The present paper is devoted to an interview that I carried out with a master’s prepared nurse (MPN) who is currently working as a nurse educator. I chose this MPN since her scope of practice is very similar to my personal interests: I am specializing in nursing education as well. I believe that the experience of an MPN could help me in achieving a greater understanding of how to become a nursing educator and what this term actually entails.
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Overview of Career
My interviewee had received her BS in Nursing at the University of Phoenix and spent three years working as a clinical nurse at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. There, she became interested in the ideas of shared leadership since she has always been able to and enjoyed taking up various elements of leadership responsibilities. She began to expand her knowledge on the topic, and she planned to become a Clinical Supervisor when her supervisor suggested that she took up graduate education.
The MPN had considered getting a graduate education in perspective, which is why it was not difficult for her to become convinced that her willingness to study would facilitate the graduate education for her, which, in turn, would help her in her future career. My interviewee also confessed that it took her a long while to choose a program, and during this search, she decided to take up Nurse Education. She does not believe that it was a primarily rational decision; mostly, it united her passions for medicine, research, leadership, and knowledge dissemination.
She attained the Master of Science in Nurse Education at the University of Phoenix. She told me that the topics, which she was particularly interested in researching, include multicultural education (as well as diversity in general) and the integration of modern technologies in the educational process.
Today, my interviewee occupies the position that she had aspired to take throughout her post-graduate education: a Nursing Professional Development Specialist (NPDS). She has been holding the position for slightly more than a year and a half. Her responsibilities include evaluating the educational needs of the staff and working with them, which involves much communication, and reviewing and updating educational programs, which involves much research.
She believes that both her educations have contributed to her current competencies: she is capable of understanding the needs of the staff as a former nurse, but, at the same time, she is provided with the competencies that are related directly to education. She specifically commented on the educational background that was produced by graduate education. Also, she believes that her communication and leadership skills received a boost during the educational period, but she is convinced that practice is necessary to perfect them.
Pearls of Wisdom
My interviewee was ready to share her experience, even though she mostly focused on the practice. She explained it by suggesting that my personal interests in research might be different from hers, but she did emphasize that the graduate degree in nurse education and related practice are very research-dependent. As for the practice, I was especially interested in her view that shared leadership could be used in the sphere of nurse education. She dwelled on the knowledge and ideas that the nurses and other staff can contribute to the development of customized education programs. Also, she believes that the unique needs of every facility require custom approaches, and while she admits that it makes her job more difficult, she thinks that it is a requirement, not an option.
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I have to admit that I was nearly dazzled by my interviewee’s personality. I liked the fact that she is so dedicated to self-development, especially a professional one. I like to think that continuing nursing education is always a requirement rather than an option since it is necessary to improve one’s skills in a changing environment. This appears to be a commonplace knowledge; I had read about it, and my interviewee has also mentioned it, but, for example, in the survey that was carried out by Marzuki, Hassan, Wichaikhum, and Nantsupawat (2012), almost 20% of nurses disagreed that continuing education was necessary for safety and quality improvement.
Also, my interviewee is a practice-oriented person, and she is also very politically and socially aware. Again, I keep encountering articles and posts on how important it is for a nurse and other healthcare professionals to participate in social and political activities to improve the quality of life in our country. Both the American Medical Association (2001) and the American Nurses Association (2015) include such activities as the requirements in their codes of ethics. However, I proceed to witness the explicit passivity of my colleagues and potential colleagues, and I do hope that I will not develop a similar trait.
I suppose our interview received a rather politicized turn, but this aspect is provided for by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s (2011) Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing. It is the Essential VI; Essentials IV and II that reflective practice and leadership were also discussed in our interview. She spoke about quality and safety, which is directly connected to nurse education (Essential III), and we touched upon the specifics of Masters level practice, which is the Essential IX.
Unfortunately, I cannot say that I discovered much new information about graduate education, but it may be the result of me being very thoroughly prepared for this eventuality. However, I was very glad to meet confirmations to my views on what is important about graduate education and, especially, nurse education from the point of view of an NPDS.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2011). The essentials of a Master’s education in nursing. Web.
American Medical Association. (2001). Principles of medical ethics. Web.
American Nurses Association. (2015). Code of Ethics for Nurses With Interpretive Statements. Web.
Marzuki, M., Hassan, H., Wichaikhum, O., & Nantsupawat, R. (2012). Continuing nursing education: Best practice initiative in the nursing practice environment. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 60, 450-455. Web.