2 of “10 tips.” – – – Mantra for New faculty. need to repeat this over and over until they “get it”

We are all in search of the eternal truths of life, and nursing education is no different.

hint: be sure to click on the hyperlinks. These show up as underlined text or sometimes as text of a different color.

If I had just one magic incantation for new  nursing faculty, it would be this one:

It’s not about what you know, it’s about what the students learn

Medically-oriented knowledge

Do you know a lot about physiology? This is the answer to a common pitfall for new faculty who are trying to decide what to focus on when choosing material for a lecture. You have just come from graduate school in nursing and you make up your mind that you will be a better teacher than your undergraduate faculty were; the students will learn more advanced concepts from you than they ever learned from somebody else.

result: you spend time lecturing on some physiological problem that doesn’t happen that much. students are left confused. they don’t know whether it was important, or not. they scratch their heads.

hint: if you are discussing some physiologic problem that you personally have not dealt with, or for which you can not give an example from your practice, it’s probably waaaay over the student’s head.

working with beginning generalists

Or else maybe you are feeling imposter syndrome and you need to reassure yourself how smart you are and that you really do belong here.  You can tell if this is happening to you because you have the uncontrollable urge to share your qualifications or to talk about the finer points of some unusual medical illness that maybe the other faculty haven’t even heard of.

hint: this is nursing school, not medical school. what does the nurse need to know about the topic at hand?

Exams by a new faculty – what do they measure?

Or maybe you are looking at the item analysis report for an exam the team just gave, for the very first time and you see that the students scored a “0.0%” on the correct answers for all your questions; you find yourself arguing that they really ought to know that answer.

hint: when nobody chooses the correct answer for a question, you really do need to consider the possibility that there was something wrong with the question, or perhaps that your teaching was not effective. This is humbling.

Truth: if the entire class scores poorly on any given exam,  it is a reflection on you, not on them. How could you have presented the material better? in the meantime, drop the question overboard without ceremony. you will do better next time.

ability to test reality

I only recently heard about a phenomenon known as the Dunning-Kruger effect.

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes

Even though you may not heard of this by name, surely you seen it at work – I know I sure have.  As clinical faculty, one of our main jobs is to give students a dose of reality-testing strong enough so that they can develop a sense of their own limits and abilities.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect applies to you as a new faculty member. You will be evaluating not just what they students learn, but how. The same applies to evaluating your own skill in a new dimension.

Pearl of Wisdom

I guess the executive summary of this blog entry would be: when you start a teaching career, leave you r ego at the door. be humble. trust yourslef that you do belong there, but in the meantime, start thinkiing about the goal, which is to enhancestudent  learning – not to show how much you know. I will end this blog entry with The First Rule of Knowledge (according to Buddha) which is:

admit what you do not know

PS please pass this along to as many faculty and nursing students as you know and encourage them to subscribe to this blog. hey – why not subscribe yourself?????


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