In Defense of the living, breathing professor – and patient

link to an article in the Wall Street Journal, titled “In Defense of the Living, Breathing Professor” . In brief, he is saying that there is flawed thinking when we measure college education by “output” as if we were making widgets on an assembly line.

The author makes the point that human contact is the key element of education. He’s a physics teacher.

Nursing education certainly needs to incorporate active coaching on a one-to-one level as we impart the process of patient care. Nowadays we are more likely to use simulated learning ( “Sim-Man”). We are more likely to develop sophisticated scenarios such as the Heart Association has used in ACLS classes for thirty years. This is all well and good,  but it reminds me that I  have been meaning to write something similar to my esteemed colleague from Williams College. My own essay would be titled “In Defense of the Living, Breathing Patient.”

Does this apply to clinical?

you bet it does.I do think that the faculty need to be actively involved in assessing and caring for every patient assigned to their students, particularly at the beginner level, and that faculty need to model a level of engagement that promotes the idea of how to change the plan when you go “off script.”  For this, faculty need to be experts in clinical practice.

Nursing faculty shortage?

This takes careful planning. I think we have a national infusion of new faculty who are uncertain of this role. Those of us who are older faculty members need to find the means to share what we know if we are to create the best environment.

I think I will write future blogs on the subject of technology and the human element. In the meantime, welcome back to school!



Filed under Nurses Brain, nursing education, Nursing in Hawaii

2 responses to “In Defense of the living, breathing professor – and patient

  1. Sonic N. Hedgehog

    I agree that a living, human, professor is essential. In fact, I have heard that there are some so dedicated, or so ….intrepid, I guess is the word, that they even teach their students how to administer injections by allowing the students to inject him- or her-self! (Or is that just an urban legend?)

    But don’t knock the simulation dummies either! If you think they are lacking in verisimilitude, wait until you see the latest versions of “Nurse Training Video Game 2013! ” (If there is not such a thing now, just wait a bit.)

    Of course, these games too can be made more realistic. For example, the longer you play, the more you are taken for granted, and your avatar starts fading and losing points.

  2. Thank you.

    In My Nursing School in the 1970s, we learned how to insert Nasogastric tubes by doing it on each other…… and shots too.

    In the olden days, we used to teach injections by doing the first actual one on each other. and I often would choose a person to do the first one using me as the recipient, to demnstrate that I was not afraid and I was perfectly comfortable with it. Nurses and nursing students do not merely need to learn the technique of any given skill; they also need to confront their own baggage and fears that surface when they are thinking about performing this on another actual person. Getting over this kind of hurdle is an essential part of professional development IMHO. there is a long list of such things, and you don’t always know what will trigger a dysfunctional reaction from a person. For example, when teaching OB nursing years ago, i once had a student who was extremely shy about checking a patient’s fundus, stitches and flow. a critical assessment to make.

    anyway, That Was Then, This IS Now. because of OSHA and everything else, Blood-Borne Pathogens etc, we no longer use live subjects for practice, even with detailed written consent.

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