NEW YORK NURSE: January/February 2010
By Erin Silk
NYSNA’s Faculty Camp is an educational program that helps prepare new clinical adjunct faculty to succeed in educator roles, and gives experienced faculty best practices to mentor new educators. This year’s training will take place at NYSNA headquarters in Latham.
Faculty Camp is an intensive, two-day program that targets nurse clinicians who are ready to transition to a clinical faculty role or who are interested in working in a nursing faculty setting, but do not have a teaching background. The curriculum presents new ideas for clinical teaching strategies and reaching adult learners. Faculty Camp is brought to nurse educators by NYSNA’s Education Practice and Research (EPR) department in conjunction with NYSNA’s Council on Nursing Education.
This year’s Faculty Camp will be facilitated by Dr. Barbara Penn, director of Member Education at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in Washington, DC; and Lydia Zager, director of the Center of Nursing Leadership, College of Nursing, University of South Carolina.
The faculty will present an in-depth agenda that includes exploring the role of faculty educators, reducing student anxiety in the clinical setting, and ways to facilitate and evaluate clinical learning. Prior Faculty Camp programs have been described as “empowering,” and are said to “break the chains of traditional nursing education.” Past attendees appreciate the “learned experiences and stories,” and leave motivated to apply new techniques.
One focus of the program is teaching adult learners, who make up the vast majority of nursing school enrollees. EPR Associate Director Ann Purchase remarked that the so-called “generic nursing student” is a thing of the past, with many more people choosing nursing as a second career, later in life.
While the program targets new clinical adjuncts, Purchase hopes that established faculty members who are already mentors will also want to attend to learn how they can facilitate the transition to the role of educator. “The program is a good way to update clinical teaching strategies, create learning environments for the adult learner, and find fresh ways to develop the new clinical adjuncts they mentor,” she said.
The concept of Faculty Camp was derived from NYSNA’s Council on Nursing Education, which recognized the value of adjunct clinical instructors and the need to keep developing educators for the future.
Purchase acknowledged that there is a “huge difference between being a clinical expert and a clinical nurse educator.” Many new educators struggle with the realities of day-to-day teaching and feel ‘left out of the loop’ because they are not on permanent staff, or disconnected due to varying schedules. Faculty Camp “helps adjuncts learn to fit into the educational system, with opportunities to network with other faculty and share resources for surviving in the adjunct clinical setting,” she said. Purchase recommended that groups of faculty from schools of nursing register and attend together so that they are all on the same page when returning to teach in the fall.
The program date of August 2 and 3 is intended to coincide with faculty returning for the fall semester. In an effort to keep Faculty Camp cost-effective, the program will be held at NYSNA headquarters in Latham. In addition to being minutes from Albany airport, NYSNA is just a short ride to shops and restaurants in Albany or Saratoga Springs. Watch future editions of New York Nurse for more information concerning nearby hotel accommodations and course fees.