Nurse Educator Engagement in Local Community
Updated: May 22, 2020
Competency and Spirit of Inquiry
Compositions of positive characteristics that compliment both inherent and acquired skills are often identifiable within a nursing leader; how these strengths are utilized, determines their effectiveness. As nurse educators, our roles involve maintaining and maturing our competency, which acts as the basis for the personal and professional growth of our nursing ways of knowing. However, growth is not only personal, it is also communal. An important attribute of a nurse educator is found within our ability to continuously assess and evaluate our own competency, while remaining true to scholarship. The evolution from clinical nurse to educator draws from the development of our knowledge and skills (knowing-how) and nursing theory (knowing-that) to enrich our ongoing development and civic contribution.
While expanding your competency and contributing to the growth of others, learn how to identify and assess the concerns and assets of your own local community. If you haven’t already, start by reviewing local assessments and identify issues for action. Recognize how your strengths can be put to good use by getting involved and supporting gaps that need narrowing and resources that need building. Engage yourself with community health assessments/needs assessments, which are routinely conducted by your community organizations. These assessments contain gathered data and calculated resources to support a better understanding of the strengths and deficits of your community and can often be easily found online.
Data Collection and Tracking
All nurses should be collecting and tracking data. This is how we improve our own practice and contribute to broader care efforts. As we know, delivery systems affect how care is provided and how it is received. Plans need to be developed within local communities, as well as on national and global fronts, to create specific strategies to bridge existing gaps in care and coverage. In striving to amend deficits, we must understand how they exist in the first place and build communities of populations set on tackling these issues together. We must work to absolve deficits by strengthening our leadership skills as we practice to the fullest extent of our abilities. Your ways of knowing how to nurse are developed throughout your nursing career and can be honed through work experience, mentorship, continued education, and allowing yourself to see nursing practice in a larger capacity beyond the bedside. Your commitment to lifelong learning, spirit of inquiry, and ongoing scholarship fosters successful development, as your strengths evolve with changing healthcare needs and contribute to care within your community and global domains.
Education Today in Your Community
Consider how you can contribute to the education needs of your community every day, which starts with being aware and involved in your daily interactions. Recently, Heather was browsing a local wellness store and mindfully present with the fresh woodsy and earthy aromas that mingled with the essential oils suspended in the room. She noticed two women having a focused conversation on local community needs, which expanded to health considerations as she approached closer while waiting in line to purchase the unique items she found while exploring. The welcoming vibe of the women and Heather's passion to be involved, quickly transitioned the conversation to a collaborative discussion on wellness. By the end, Heather learned that she was engaged with the store owner and was asked to come talk for a local group that meets in their education space in support of community wellness. This was a bright, unexpected opportunity to observe and then become involved with wellness efforts happening right around her. Education shouldn't only happen in the classroom and on the floor. With the help of a mindful eye, you will see there are so many ways to engage and help others. Share responsibly and respectfully to contribute to the world around you. Through social media, on a play-date, at a family gathering, while shopping, wherever, just be involved!
Let us think more involved and be more involved, so that today and tomorrow we assemble, expend, and enable the larger picture to which we are a part of to flourish with the support of our joined hands.
Continued reading outside of Ignite...
Pause, Reflect, and Plan:
Recognize resources already available.
Identify resources to be developed.
Establish how to work with what you have and with what you need.