Leaders of tomorrow

Have you ever heard the quote by Gretchen Rubin, “The days are long, but the years are short”? This is quite a unique saying that is often directed to young or new parents.  In short, it implies that even though the early phases of parenthood may seem long, challenging, exhausting, and mentally draining, these days will soon pass more quickly than you will expect.  In other words, soak it all in because before you know it, they will be grown.  When this quote first hit my ears, I promised myself to be sure to savor as many moments of parenthood as possible.  It also caused me to reflect on how big of a job I have as a parent.  These babies grow up to be our future! They will become our leaders, healthcare providers, technicians, photographers, or whatever else they may choose to become.

I once had one of my daughter’s elementary teachers tell me, “as the parent, you are the child’s first teacher”.  This statement is so valid on so many levels.  Walking, talking, eating, and progressing through early development all come from parental guidance.  But as our children grow into young adults the presence of guidance begins to come from those in the role of academia as well.  This can be compared to the role of the nurse educator! As a nurse educator, you are responsible for leading your students through their coursework in order to reach their end goal of becoming a nurse.  The nurse educator steers and guides the learner.  They encourage, support, and empathize with them.  They help them to grow not only as a nurse but as a human being. The responsibility that comes with this work is large, but the reward exceeds its weight.  The impact that you can have on the future generations of our profession is profound.   

Generation Z is comprised of those between the ages of 6 and 24.  They are the generation who have grown up with technology at their fingertips.  From a very young age, Generation Z has been handling electronic devices such as their parent’s smartphones as well as using tablets in elementary school.  They have even progressed into taking computer classes in school as early as Kindergarten! They are learning in new ways which means we have to find new ways to teach them.  As we are now seeing some of this generation in our college classrooms, we have learned to adapt and find new technological methods for teaching them.  Additionally, in the middle of a pandemic, we have been able to tap into the virtual world of education even further.  For Generation Z learners, this may feel more natural than other teaching styles, simply due to their comfort level with technology.  As the nurse educator one thing remains true: we must continue to teach our curriculum using teaching methods that reaches our learners and can be adaptable to our circumstances.  Nursing students may feel the heavy burden of the program and feel overwhelmed or stressed by all that has been placed in front of them. But to that I would say, “The days are long, but the years are short”.  The nurse educator can promote and lead learning in even the toughest of storms.  Things may seem challenging right where they stand today, but with the guidance of the educator they will find a way to navigate through the storm and come out the other side a future leader for tomorrow.

Learn more about how you can pursue a career as a nurse educator through Walsh University’s Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Educator (BSN to MSN-NE) and Doctor of Nursing Practice – Nurse Educator (BSN to DNP-NE) programs, offered fully online!

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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