Alice R. Swan, associate dean of nursing at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, talks about a typical nursing faculty job. She discusses why she chose nursing education as a career, what a typical workday is like, and how her role fits into the bigger healthcare picture.
Q: What's a typical workday like for a nursing faculty member?
A typical day would be a classroom day or a clinical day. At community health sites, acute care sites or shelters, faculty must make sure the students are prepared for each situation, are able to make good observations and give appropriate care to assure patient safety and prevent complications. Faculty also give students feedback to help them process their clinical experiences to facilitate their thinking like a nurse. Guidance by faculty helps students to learn about the systems of care.
Q: How does the nursing faculty role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?
Healthcare is going through a really dynamic change. Some people don't have access to care or to good quality care and others incur a lot of costs. Faculty are working with students in all settings to prepare students for future practice. To do that, they reflect on the trends. What will nurses do differently in 2009 and beyond?
Q: Who do nursing professionals interact with during the course of the day?
Nursing professors interact with colleagues in nursing as well as other departments at the college, but our primary focus is on students.
Q: Why do people become professors of nursing?
Professors are not necessarily paid as much as people in the work world. Most faculty choose this role because they believe in the profession and want to have an impact and shape the future.
Q: What do you like about your work?
There's nothing more satisfying than seeing the graduates go across the stage, knowing that you have given them a real gift in their education and that they're going to go out and be excellent nurses.