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A website for young nurses and the young at heart in Aotearoa

Undergraduate Nursing Lecturer

Jenny Beale

I began my nursing in the late 1970s during the movement between hospital based nursing and Polytechnic based nursing education.  I graduated from Auckland Institute of Technology (ATI) with a diploma in nursing and began work in a surgical ward at Auckland Hospital.  I then moved on to gain experience in Christchurch where I enjoyed my work as an RN in a paediatric unit and then later in a rehabilitation centre in England. 

On my return to New Zealand I decided to meet with my head of school to see what I needed to enter nursing education.  I felt at the time that I might be able to support students in their learning and was keen to take an active approach in the direction of nursing education.   I was employed with the view that I would undertake post graduate study and that I would be employed on a temporary contract.  My beginnings in teaching were about having the courage to be `open’ and honest with students and this is one of the attributes I view as 'key’ to my career.  I thrive on how I might help students create meaning in their learning and there is nothing more exciting than a student who can tell you what makes a difference in their practice.  I strongly believe that I have as much to learn from others as they have from me and so I see the role as a reciprocated process of learning.

Some of the learning gained over time included enrolling and passing a BA in education and management at Auckland University.  At that time, extramural education was offered for post-grad studies in nursing however, I was not sufficiently disciplined to undertake such papers.  I achieved well in my undergrad studies, surprisingly, and so the next step of undertaking my `masters’ seemed a natural progression.  I graduated with first class honours with a thesis tilted `Vulnerable bodies: student nurses early experiences of intimate patient bodily care’.

Whilst the criteria for entering nursing education differed in my early beginnings, for those entering nursing education today it is expected that you would be undertaking post graduate study with a view to having completed/near completed a Masters in nursing/education.  Some of the attributes that enable a transition between practice and education is the ability to support students in the learning process.  My view of student learning is that the nursing education involves the registered nurses teaching students the `practices’ of nursing and that nurse educators teach students the understanding, the `thinking’ of nursing.  Whilst a range of nursing experience is useful it is not essential if you understand the role of the nurse educator and the processes of learning.  Being able to listen, ask relevant questions, challenge, motivate to seek further information, critique, are key attributes of a nurse educator.