Dwight took Michael’s Rolodex because he knew the secret to a good salesman’s success was knowing their customers! At that moment, I knew what was missing from my relationships with my nursing students: knowing them. Knowing someone involves having knowledge that only a few share with that person. The few that the student trusts. Shouldn’t the nurse educator be one of those? Trust is essential to the student being able to receive what the educator is teaching. Trust establishes relationships where communication is flowing, valued, and reciprocal.
I know what you are saying, “In my already busy schedule, how in the world do I get to know my students this way, and especially now they are all online? Do I need to buy a Rolodex and start interviewing my students one by one?” The answer is “no.” Instead, purpose this next semester to include three practices that foster knowing your students.
Establish an orientation activity
The activity can be face-to-face or online. Give the students four fun questions to answer about themselves on index cards or Word Documents such as “What is the best job you have had?” “Cat or dog lover?” “What are your favorite songs, and why?” “Where is the farthest you have traveled for business or pleasure?” We always ask the hardcore interrogation questions such as birthplace, reasons for choosing nursing, and current residence. These interrogation questions do not give us any new information that we do not already have from the bursar.