All posts by Grace Paul

Onward Nurses!

The New Nursing Student

Dr. Ingrid Simkins

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 

You might be saying to yourself, “I’m just trying to make it through to the end of the semester…I can’t even think that far ahead!”. Small measured goals are certainly a way to assure your immediate success, but every so often pause, reflect and examine a future goal. These goals marked by time are not finite, but instead open to opportunities that present themselves and opportunities you create. However, no matter what direction you are currently headed, remember that as a professional your learning is life-long.

Week 8 – Lifelong Learning | Teaching in a digital world

Perhaps you wish to be a L&D (or insert current desired specialty here) nurse. Then put things in motion to network and shine during that rotation. Ask for those letters of recommendation from your clinical instructors, introduce yourself to the staff and leadership of that unit. Be prepared to be asked this very question in the interview for your dream job.

Your desire to be the best nurse would include keeping current by attending workshops and conferences and to seek certification. As you acclimate and grow in the role you may want to pursue becoming a midwife…again endless opportunities exist.

It is important to formulate some long term goals, then in times that are stressful or attempting to derail your efforts you can refocus and get yourself on track. So moving forward…what are your goals?

The new Graduate Nurse

Dr. Mary Resler

The hardest part of becoming a nurse is over. You have completed a rigorous nursing program; kudos to you! However, the most challenging part of nursing is just beginning. Moving forward after a hard shift can be challenging. After losing a patient that you have spent countless hours helping, moving forward can be challenging. Moving from a high census shift with low nursing staff can be challenging. Moving forward after a code can be challenging.

Georges St-Pierre Quote: “Set your goal and keep moving forward.”

Moving forward from a student nurse to a new graduate nurse to an experienced nurse happens quickly but not without bumps in the road and growing pains. Moving forward is learning from your mistakes or watching others’ mistakes. Moving forward is forgiving those mistakes, learning from them, and becoming a better nurse because of them.

Moving forward is joining a professional nursing organization and participating in it. Moving forward is taking continued education classes. Moving forward is precepting a nursing student or a newly hired nurse. Moving forward is advancing your degree. Moving forward is improving patient outcomes. Moving forward is almost anything but standing still. Which means moving forward is the only direction to go! Remember, nurses are lifelong learners.

The new Nurse Educator

Dr. Grace Paul

Free Career Development Cliparts, Download Free Career Development Cliparts  png images, Free ClipArts on Clipart Library

Nurses indeed must strive to be lifelong learners, whether bedside with patients or in the classroom with students. A great bedside nurse may not be a great instructor, and a great instructor may not be the best nurse. As nursing faculty, we help motivated students who know their chosen profession and want to do their best. Therefore, faculty is expected to be equally vested in their students’ success.  Faculty should be able to help students of different ages, learning styles, needs, and life experience. We must be flexible and adapt to students’ needs.

Inspire your students to be lifelong learners by being one." - #education  #educationquote #teach… | Education quotes, Motivational education quotes,  Education blog

While it is important to learn different ways to help students and develop your role as faculty, it is also important to invest in your career growth. Career development and career growth are different. Career development is short term and career growth is long term. How do you see yourself in three, five, or ten years? What is your career trajectory? What is your path moving forward? If you don’t plan your career goals, you may be stuck for decades. Due to the healthcare industry’s explosive growth, nurses have more choices. You must be deliberate in charting your career goals.

Strategically weaving a nest!

A career trajectory plan keeps you on track. A simple plan like the one below helps us write down what we want to do with our career. Plan strategically. It helps us to keep us energized, focused, and engaged. You can revisit these plans (for example, once a year) to decide whether to continue on or change direction. Your career trajectory can be a combination of vertical and horizontal movements. Vertical movements are promotions within your institution. These are far and few today. Horizontal movements are lateral moves which are more fulfilling, more engaging, make more of an impact, or make more of a difference in people’s lives.  Movement is the key! Good luck!

Career Trajectory Plan

Focus AreaCareer GoalsStrategiesExpected Date of StartDate completedExperience or Evaluation
Professional Development     
Scholarship – Teaching/learning, Research     
Community or Voluntary Service     


The keys to student success!

The New Nursing Student 

Dr. Ingrid Simkins

A recipe for success:

Set your long term goals to a year of completion 2023-2024.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl add:

1 c. positive attitude: This may at times be on backorder, but if you search you will find it. 

1 tsp teamwork: Success tastes the same achieved all alone or in tandem with your peers.

1 TBSP motivation: Remembering why you are here and your dreams helps!

1 c. time management: An essential item in the nursing school/life process. Measure accurately!

