The members of the Denver Area Healthcare Recruiters Association, like many others, are concerned about the impending nursing shortage in Colorado. While there are many components leading to the nursing shortage, one area of particular concern is the lack of qualified nurses providing training to the next generation of incoming nurses. Click on the links below for information for nurses interested in becoming an adjunct (part-time) professor.
What is the typical time commitment?
The time commitment is negotiable with the school. For clinical scholar/faculty there should be 1 – 3 days per year in orientation to the curriculum, the clinical facility, the student education and evaluation process. Often this is not compensated time. Compensation can be negotiated and should be encouraged as placing value on nursing and nursing education.
What are the typical education requirements for teaching?
The typical requirements for teaching in the clinical setting vary according to the level of education, the formal degree(s) of the educator and that person’s experience. For some situations, a ADN with two years experience in the area is adequate. The State Board of Nursing is very specific about the qualifications.
Do I need my PhD to teach?
A Ph.D. is not needed to teach at many levels. Again, the State Board website has those specifications.
What if I’m not trained to teach?
As part of orientation to the curriculum there should be some formal class room time spent on “how to teach”, whether in the clinical setting or the classroom. Schools need to provide some of this at the time of hiring, even if it is not the normal time of year the information would be provided. Schools of nursing need a faculty mentor for newly hired clinical scholars, faculty and professors.
Teaching is fun. It is exciting. You get to see the light bulbs go on and feel like you’ve made a contribution to future nurses. It feels good. Just like patients are appreciative of care received, students are appreciative of education received, tips in performing procedures and correlating A & P with what the patient looks like….It can be scary when you are not sure what the next move the student will make during a procedure or what they will say during a patient teaching session. It can arouse both anger and sympathy. Students who are single parents, working and studying bring forth a variety of emotions when homework has not been completed. Students may expect a lot “given” to them. Educating can be a lot like parenting: getting students to be safely independent and self sustaining. When that happens it is very satisfying.
Teaching adds another dimension to nursing. We are accustomed to teaching patients. It’s providing more background and more in depth information than one usually provides to patients. It feels good to make a difference for the future care of patients. It stimulates one and expands one’s own knowledge and capabilities. It provides opportunities to do what you hadn’t dreamed you could do.
Who makes a good Adjunct Faculty member/Clinical Instructor?
Whether in the classroom or clinical setting, the educator must have enthusiasm for and a love of nursing. This communicates so strongly to the students. It energizes them and helps them set dreams for themselves and what they can do for others, the difference they can make for others. There needs to be patience, an understanding of adult education principles, leadership and mentoring principles Love of learning is critical to stimulating students to learn & research for themselves. A comfort level in the classroom needs to be obtained. But it will not be there, usually, at the start. Of course someone needs to be clinically competent and have the appropriate credentials. The educator must be a role model. They also need to be committed because there is prep time involved whether in the classroom or clinical setting. Not every day will go well. But those that do will outshine the ones that are clouded. The educator can take satisfaction that like with patients, they are making a difference to students. And that totally changes the number of lives they can impact with their values, skills, knowledge and philosophy of care.