After meeting with a nurse educator, I made a number of observations that perhaps are crucial in promoting a good learning environment. In my experience as a student in the nursing department, nurse educators can hardly initiate a good learning environment if students and other members of staff fail to provide the much needed support. According to Pennbrant, Nilsson, Öhlén and Rudman (2013), society is increasingly becoming diverse. Therefore, it is necessary to cultivate a comfortable learning atmosphere for all students.
In a broader sense, nurse educators should begin by embracing diversity for the success of the future workforce. The ability for a faculty to embrace diversity may be viewed from different dimensions. Such a faculty also treats both the male and female gender with equity or fairness. Racist or gender-based statements do not exist among students and nurse educators. This implies that educational practices and behaviors should demonstrate comprehensive cultural competence within a faculty.
While diversity is inevitable in any nursing faculty, it is also prudent for nurse educators to comprehend their own cultural identity by engaging in self-examination. A friendly learning environment can be developed by nurse educators who are willing and able to carry out individual honest assessment and also pass the same behavioral practice to their students. Assumptions, beliefs as well as personal strengths and weaknesses can only be known after undertaking self assessment.
Inter-group contacts can be cultivated within a faculty through collaboration between nurse educators and students. This calls for a long term cultivation of a friendliness culture in a faculty so that vices such as disrespect and stereotypes can be mitigated in advance. Other unhealthy behaviors that can be avoided by effective collaboration include lack of compassion, conflict, unfairness, inequality and injustice.
Needless to say, an effective learning environment cannot exist without active learning in place. A faculty that follows a well laid down curriculum is capable of inducing a good learning atmosphere. In other words, students should adhere to the daily program of a faculty, accomplish assignments at the right time and readily avail themselves for regular assessments. On the other hand, it is logical for nurse educators to come up with formative assessment so that the evidence that students are learning can be elicited. Moreover, learners can be in full control of their studies in classroom environments where formative assessments are done regularly. Other required faculty behaviors include support and accountability from the teaching staff and students, flexibility and integrity among nurse educators (Scariano, Clark, Fletman, Reeder, & Llorente, 2011).
After meeting with the nurse educator, I learnt that for a learning environment to be effective, adhering to the professional code of ethics among the teaching is crucial. Besides, passion in whatever an individual has been assigned to do cannot be ignored. I have noticed severally that a good learning environment greatly depends on the attitude of an individual. Hence, if faculty members can develop the right working attitude, students will also strive to deliver their best part as learners. The nurse educator I met shared with me her faculty experience and from our discussion, I discovered that programs and routines in a faculty may not necessarily improve a learning environment.
A biased evaluation process for students is also another behavior that can significantly disrupt a good learning atmosphere. Trained personnel who comprise of nurse educators should be objective as much as possible when evaluating students. Lack of objectivity among faculty members usually leads to inappropriate evaluation procedures.
I would incorporate accountability, collaboration, integrity and flexibility in my teaching style. Since I generally prefer a student-centered teaching theory, I have a strong conviction that that the aforementioned faculty behaviors will be of much help when delivering lesson contents. For instance, a student-centered teaching approach is largely an inquiry-based learning style. In this case, we have the delegator, personal model and facilitator (Lapkin, Levett-Jones, & Gilligan, 2013). A learning environment where direct instructions are given when passing knowledge can hardly cultivate a culture of inclusivity and a sense of belonging. Besides, a student-centered approach promotes cooperative learning and that is why I specially prefer a faculty that encourages a collaborative behavior. Furthermore, integrity and transparency are intrinsic core human values that can indeed cultivate a positive learning environment. Once students are well aware that a nurse educator exercises acceptable levels of transparency and integrity, they will follow suit.
Flexibility is also a much-desired faculty behavior. Being a nurse educator, several changes come along the way. Right from curriculum preparation, content delivery to evaluation of students at the end of a semester, flexibility is paramount. For example, a formative assessment that had earlier been scheduled may be pushed forward to accommodate changes in school activities. That demands flexibility.
A learning environment is a complex community with a mix of activities, cultural backgrounds, and myriads of other diversities. Instances of gossip, hearsay, bullying and harassment should therefore be handled with utmost caution (Chang & Daly, 2015). First, a faculty should create an open-door policy where both students and the teaching staff can comfortably report various concerns as they emerge. Apart from just reporting issues, a faculty should put in place a conflict management committee that listens to complaints and provides the way forward as promptly as possible. Fairness is key in the working of such a committee.
Moreover, rules and regulations regarding the above vices should be clearly stipulated. Confirmed cases of bullying and harassment either between students or staff and students should be treated urgency and culprits suspended or given warning letters according to the existing rules set by the faculty. Gossip and hearsay situations should also be addressed before they spread (Kumar, Jain, & Kumar, 2012).
The process of completing the Ethics Game case studies altered my perspective as a nurse educator professional. I work in an oncology unit and after carrying out the ethics game, the results showed that I am well endowed with Steadiness Style (S Style). I realized that as a nurse educator professional, I have a nurturing, supportive and warm personality. I am also an excellent team player and risk –averse. I can easily share responsibilities even though quite slow in thinking since I like avoiding risks. These are indeed qualities of a professional nurse educator that I hadn’t discovered earlier on.
Lifelong learning will assist me in keeping abreast with latest development of knowledge as a professional nurse educator (Candela, Gutierrez, & Keating, 2013). We are living in an age where advancement of knowledge is important in professional growth. Lifelong learning will also validate my current skills as a nurse educator and improve my productivity. This form of learning is also a cornerstone to the much needed Research and Development (R&D) in the nursing profession.
Candela, L., Gutierrez, A., & Keating, S. (2013). A national survey examining the professional work life of today’s nursing faculty. Nurse education today, 33(8), 853-859.
Chang, E., & Daly, J. (2015). Transitions in nursing: preparing for professional practice. New York: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Kumar, G., Jain, A., & Kumar, B. (2012). Bullying in the workplace: recognition and management. The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, 14(2), 130-135.
Lapkin, S., Levett-Jones, T., & Gilligan, C. (2013). A systematic review of the effectiveness of interprofessional education in health professional programs. Nurse education today, 33(2), 90-102.
Pennbrant, S., Nilsson, M. S., Öhlén, J., & Rudman, A. (2013). Mastering the professional role as a newly graduated registered nurse. Nurse education today, 33(7), 739-745.
Scariano, A., Clark, C., Fletman, A., Reeder, J.A., & Llorente, M. (2011). Bullying: Promoting Safe and Respectful Schools. Web.