1 oz of hope

Stir until well blended. Cover and set in a warm place allowing for Success to rise for 2 years. Bake and serve at pinning. Enjoy!

The new Graduate Nurse

Dr. Mary Resler

Congratulations! As a new graduate nurse you have successfully completed a nursing program and have completed your NCLEX exam. This may seem like the end of the road for education but it is not. Nurses are lifelong learners! Success is keeping current on evidence based practices. Success is participating in policy change. Success is improving your patient outcomes. Success is maintaining your license. Success looks different as a lifelong learner then it does for a nursing student. 

Many new graduate nurses measure success by completing a difficult patient assignment. They measure success by the years they have worked. They measure success by working on a specialty unit. They measure success by catching a medication error. They measure success by favorable patient satisfaction scores. True success as a lifelong learner or new graduate nurse is to never be complacent in your knowledge. Always push yourself to learn by asking questions and continuing in your education. Knowledge is of no use if you do not use it. 

The new Nurse Educator

Dr. Grace Paul

Students have jumped over hoops, taken several exams, sacrificed participating in several occasions, and spent several hours pondering and even working in a hospital environment to know if this is indeed what they want to do with the rest of their lives. They know what their career goal is, and now they are in our classrooms. 

HCC Henderson Association of Nursing Students - Home | Facebook

Once they are in our classroom, they are our responsibility. While there may be several factors connected to student success like age, gender, previous experiences, GPA, etc, these are all non-modifiable factors that we as educators, can do nothing about. What we have in our hands to help these students succeed are the modifiable factors – factors that we as educators can help make a difference in these students’ lives, and allow our students to be successful in their chosen careers. 

There are several modifiable factors that we can use to our advantage for student success. One such factor is responsiveness.  Responsiveness is responding to a student. This can be in the classroom during class. A slight nod, a smile, a positive gesture, direct eye contact or a positive note sent to the student are all ways by which the student feels safe and positive about themselves. Smiling eases the students and makes it easier for students to come forward with questions and be communicative. 

Cartoon boy with positive attitude N28 free image download

As the new nurse educator figures out how things work in the new environment, the curriculum, and the work culture, students are usually quick to recognize that the instructor is new. But the timely response, open communication, a smiling and respectful attitude, and humor in the classroom, makes a huge difference as to how the students accept and respond to the instructor. 

The responsiveness of the instructor makes the students feel loved and cared for, knowing that they are the priority for the instructor. Keep the classroom space non-judgmental, which helps students to focus on the learning. This creates a trusting relationship between the students and the teacher, contributing immensely to the success of the class as a whole and the individual student. 

Responsiveness is also important when corrections have to be made. When a student makes a mistake, and when the mistake is recognized and acknowledged,  use the situation as a learning opportunity. Do not make it punitive. If the student does not learn from the mistake, then it is an opportunity lost. It is important for the educator to provide resources to correct the mistake. 

Corequisite remediation showing signs of success in NC - EducationNC

Another important tool for responsiveness is remediation. Remediation is a powerful tool when it comes to improving test results. It is helpful for the instructor and the student to go through the test, and look for a pattern, and to understand the reasoning behind the right and wrong answers. It is helpful for the student to bring another student to these meetings, as students tend to learn better from their peers rather than from the instructor. 

To summarize, student success is a commitment from the student as well as the educator. There are modifiable and non-modifiable factors when it comes to student success. Responsiveness is one such tool that will help to promote trust, and therefore a positive relationship, which  will help promote student success. 


Embracing Diversity

The New Nursing Student 

Dr. Ingrid Simkins

As we always discuss the first day of nursing school, your first responsibility is to know yourself! Recognize your biases and leave them at the door. If you can’t acknowledge each person for their unique self, other career options are available. You need to treat every person as if they are your most adored member of your family and care for them as you would wish them to be cared for. None of us will be a diversity expert or culturally competent across all cultures, but we all have the capacity to be sensitive to each individual and their needs.

My name is Diversity (a poem)

Dr. Grace Paul

My Name is Diversity

I come in various forms

I come in various shapes

With unique physical attributes

Doesn’t matter, accept me for who I am!

Because I am who I am!

My gender is male, female, either, neither or fluid

I am a gay, lesbian, straight, bi, pan, or asexual

I am a veteran, differently abled, young or old

Doesn’t matter, accept me for who I am!

Because I am who I am!

I come from one race, or a mixture of races

My ethnicity is varied, from any part of the world

Native to the land, or an immigrant

Doesn’t matter, accept me for who I am!

Because I am who I am!

