March 11th, 2020 faculty meetings and discussion of a new curriculum that the organization would be using. March 12th, 2020, I opened my email to see an announcement that as of Monday, classes would be virtual and the link I would be using needed to be sent to students that day. Cue the self-doubt and where I began to question my knowledge skills as well as my ability to function in this new environment. But like any nurse educator, I looked at the research and began to make my plan of care for the classroom.
Where do we go from here?
The nursing profession is certainly not afraid of change; we encounter it daily. As nurse educators, we get comfortable in our classrooms, but at our roots, we are still nurses and are not afraid of change or thinking outside the box. This pandemic demonstrated where we have gaps in our delivery of education for healthcare and I encountered this when I began to create my lesson plans. We have many resources right at our fingertips that we can use in the virtual classroom.
The literature has demonstrated the flipped classroom deepens learning. This forced transition to a virtual setting made this method of teaching seem daunting and caused me to question how I could make it possible. There is good news during the last five months though, I have discovered that the flipped classroom is still possible in a time of virtual education. Faculty just must keep thinking outside the box. Students and educators found the transition to virtual learning challenging. Both students and educators lost collaboration and became isolated. Many established nurses chose to pursue advanced degrees in an online setting. This works well because the nurse already has expertise in critical thinking, skills, and client interactions. The traditional BSN student however still needs to develop these skills. As an educator that is comfortable in the classroom but also a millennial myself, I took this challenge and wanted to ensure that I used the available resources to help my students to achieve success.
When we made the switch to the virtual setting, or as we lovingly call it Remote Synchronous Education, I saw one set of problems while the students saw others. One of the most verbalized complaints that my students have conveyed to me is the lack of access to the traditional study groups. They felt that they were losing the communities they had built themselves for success.