A Day in the Life of a Nursing Professor

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When most people think ‘nurse,’ they picture someone working in a hospital setting, providing direct patient care.

Careers in nursing can actually encompass a broad range of job settings – from the bedside to the boardroom and everywhere in between.

Michelle Sadko, MSN, RN, a professor at Chamberlain College of Nursing’s Addison campus, started her career as an OB nurse – working in areas such as labor and delivery, post-partum, high-risk and the NICU.

While at the bedside, she found that she enjoyed working with nursing students and new nurses. From that initial experience as a preceptor, she became a part-time clinical instructor. She chose to work at Chamberlain due to the positive feedback she heard from several co-workers who happened to be Chamberlain alumni.

“My co-workers expressed how, as students, they felt the instructors truly cared about their success,” she said. “They could tell how the staff was close to one another. After hearing this, I felt that Chamberlain would be a good fit for my personality.”

Michelle became a full-time nurse educator in 2016, but she hasn’t left clinical practice behind.

“I’ve always wanted to teach, but I still love bedside nursing,” she said. “I still work per-diem at the hospital, two to three times per month.”

Here’s a look at a Michelle’s typical day as a nurse educator:


7:00 a.m. – My day begins.

After breakfast, I say good-bye to my husband and dog – a mini golden doodle named Mercedes – and hit the road.

Every day is different for me. Today, I’ll be teaching NR-327, Maternal-Child Nursing. This course covers pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period – topics that I know really well from my eight years as an OB nurse. On other days, I also teach NR-103, an introductory course for students, and NR-222 Health and Wellness, a class that focuses on prevention and health promotion.

8:00 a.m. – First Meeting of the Day

I serve on our campus’ Admissions Committee and help review applications from prospective students. We meet once a week, sometimes in person and sometimes virtually, to review applications and discuss any new processes or procedures.

9:00 a.m. – Teaching


Today, in class, we’re learning about fetal monitoring. Students were able to practice differentiating variability, accelerations, and decelerations and what this mean. Students also gave presentations on the stages of labor, pain control, and Induction of Labor. Because the sessions at Chamberlain are eight weeks long, classes can be almost three hours long. I work really hard to keep the students engaged while using the time effectively.

11:30 – Lunch

12:30 – Office Hours

As a professor, I put together my own lectures and select activities to help students understand the course material. Here I am reviewing slides for my next class. I have an “open door” policy during my office hours. Students tend to come by more right before or after exams, but I’m always here to answer questions.

1:00 p.m. – Simulation Lab

Typically, I teach the didactic (classroom) portion of the course, while a clinical instructor teaches the hands-on portion in the lab or clinical setting. Today, however, the clinical instructor was out sick. I led a birthing simulation for students using the high-fidelity patient simulators. From my experience in the field, I have to say that the simulations can get pretty realistic.

2:30 p.m. – Snack break between classes


3:00 p.m. – Back in the classroom again

Here, I’m sitting in on another professor’s NR-103 class to help students find scholarly articles. I still consider myself to be new at teaching, so I really appreciate the way Chamberlain provides opportunities for me to observe and be mentored by more experienced professors.

4:30 p.m. – Heading home

After my day at work is done, I head out to the gym. I make it a point to work out four times a week. I love to ride my bike, but I also like to run or use the elliptical trainer.

7:30 p.m. – Study time!

Now that my workday’s done, I get to turn my attention to my own studies. I’m enrolled in a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program. Advancing my education is really important to me, and I’m glad for the opportunity to model lifelong learning for my students. I put in at least 20 hours per week and am hoping to finish May 2017.

10:30 p.m. – Good night!

Lights out and time to rest up for another day!

Want to learn more about being a nurse educator at Chamberlain? Visit chamberlainfaculty.com.

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