My culture, my food, my customs

My religion, my language, my rituals

Rich, poor, lower, middle, or upper class

Doesn’t matter, accept me for who I am!

Because I am who I am!

Take the time to know me

I am awesome and beautiful

Just the way I am

With uniqueness abound!

Talk to me, listen to me

Look at me, and include me

Respect me for what I am

Because, I am who I am!

I may look and sound different to you

But we can learn from each other

I am not a statistic

To represent diversity

Or inclusion

But an individual no matter

With so much to offer

I matter! Accept me for who I am!

Because I am who I am!

When you accept me for who I am

There is empathy in the world

Prejudices are removed

There is more tolerance

And therefore, less violence

Accept me for who I am!

Because I am who I am!

There is peace, love and understanding

Inspiration, Motivation and Hope

Better decision making all around

A better world for all of us

Do accept me for who I am!

Because I am who I am!

I am understood

I am valued

I am cherished

I am embraced


I am ubiquitous

Because I am who I am!

And my name is Diversity!


The risks you take to be a Nurse!

The New Nursing Student 

Dr. Ingrid Simkins

All who enter nursing school 🏫 are taking a risk…they are rolling the 🎲🎲 and taking the gamble 🎰 that this profession they are seeking will be the fulfillment of a dream, a second career that brings satisfaction, an opportunity to make a difference and have a sense of purpose all while being able to provide for their family. The years of preparation that have led you to this moment may have felt akin to the butterflies you get in your stomach as you slowly make your way to the top of the rollercoaster🎢. You know what to expect, you tell yourself, you have assessed the situation, you have counted the number of hills, twists, and drops. You have researched the speed of this ride (2 years) and you know at the end will be the reward of your efforts as you reach your targeted goals 🎯

Calculated risks are still risks. What I have assessed in the new nursing student however, are those new areas of vulnerability that present themselves. You were an expert student, but now you are a novice again. You are learning new skills 💉, being watched and evaluated as you prove your knowledge and safe practices 💊 before you go off to clinical 🏥. You demonstrate your vulnerability when responding to the instructor’s questions, knowing you are taking the risk you may be incorrect or a skills check may not go as planned. You take a risk that the members in your group project will carry their weight and meet the deadlines so as to not poorly impact your grade. You take risks in forming new relationships with the people you will spend more time with than even some of your family members. 

In my humble opinion, the truly successful nursing students are the ones that take the opportunity to embrace risks even when there’s a chance of failure. They challenge themselves with new ways to process information through varied teaching, learning, and testing strategies. Successful students learn to trust their peers, teachers, and instincts. The most important risks one can take are those of self-evaluation and reflection; it is not always easy but having the confidence, humility, and wisdom to adapt and evolve will be what truly guides you on your path to success 🎓. 

The new Graduate Nurse

Dr. Mary Resler

I have to admit I am not much of a risk taker. I have lived a life of playing it safe and being conservative. However when taking care of patients and working in healthcare you are putting yourself at risk daily. There are policies and procedures that help support and prevent high risk situations.  There are standards of practice that you learn and test to, but nothing can quite prepare you for the realities of patient care. 

Health Care Clipart Nursing Hospital Healthcare Nurse and | Etsy Denmark

The worldwide pandemic has been a perfect example of the type of risks you are faced with as a nurse. The recent news coverage of the nurse who made a catastrophic medication error is another example of risk. These examples are not isolated events, they happen all the time. It is important as a new nurse that you hold to the standards of care and policies and procedures that are in place to help protect you and your patients from unnecessary risk.

The new Nurse Educator

Dr. Grace Paul

Taking risks can be exciting and fun to some, while it is terrifying for others. While taking on the role of a new nurse educator, there is fear and anxiety, there is this enormous expectation that is placed on the educator – the fear that we don’t know everything, the fear that the students may ask something and we will draw a blank! But unless we take that risk, we don’t know what it will be like, or if we will be successful. It is only when we take that plunge, we will know what is out there! Innovation comes from taking risks. As educators, if we don’t take the risk and accept challenges, we won’t know what we are capable of, and how we may effectively change the world. 

With the COVID pandemic, educators who have never taught outside of the classroom, overnight became great virtual educators. Educators used creativity and innovation to teach a hands-on nursing curriculum into a completely online modality. Tech companies came up with so many engaging platforms that were easy to incorporate into the online world. From taking the roll call, to teaching theory as well as lab classes, grading, tutoring all were changed into a virtual reality. As they say necessity is the mother of invention and innovation. That first step is terrifying, moving out of our comfort zone is not pleasant, but once we take that step, we will take that next step, and the next and so on.

