While the Covid-19 pandemic has severely limited in-person learning, colleges and universities alike should be looking at what’s been benefiting the students, faculty, and staff in the online realm and look to make some of these changes permanent in the form of hybrid classes, new programs, and degree offerings, or changing a course from a traditional in-seat to distance learning. As life-shattering as it’s been, the pandemic has opened the door to new delivery methods in academia and an increase in the need for online programs; a blind eye should not be taken to what is working!
Specialty options for the BSN track
Earning a BSN certainly opens the door to career advancement for nurses, required advancement or not. It is often assumed that all it does is give way to leadership and management roles such as unit manager or educator. However, a BSN program student may elect to specialize in pediatrics, public health, geriatrics, or case management, to list a few examples. As the population nurses care for are living longer with more illness or disabilities, it is vital to be well versed in the population you serve. Not all BSN programs have specialty tracks, but it certainly is becoming more and more popular and something to take note of as an educator. One I would pay close attention to is a specialty in geriatric case/care management.
Nursing shortage… no end in sight
The number of nurses leaving the workforce has doubled from 2010 to 2020, nearing 80,000. Add in the insufficient amount of nursing faculty, which restricts enrollment, the number of nurses nearing retirement, the inadequate staffing at the bedside leads to high turnover rates or leaving the profession in general. How do we fix this from the academic world? Well, we start by setting up our students for real-world nursing instead of ivory tower nursing. We need to hone in on critical thinking and applying concepts to enable a new graduate to perform the daily duties safely, confidently, and competently, such as prioritization, clinical judgment calls, decision making, and delegation, to name a few.
On the flip side, getting rid of lateral violence in the workplace is key in academia to retain faculty. Sadly, the occupations that experience the highest frequency of bullying behaviors were academia, social services, and nursing.
Why do professions with the sole foundation on caring for others struggle when it comes to caring for our co-workers?
I entered nursing education after completing 10 years at the bedside. I was both a participant and receiver of incivility in the workplace at some point, few and far between. Entering academia was an exciting time and a professional goal of mine, but I was unprepared for the amount of bullying and incivility that knowingly took and takes place. Off the top of my head, I can think about clinical/class load comparisons, office hour selections, degree comparisons, place of education, and superior behaviors in staff meeting discussions. This was something I was not prepared for and greatly affected my workplace happiness.
As nurses working in academia, we are held to a professional standard. If you come across lateral violence either as a witness, recipient, or are finding yourself “dishing it out,” hold yourself and your colleagues accountable by pursuing civility in all cases. Aim to find common ground to build upon (e.g., both nurses, both faculty members, both love hiking). Whatever the commonality, maybe focus on it and do so with respect. Don’t sweep it under the rug; address it and embrace it to change it.