Nursing is known as one of the most stressful career fields, and so is nursing education. To keep the earners motivated but not to turn them away from this career field an educator needs to distinguish the main challenges they face and to avoid the students’ intimidation.
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Nursing education is one of the most stressful and intimidating learning processes. Just like most kinds of professional training, nursing education involves theoretical and practical aspects. The clinical competence of a nursing student is determined by their ability to practice in “real life” surroundings, which is achieved through a great deal of clinical practice that synthesizes and combines the students’ theoretical knowledge, practical skills, decision making, and problem-solving abilities, as well as their capability to endure pressure and react fast without making mistakes (Rafiee, Moattari, Nikbakht, Kojuri, & Mousavinasab, 2014).
As mentioned by Moyer and Wittmann-Price (2008), the ability to memorize new information fast is one of the most important aspects of nursing education and practice. The learning process of a nurse is based on keeping in mind a lot of theoretical knowledge which cannot be forgotten as one course is over because every detail learned by a nursing student during their clinical training and theoretical activities is there for a reason. This way, the students that cannot memorize information fast will face a serious educational challenge. The second characteristic of nursing students who will be under a lot of stress during their education process is those who cannot cope with high pressure on both physical and emotional levels since the work of a nurse is related to exhausting long shifts, a lot of energy and psychological stress. Nursing specialists need to stay sharp regardless of their level of exhaustion. Finally, students with a lack of practice are likely to become intimidated during their education since practice is responsible for the development of critical thinking and the accumulation of the base of knowledge needed for the students to develop a better understanding of their field of work. Besides, communication with educators and peers is crucial as a part of the learning process. Students who do not have time to discuss their professional experiences are likely to misinterpret or fail to memorize them.
The nursing field is known for multiple stressors. One of the most common sources of intimidation for nursing students is the ever-present fear to make an error and harm a patient; another common source of stress is the instructor (Brown, n. d.). To avoid adding to the generally high level of concern of the nursing students an instructor is to become a role model, but not a tyrant. The educator needs to facilitate discussions between the peers and welcome questions related to the learning process. Besides, a nursing instructor is to make sure that students acquire a substantial amount of practice during their education and are not reduced to observation and paperwork only. As for the issues of the high level of stress, an educator needs to provide information concerning the risk of burnout and the importance of timely rest. Besides, the educator needs to maintain moderate amounts of work for the learners to help them adjust for the future “real life” practice but not to intimidate them even more and turn them away from the career. Finally, vertical violence so common in nursing needs to be avoided.
One of the main challenges of an educating nurses is to build confidence in their students, as it is the main source of the learners’ motivation (Schiffhorst, 2003). An instructor is to demonstrate patience and show respect to the students and show them that even though nursing is very challenging as a career field, the challenges can be overcome with a certain level of dedication and proper practice.
Brown, F. (n. d.). How to Be an Effective Clinical Instructor. Web.
Rafiee, G., Moattari, M., Nikbakht, A. N., Kojuri, J., & Mousavinasab, M. (2014). Problems and challenges of nursing students’ clinical evaluation: A qualitative study. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, 19(1), 41-49.
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Moyer, B. A., & Wittmann-Price, R. A. (2008). Nursing education: Foundations for practice excellence. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis.
Schiffhorst, G. J. (2003). Beyond intimidation: Reflections on teaching. Faculty Focus, 2(2), 1-12.