Taking risks leads to positive changes, and we learn from our failures. The more risks we take, we realize that there are more possibilities out there, and there is purpose in life. There is definitely fear involved while taking risks. And while some fear is healthy, and makes us think of all the sides related to the risk, we have to get beyond the fear and take the chance. We won’t know the outcome unless we try it!


To be an exceptional Nurse: Growth as a mindset

The New Nursing Student 🌳

Dr. Ingrid Simkins

As a student begins their new journey in nursing school there is a mindset that, if adopted, can garner student success and that is the ‘bloom where you are planted’ philosophy. This landscape called nursing school provides soil that is rich, fertile, and just begging for a new seedling to take root. The difference between that seedling bearing fruit and just existing is growth. 

🌳Growth, such a positive word, but one that also comes with a set of growing pains. Perhaps before nursing school classroom success took minimal effort, was a solo mission, and came with the reinforcement of an “A” to validate your contributions…what could be painful about that? Nothing at all! However, you are now in a new environment, one where the conditions are unfamiliar and success now comes with hours of practice, intentional effort, potential setbacks, and opportunities to receive constructive feedback that may not feel as good as that “A”. However, you persevere and realize that when you lean on those around you in a give and take dichotomy, your growth is less of a struggle.🌳

🌳Wherever you are in the nursing program right now, I ask you to take a moment and reflect upon your personal growth. Where are you now compared to that first day of nursing school? The end of the first semester? Whenever you feel doubt in yourself or your growth think about the following…

The New Graduate Nurse🌳

Dr. Mary Resler

As a new graduate nurse the career field is broad. It is like a blank canvas that only you as a nurse have the power to control the end products. In order to get there a lot of growth takes place. Growth in the profession can be positive and challenging at the same time.

One of my favorite quotes is “there is no growth in comfort and, there is no comfort in growth.“ 

If we are not growing then we are standing still. 

As a nurse you must be prepared for lifelong education. As evidence-based practice continues and new medical advances take place the nurse must continue to educate themselves to be the best for their patients. Many new graduate nurses feel a sense of relief and accomplishment when they pass the nursing program and the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. Although the education piece may have been accomplished, the learning and growing – is just a beginning.

The New Nurse Educator🌳

Dr. Grace Paul

🌳All great students are not great test takers, and all great nurses were not great test takers. Likewise, all great bedside nurses are not necessarily the best educators! I started out as a community health nurse in India. The Vellore Christian Medical College and Hospital Nursing College has adopted quite a few villages around, and community health nurses worked alongside the government workers for the area. As a community health nurse, I was responsible for one village of about roughly 1000 people. As the College of Nursing Community Health Nurse (CONCH), among my many responsibilities, I also had 2-4 students assigned to me for their community health experience.   🌳

I still remember my first two students who were assigned to me. I was feeling awkward inside, since I was myself new in the role of a community health nurse, and then to have to be a role model to these two students! I was scared that I might say something wrong! Just like when I was a student, I used to have nightmares that I had slept through my alarm, and the student had arrived and was searching for me, and that I lost all the assignments that were submitted to me! Students rarely realize that as a new instructor, we are quite vulnerable too. But for the most part, we try to put on a brave face, because we don’t want to lose our credibility! We want the students to have a good experience! I, of course, grew out of those nightmares in a few months. 

Positive Growth Quotes. QuotesGram

🌳As a novice educator, there are so many qualities that need to be cared for, tended to, and developed. With the pandemic, all of us have evolved and grown to the extent that even we did not think we were capable of! That is what humans do, we rise to the occasion, when we are challenged. And so, it is good to keep ourselves  challenged, so that we can learn new things, keep our mind active, and although we may grow older, we can still be relevant when younger generations of students come to us.

 🌳As  an educator, we need to be relevant, and current, and learn the ways our students learn, so that we can be effective in our role as educators! We have to continually reflect on our own teaching philosophies, build on creating a trusting relationship with students, where students are able to think critically, and feel free to ask questions. Teaching a student to think critically is a skill that educators must develop. Every student learns differently, and as educators, we must meet them at their level. The pandemic has taught us the importance of self care, and this goes both ways. Just as food and rest are necessary for our physical bodies, positive thoughts, reflection or meditation are necessary for our souls!🌳

Best Growth Quotes | Readershook

To be an Exceptional Nurse!

