in the Clinical Setting

A nurse educator who is responsible for students in the clinical setting must not only be clinically competent, but also knowledgeable of how to facilitate the best learning for students:

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