My Philosophy of Nursing Education

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a nurse. As an 8-year-old, I practiced nursing in a makeshift hospital tucked safely away under the back porch of my tiny, row home. I cared for squirming kittens in my "nursery", sleeping dolls being whisked to surgery, and a line of "injured" young friends from my neighborhood in my bustling emergency room. I have certainly ventured a long way from my imaginary hospital, but I must admit that nursing has never disappointed me.

I still marvel at how our clients, who have never laid eyes on us before, open a personal corner of their lives and share with us their deepest fears, as we care for them in the health care settings. We see them at their worst and at their best, and through it all they trust us implicitly to be caring, confidential and skilled. It is mind boggling to think how many lives we touch throughout our careers! We are truly members of a very unique profession.

Because the demands and the accountability of our profession are so great, I firmly believe that nursing education must be a partnership between the student and the educator. No, nursing education is not merely a spectator sport, in which a student listens, observes, and learns. Instead, each student must truly "live" what he or she learns through active involvement, whether it is in the nursing laboratory, in the weekly seminars or in the clinical settings. To be successful, the theoretical knowledge and the practical experience must go hand in hand for true learning to occur.

Furthermore, nursing education is more than just memorizing facts to get an "A" on a test or reproducing a skill to demonstrate it to absolute perfection. Becoming a nurse requires learning the underlying principles, analyzing them, and then, applying the principles to many different clients with similar problems, but very individual needs. Student nurses must use their minds and their hearts, as well as their hands and their senses to be successful professional nurses in today's challenging health care world.

Being a student nurse requires hard work, persistence and many sacrifices. So as you face the challenges of each new nursing semester head-on, remember to keep your life in perspective. I can vividly recall my own "Fundamentals of Nursing" instructor always chanting when the going got rough, "This too shall pass!" These few words gave us a glimmer of hope that an end was in sight! This little phrase also helped us to realize that many student nurses had struggled before us, and many student nurses had indeed succeeded. With these simple thoughts in mind, work hard and always keep your dream in sight!

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