Nursing Education: The Great Preparer

I always had a knack for teaching. I loved to play teacher as a child. My path later in life lead me first into Physical Therapy, then into Nursing. I believe everything happens in life for a reason. While in undergrad and graduate Nursing school, my passion for Education ignited once again and I set my path in such a way (unbeknownst to me) where I was able to hold positions that all had a large education component and if they didn't, I somehow embedded that into the role myself. One of the last positions I had (before moving into my formal Nursing Education role) was working alongside physicians in developing an outpatient Women's Health program (which is still in existence 11 years later). I felt so strongly that patient education needed to be part of my job, that by the time I was ready to leave that role, it had morphed into one that also included educating newly diagnosed Diabetic patients and I was asked to add Education to the job description for the person who was to replace me.

I walked into my latest Nursing Education (in practice) role with much trepidation mixed with confidence. I was nervous since I had no formal Nursing Professional Development experience under my belt, just experiences that were mainly in academia or patient education. My graduate degree was not in Nursing Education either (which, upon further investigation, doesn't fully prepare you for teaching nurses in practice); it was a degree as a Clinical Nurse Specialist. I was confident since I knew that deep down, I was made for this (underlying shout out to my most recent prior employer :) because teaching became a favorite pastime.

Now we fast forward to 2020...NYC...COVID 19. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be homeschooling 3 kids--ages 12, 9 and 7. For the past 7 weeks, we have had full blown school with recess, gym periods, the works! Being a Nurse Educator, and having a passion for education put me in my zone, to put it candidly. While this is no easy task-there are daily struggles-but the skills I learned, albeit on the job since I had no formal training as a Nurse Educator, prepared me for my current status. I create weekly lesson plans, pull from all sorts of amazing educational resources to use in conjunction with their regular school work (since that just doesn't seem like an adequate amount of work to me), I give assessments and quizzes (on a somewhat regular basis), I make sure there are themes to the content I am assigning to them (for example, my 7 year old had a week long review of extreme weather events on this planet and other planets)-I don't just assign content just because...The ability to do all of this can be solely attributed to my time working as a Nursing Professional Development Practitioner and Specialist (I later got certified in Nursing Professional Development) as well as being an online and adjunct faculty member at 2 schools for the past 4 years. The importance of being structured and organized, the planning, the execution and the delivery of course work was truly a gift bestowed upon me by those that advised and supported me throughout my entire career in Nursing Education, and continue to do so to this day.

Since I have elementary school kids that are now online learners (this type of learning space is typically for adult learners), this is right up my alley! And while this pandemic has caused a seismic shift for us all, lets remember that we can conquer this and come out better than before. Let's use the energies and the knowledge we have to help strive and push each other, and our kids, forward. This too shall pass and I guarantee we will all be better on the other side.