💖 The New Nursing Student

Dr. Ingrid Simkins

We take a moment to go around the room and you share your name, a personal detail or two and then why you chose nursing as your profession. We discover among the array of responses some are here finally following through on a childhood dream, some are exploring a second career, or for some this is a legacy and you will be the third generation of nurses in your family. We discover some were called to the profession as they reflect on their experiences within the healthcare system. Whether it was their own health issue or that of someone they loved, a nurse stood out and shaped the person they were to become. For some, this is a desire to give back to others as the nurse did for them and for others a desire to never be the nurse they experienced. Whatever the reason…you are here!💖

In my role as Residential Nursing faculty I have the privilege of witnessing all of those “first ”experiences. Being there the first day as you walk into the classroom in your neatly pressed uniform and brand new shoes, I observe how your face beams with a blend of excitement and a touch of anxiety as you begin this new journey. I watch as you enter the classroom and claim your space for the next 16 weeks, unpacking your computers and colorful binders with coordinating pen sets. I notice the array of caffeinated beverages that you stopped to purchase on the way to campus this morning as a “treat to celebrate this occasion”. You settle in and class begins.💖

Time moves on and you become inundated with assignments, readings, care plans, exams, group projects, lab skills, skills check-off, clinical experiences, simulations, virtual simulations and this is just the first six weeks. The uniforms are now slightly wrinkled-”who has time to iron”, the caffeine a necessity-”there is no time to sleep”, and the beaming light on those faces a few watts dimmer because reality has set in…the reality of what nursing is and the responsibility you carry…you realize this because you care… because you have heart💖. It is in these moments that I witness a new set of firsts and see the heart you have to succeed.

“Caring is the essence of nursing.” —Jean Watson

💖. This may be the first time you had to rely on someone to help balance your life at home. The first time you realize you are not alone on this journey and instead of competitors for a seat in the program, you are working as a team to accomplish your mutual goals. The first time you realize that you are going through all of this because someone’s life may depend on it one day, and the first time you realize and say out loud, “I know this is what I meant to do”!.  

A nursing instructor can teach you the textbook content and the nursing skills, but what we can’t teach is caring. We can develop and nurture it, but it has to be there in the first place. So just remember as we approach midterms and your GPA may no longer be perfect, call upon that reason that brought you here. This is hard…but you will be successful and reach your goals because you have heart.💖  

💖New Graduate Nurse

Dr. Mary Resler

As a new graduate nurse the opportunities are endless. You have hundreds of options for growth and education. The one thing a new graduate nurse doesn’t have is experience. They have had hundreds of clinical hours following a nurse, learning from a mentor, practicing the skills of the profession, and geeking out over cool medical diagnoses. There is little an educator can do to prepare students for the feelings they will experience going into the profession. It can be very stressful and full of emotions. The lack of confidence is as palpable as a radial pulse in an athlete. This is completely normal, do not panic. 💖

“They may forget your name but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

The heart of a nurse is more like a calling. The profession is a series of degrees and examinations. Almost anyone can endure nursing school and become a registered nurse. The difference is in having a ‘job’ versus having a ‘profession.’ This concept can be challenging to understand. You can teach anyone the skills and responsibilities that a nurse is accountable for. An educator cannot teach a nurse how to care; this is the calling part of the profession.💖

There was a time in my life that I was not sure I could do the tasks and skills needed to be a nurse. I was not sure if I could complete the program. I was not sure if I was smart enough or capable of doing the job responsibilities. On my first clinical day, I walked in to take care of an elderly patient who could not take care of themselves. At that moment, my heart and mind connected, and I knew that taking care of patients would be my calling. My confidence grew over time as will yours. My nurse’s heart grew too. 💖

New Nurse Educator 💖

Dr. Grace Paul

Growing up, I never wanted to be a teacher! I would say, “My voice is too soft, and no one will listen to me.” Fast forward to nursing school, I realized that a soft voice is the least of the problem! What is essential is the passion – the heart, the ability to adapt to the changing demands of the classroom, the nursing student, and connecting to the learners.

Students can smell a new instructor from a mile away. The academic qualifications and recent experience in healthcare are essential. But, the qualities of kindness, compassion, and understanding, while at the same time being firm and consistent, is priceless. Educators must have a high bar for students to achieve and, at the same time, give the support necessary. Do not bring down the bar so that you can be “popular” with students. Students must be held accountable for achieving their course objectives. 💖

“Let us never consider ourselves finished, nurses. We must be learning all of our lives.” —Florence Nightingale

Students are more engaged when they acknowledge the students when they participate in class, have eye contact, add humor, show genuine happiness and enthusiasm when they perform better. These are behaviors that let the student know that you care. There can be no learning if there is no connection between the educator and the students. 💖

In the educator and student relationship, both the educator and the students are learners. The best teachers aim for every student to be successful, and that starts with the heart – Being approachable, being available, and being kind!💖