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Unbound Stories: Nurse Educator

Jessica D. PhD, APRN, CNE, CHSE

Assistant Professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Director of Education, Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas

22 Years In Nursing

What is the best part of your job?
The best part of being a nurse educator is using simulation to facilitate nursing student’s successful journey through the nursing program. The second-best part of my job is educating faculty to effectively use simulation as a learning strategy.

Most challenging?

Remembering my role is that of a facilitator or guide on the side and not a sage on the stage. During debrief, it can be difficult to use silence and Socratic questioning to facilitate nursing students’ reflection on thinking in simulation. As an example, a nurse educator who is a sage on the stage is a lecturer whose focus is to deliver content. The students’ role is to take in information. The delivery of content might be through lecture with a power point. Student input in a lecture context is clarifying understanding by asking if students have questions; not their thoughts. There may or may not be questions. This is passive learning. In contrast, a guide on the side is a nurse educator whose role is secondary. The nurse educator facilitates students’ learning by encouraging discussion, interaction, and feedback from students about their thinking. Examples are problem-based learning, team based learning, and simulation learning where students must read content at home then come to class and work in groups to solve problems. This is active learning.In debrief, a nurse educator who lectures to the group does not engage students in active learning or in reflection on thinking. The students are not guided through thinking processes to discover their frames. So, it has been a challenge for me to sit back and facilitate students’ reflections on their thinking in simulation. It is easy to fall prey to telling them about this or that action.

Advice for nursing students?

Nursing students may stress out and experience anxiety. Sometimes it can get the best of the best students. When I see this I remind the nursing students: You are smart! You do have the ability to think! You got this! Sometimes students just need encouragement. Also, I advise our nursing students to seek out our BSN Program Facilitator whose focus is to offer study groups, help student with time management, test-taking skills, and other supportive resources.

Advice for those who wish to become a nurse?

Be sure, then be committed to your goal.


In my role as the Director of Education at the Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas, I see lots of aha moments for students in simulation. Some of those moments occur during our Collaborative Mock Codes when nursing students work with medical residents. Each discipline has the opportunity to experience being valued as a team member. The collaborative codes are one of the simulations our nursing and medical residents value the most.

About the Unbound Stories

By sharing stories from a diverse group of students, educators, and medical librarians, Unbound Stories provides a platform for community and discovery. We welcome you to share your thoughts and experiences while studying or working in the nursing and medical communities.


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