It’s a pretty well-known fact that we need more nursing faculty. I am very excited to be a part of the effort to grow more nurse educators.
Teachers College, the graduate school of education at Columbia University, has had a Nursing Education program for over one hundred years. In fact, many of us were taught by Teachers College graduates! A few years back, however, the Nursing Education program was closed to new applicants. As existing doctoral students finished up their research and one by one graduated from the “old” program, a committee was formed to “reimagine” the program…and put it online.
I became a nurse in what I used to call a “non-traditional” way. I no longer call it that because, quite honestly, many people become nurses in ways other than what were once considered traditional ones. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Biology and then went directly into an RN to MSN program. I spent three intensive years learning how to be a nurse and an advanced practice nurse!
As soon as I finished my master’s degree I knew I wanted to teach nursing. I was intrigued by the thought of a joint appointment, where I would practice nursing and teach nursing as part of the same position. I thought I would enjoy teaching at the graduate level because that’s what I could relate to. I also believed I was finished with my education.
But three years later I enrolled in a doctoral program and ended up with my PhD in Nursing. My path went a little differently than many doctorally-prepared nurses. I got married, moved to a small town in northwest Colorado, and had two children. I ended up in a clinical position for twelve years before I began teaching full time. In fact, my husband had encouraged me to teach online (there are no universities within 180 miles of where we live), but I was adamantly opposed to that idea.
When both of my children were in school all day, I finally looked into teaching online. And I loved it! I facilitated a master’s level nursing theory course and an undergraduate nutrition course. Then I found my dream job, which combined my clinical expertise in diabetes education and management, my love for teaching, and my online experience. I have been overseeing and teaching in a solely online, interprofessional Master of Science in Diabetes Education and Management program for more than five years now.
Tomorrow I will start teaching in the “brand new,” online Nursing Education program at Teachers College. I had to give up one of my diabetes courses in order to take on a nursing theory course, but I am very excited to teach at the doctoral level and to work with nurses! I look forward to contributing to this blog with thoughts about nursing education – especially from the front line! I also hope that some of our students will take a turn at sharing insights from their doctoral education experiences.