• Careers
  • by Sunita Rao-Fogt
  • Feb 27, 2019

7 Habits of Highly Effective Health Professionals and Nurse Educators

Chamberlain University hosts national faculty meetings throughout the year to inspire and nourish our faculty to better serve and educate our students. At the latest national faculty meeting, Chamberlain had the pleasure of hosting, well renowned, speaker and author of the 2018 textbook for nursing students: Think Like a Nurse: A Handbook, Linda Caputi, EdD, MSN, RN, CNE, ANEF. Dr. Caputi is a National League for Nursing (NLN) Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) who has authored more than 25 educational multimedia programs, nursing education books, journal articles and more. During the national faculty meeting, we had the chance to connect with Dr. Caputi to capture 7 Habits of Highly Effective Health Professionals & Nurse Educators – for those of you looking to pursue a career in healthcare education: 

1. Know Yourself: The first step to being an effective health professional or nurse educator is identifying your personal educational philosophy. This will guide your teaching practice and will craft your self-concept as an educator. For example, using edutainment, not being afraid to take risks, actively involving students or colleagues whom you are training and encouraging them to be self-motivated. 

2. Know Where What You Do Fits into Your Curriculum: The goal of any educational practice is to ensure those you are teaching are able to achieve the learning outcomes. Focus on how you can contribute to the learning process so future nurse leaders can do so. Using techniques like building on what they already know to expand their knowledge and actively encouraging them to retrieve previously learned information to apply to current teachings, makes a lasting impression. 

3. Build a Culture of Improvement: Educators should think ahead to continuously improve before the need to improve becomes a necessity. Spend some time writing down your expectations along with ways in which you can improve upon them. For example: retention rate, job placement rate for healthcare leadership positions, individuals enrolled in higher degrees after leaving your program, etc. In addition, it is important to always ask the “why” behind the “what.” Make sure everything you are doing is backed by an educational purpose/goal.

4. Appeal to the Students’ Emotions: Having the ability to tie in an emotional response to what you are teaching can help learners retain the information. One good example of this is using humor throughout your teachings. Humor releases endorphins and aids in retention. An easy way to incorporate humor into your teachings is by adding in videos, music, cartoons, jokes, etc. and relate the humor to the principles being taught to make a stronger, lasting impact. 

5. Promote Active Learning: The goals of active learning are: developing effective/efficient learning, promoting the learner’s understanding of the material and ensuring transfer of learning to practice. Active learning is a newer concept and poses some barriers that are important to address. For one, you aren’t able to cover as much content. Spend time evaluating what you are willing to cut so that you can truly focus on what is important. Another barrier is lack of materials and resources– fortunately you don’t need a lot of expensive materials and resources – get creative and push yourself outside of your comfort zone. 

6. Teach to Current Practice: Teaching to current practice is crucial, especially in the healthcare space due to its evolving nature. This requires: updating the context in which you teach, sorting current from out-of-date information in textbooks and other resources, and attention to detail related to current practice. One focus I believe is important and more current, is “teaching to think.” As healthcare professionals, critical thinking skills are a growing necessity. 

7. Be Flexible: If you have been teaching a certain way for a long time and you aren’t seeing improved results, it’s important to recognize that a change could help. Be flexible and open to new ideas in your approach to being an effective educator.

Dr. Caputi provided some valuable tips that healthcare leaders and educators can put into action to elevate their teaching practice. If staying current in the latest healthcare trends and advancing your educational practice is something you are passionate about, check out Chamberlain’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.

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