An experience of excellence in nursing education.MY HEART RACED AS I TORE OPEN THE LARGE ENVELOPE. My bard work had paid off. I was really going to attend the school of nursing at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), and I was admitted into the honors program. Now I am in my senior year and will be graduating in December. What an honor it is to know that the nursing education I have received has been provided by a program twice recognized by the NLN as a Center of Excellence.
What distinguishes IUPUI as a Center of Excellence? Just think about the experiences we have in the simulation lab. Each simulation requires us to use our critical thinking skills to provide care to our patients. Each simulation is unique to our current course of study. We take on assigned roles. We are not penalized for making a mistake. And after each session, we are able to watch what happened during the simulation and we debrief--we discuss what was good, what could be improved, and ways to improve. Simulation is essential to our education and a great way to learn by doing.
Being in the honors program has given me the opportunity to take part in nursing research and prepare for a future as a nurse leader. For my research project, with the guidance of my professor, I am researching the correlation of social support and parental empowerment in parents of children with epilepsy who have significant learning problems. Last March, we submitted a grant application for the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program at IUPUI. This prepared us to organize and submit research grants in the future.
The process of nursing research first required determining a problem statement and searching the literature for research articles relevant to my topic. With this information, I was able to write the purpose of my research and why it is important, what will be done with the information obtained, and the methodology I would be using. My professor will be able to use data from my research to develop interventions that will help parents become more successful in managing their children's disease. I have always loved to find ways to improve current methods. Being a part of this research has opened up different avenues for exploration.
At the end of each semester, we are given the opportunity to evaluate our classes. Our professors convey how much it matters to them that students learn and understand the content, and I know that they use student feedback to continually improve the program. For example, during our fifth semester--the toughest semester, we get our shoes wet having to apply the concepts we are taught--several students felt that the exam on fluids, electrolytes, and the endocrine system was too complex and required an understanding of too much information. In our course evaluations, we stated that this test could be broken down into smaller, more frequent exams, giving students more time to study and a better opportunity to understand all the concepts.
Evidently, our professor understood our point of view. I have spoken to students currently in their fifth semester who are now given smaller, more frequent exams. These students are doing better and understanding more. It is especially nice to know that our opinion matters.
Excellence is fostered continuously at Indiana University School of Nursing. It is evident in the simulations we are given, the focus on nursing research, and the abundance of opportunities available for students. It is particularly evident in the faculty who work so hard to improve their classes and provide a quality education to students.
TUESDAY MAJORS will graduate with honors in December 2011 with a baccalaureate degree in nursing from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. She plans to stay in emergency services, where she currently works as a student, and hopes to return to Indiana University School of Nursing for graduate education some time in the future. Her essay was the winning entry in the fourth annual student writing competition for the NLN Centers of Excellence program. For more information about NLN Recognition Programs, visit www.nln.org/recognitionprograms/index.htm.