I am an RN with almost 30 years of nursing
experience, having received my BSN from the University of Pittsburgh, after graduating from high school. I have worked as a perinatal nurse for just as many years. A perinatal nurse is one who cares for women from preconception, through their pregnancy, labor and delivery, postpartum, and up to several weeks beyond. We also provide care for the newborn baby and infant. Currently, I work as a full-time labor and delivery nurse.
In addition to being a nurse who works at the bedside, I am also a nurse educator. I started teaching more than 10 years ago when a friend, who works for our community college, reached out to me. She was looking for someone to teach an adult continuing education course in medical terminology. She wanted to know if I knew of anyone. As I told her, although I never taught formally, nurses teach patients and their families everyday, and I believed I could do the job. I was hired! I continued to teach there for about 7 years and maintained my full time position at the hospital.
One day I decided I no longer wanted to work in the hospital. I started searching for full-time teaching positions. I found a position teaching at a school dedicated solely to LPN students. I taught a class on lab values and diagnostic tests. As there was no formal textbook available for the students, I had to devise one myself. The majority of the time I was at this school, I spent teaching the students in the clinical area. I firmly believe in teaching and leading by example. In order to garner respect, you must give respect; understand that mistakes will be made and use that as a learning opportunity.
I was not at the above school long. We were laid off after 3 months. Fortunately, working for that school gave me the experience I needed to move on to a bigger and better opportunity. I was hired, initially, as full-time faculty for another LPN program. When the director, who hired me, resigned after only 3 months, I was hired as the interim director. I held that position for 3 months, but within that time period was able to make many positive changes to the programs, based on the problems presented to me by the current students. When a new director was hired, I became her assistant director (I do not have a Master's degree). We saw an almost 100% turn-around in the NCLEX-PN
pass rate from the first class we graduated to the next.
Not only was I the assistant director, but I was also the clinical liaison - I worked with facilities to provide clinical opportunities for our students, and I taught the 3 semesters of pharmacology
we provided, as well as the maternity class and related clinical experience. I also mentored and tutored students who were having trouble in their classes.
I stayed at the above school for about 3 years, until budget cuts removed me from my position, and I decided to return to the hospital and my current position. I was also offered the opportunity to teach again at our community college. This time I would be teaching a class for students interested in getting into the health care field. Of course that opportunity led to another opportunity. I was asked to be a substitute clinical instructor; then a classroom instructor for the LPN program, teaching Mental Health and Maternity-Pediatrics nursing, in the summer semester.
I believe my students achieve because I encourage them to believe in themselves and their abilities. I am honest with them. I tell them it won't be easy, but I also let them know that I am there for them. I don't believe in failure. I am a living witness of what one can do if you have faith and don't give up. I tell them my story.
I do what I do because I want there to be more caring and compassionate nurses in the world. I want there to be more nurses who are passionate about their work because they are making a difference in someone's life. So, I try to impact their lives in every way I can.
I use a variety of teaching styles. I learn from my students. I want to always keep them alert and motivated. I try to keep my classes as interactive as possible. My classes have been full of tears one moment and full of laughter the next.
Many of my students still maintain close contact with me, even to this day. They continually tell me of the impact that I have made on their lives. There is no greater reward or payment than that.