Being a Nurse Educator During a Global Pandemic

If you want a career that is ever changing, nursing is for you! It’s no surprise that with the continuously evolving world of medicine that the role of the nurse changes on a daily basis. This presents an opportunity for unexpected events in bedside care. We must think on our feet and adapt as we go. Nursing is truly a multi-tasking career at its core. As we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, we must yet again re-design our work, not only as nurses but also as educators. In a time when we must follow social distancing guidelines set forth by our government leaders, we must find new ways to reach our student population. Prior to the pandemic the virtual classroom was on the rise. More and more programs were already beginning to incorporate an online component and some programs were offering a hybrid course approach (blend of face-to-face and online learning). But today we stand as educators faced with a mandate to teach virtually. Many nursing educators have spent the last week rushing to get all course content uploaded to a platform in which they can reach their students remotely. This presents obstacles such as connectivity issues, programming and simply finding ways to simulate in person clinical experiences and hands on skills training. As an educator, you value that time you get with each student and the personal relationships you have with each one of them. I truly utilize that relationship to facilitate a positive learning experience based on each individual student. The virtual classroom makes it hard on those relationships because you may not be seeing or talking to the student as much as you would have in a regular classroom setting. Additionally, we often categorize our students as one of three types of learners: those who learn by seeing, those who learn by hearing, and those who learn by doing. The group of learners that learns by doing (hands on learners) may be severely limited by the virtual classroom. This is what makes the role of the educator so fun! Faced with these challenges, the nurse educator must adapt and find new ways to engage all learners from wherever they may be learning. In these uncharted times we are in, the time in quarantine gives us the chance to pause and think about our lives. Are you doing what you love day in and day out? Are you at the elbow and ready to change directions? Nursing education offers the same spontaneity that floor nursing does. Could being a nurse educator be in your future? In closing, I salute all healthcare providers and especially my fellow nurses, the everyday heroes of our society during this unprecedented time

About the Author


My name is Colleen Wiley and I am a nurse educator. Growing up I always wanted to be a teacher, but I also had an interest in learning about science. I have always loved helping people which is why I chose to pursue a career in nursing. I spent my time in undergraduate nursing school working as a nurse intern on a medical surgical unit. After graduation in 2005, I worked at the bedside caring for post-operative patients and I loved it! Eventually, I started offering to train new employees and I would also take on nursing students for their clinical preceptorship. It was then that I truly realized my real passion was seeded in becoming a nurse educator! I started working as an adjunct clinical instructor in 2010 and immediately knew this was the path for me. A fire was lit inside of me! That burning feeling of helping others was reignited as I shifted my focus from helping sick and/or recovering patients in the acute setting to helping students learn how to become a nurse. I pursued a graduate degree in nursing education which I earned in December of 2014. I have been working as a nurse educator ever since I took that first leap back in 2010.

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