Junior Faculty Teaching Fellow Spotlight: Abby Parish
I teach in Vanderbilt’s graduate nursing program, instructing students who are Registered Nurses who are studying to become primary care nurse practitioners. I coordinate pharamacology, clinical pracitica, and mental health in primary care courses. My philosophy of teaching is based loosely on Margaret A. Newman’s nursing theory “Health as Expanding Consciousness” wherein people are viewed as fluctuating between health and illness in a pattern that is unique to them.
“I appreciate the notion that it is not my job to ‘fix’ students’ lack of knowledge, but to serve as facilitator for students’ growth and search for meaning.”
The role of the nurse is to assist patients whose patterns are disrupted or disordered by helping the person find meaning in their pattern (rather than correcting or “fixing” the pattern). I’ve found adapting this model of nurse/patient to educator/student to be useful for my faculty practice; students arrive with a lack of knowledge in the nursing domain, but they also bring a set of unique assets and life experiences. My role as educator is to provide learning opportunities that assist students in connecting with their strengths to build knowledge that will inform their future professional lives. I appreciate the notion that it is not my job to “fix” students’ lack of knowledge, but to serve as facilitator for students’ growth and search for meaning. My activities inside and outside the classroom aim to encourage and guide students on their unique paths to knowledge and meaning. I aspire to treat students with kindness and respect that acknowledges their individual value, even when their patterns are more disordered. My instructional design seeks to create safe places for knowledge acquisition through clarity of information and expectations. Perhaps most of all, I hope to model a spirit of lifelong learning in order to encourage students’ growth beyond their time in my classroom.