When I first began my teaching career 5 years ago, I had no idea what to expect of myself or the students, nor what exemplified an “excellent instructor”. This was a whole new experience for me, and I was so proud to be a part of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing team. Remembering back, I had taken two education courses during my time in the DNP program and really dove deep into the different types of learning preferences, knowing that this was something I needed to understand well to prepare myself for a future roIe as a Nurse Educator. I was hired on as a clinical instructor post DNP graduation and felt that this was the perfect fit for me as I could “demonstrate” my clinicals skills in a very meaningful way for the students to learn effectively. An additional piece to clinical teaching, separate from clinical skills, is that of debriefing in a post-conference. I had no idea how to construct my time during these 4 hours every week. I knew my goal was to present our 12-hour clinical day in a “meaningful way” so that each student could take away even a small piece of knowledge from what they experienced during the clinical day, but I really wasn’t sure how to organize this in a productive way that would provide the most benefit to the learner. This has been a huge learning curve for me over these last few years, and I have taken student feedback and reorganized how clinical conferences flow to produce a more effective learning environment, knowing that I still have room to grow.
Being a part of the JFTF these last few months has opened my eyes to multiple teaching strategies for successful student learning. This teaching fellowship program has provided me with multiple resources and opportunities to build upon restructuring my post-conference debriefing sessions to allow them to be more meaningful for our pre-specialty students. Being able to observe other educators’ classrooms, participating in bi-weekly teaching seminar sessions, along with peer feedback has helped build this foundation.
My skills are compounding, and my educator role is expanding to facilitate helping our students reach their educational goals through the process of scholarly teaching in hopes that it will be reflected in their future practice as Nurse Practitioners. I am proud to be a part of the JFTF and look forward to the upcoming year, while continuing to build upon essential principles of learning to add to my teaching toolkit.