Nurse educators play a pivotal role in supporting learning and inspiring health professionals. And a great nurse educator can have a long-lasting impact on those they teach, both personally and professionally.
When I think about qualities of the great nurse educators who have influenced my development and learning, there are a number of characteristics which consistently emerge.
Here are 12 qualities of great nurse educators.
A great educator is passionate about teaching, and about the nursing topics at hand. They are excited about being able to positively influence their learners, and by extension, the patients.
When an educator is passionate about the subject matter, it is infectious. It leads to more passionate and motivated learners, which improves the effectiveness of the education being provided.
An educator can display their passion through their energy, drive and enthusiasm. Their teaching style should mimic this, and be dynamic and up-beat.
Energetic and Engaging Teaching Style
As a learner, there’s nothing more demotivating and boring than listening to a teacher drone on and on at the front of the classroom.
Great educators will engage and hold the attention of their learners by bringing great energy and appropriate teaching methods to the classroom.
Establishes Clear Objectives and Outcomes
In the planning stage, nurse educators should ensure that they clearly define the learning objectives and outcomes of an educational session.
This ensures that an educational activity is linked to practice. The educator can then clearly align the intended learnings with a practice gap that they have identified through a needs assessment.
A more structured educational session also acts as a guide for learners. Having a sense of where you’re going and how you’re going to get there makes it easier for learners to remain engaged throughout a session.
While it is expected that educators will provide regular feedback to learners, they should also actively seek feedback.
Being open to receive feedback, from both learners and fellow educators, will promote a culture of collaborative learning and respect.
Further, it will enable educators to refine their teaching style and respond to the expressed needs of the learners.
Educators can encourage feedback from learners by:
Asking learners to fill out periodical questionnaires;
Facilitating classroom discussions.
Facilitates Self-Directed Learning
One of the six adult learning principles identified by Malcolm Knowles states that adults are internally motivated and self-directed.
When the educator facilitates and encourages self-directed, autonomous learning, this enables learners to take a greater level of responsibility for their own learning and development and fosters their internal motivation to learn.
To effectively facilitate this, educators can:
Encourage questions and individual exploration of the taught concepts;
Show an interest in the thoughts and ideas of learners;
Encourage individual research;
Lead learners to inquiry instead of overloading them with information.