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Skyscape Blog

Reality in the New Year

Posted by Nursing Educator on Jan 8, 2019 9:53:57 AM


Authored by:

Cherie Rebar, PhD, MBA, RN, COI

Nicole Heimgartner, DNP, RN, COI

Carolyn Gersch, PhD, RN, CNE


Welcome to 2019! Tis the season to make resolutions, set goals, and start the new year off with zest. Chances are, however, if you were reading this same edition next week, the resolutions may have been broken, the goals may seem overwhelming, and the zest has been replaced with “back to the grind”.

As nurse educators, we expect much of our students, and in turn, we expect much of ourselves. However, we can overextend ourselves with expectations. Soon, our calendars are booked, and our brains and bodies are on the go with such fury that we burn down and burn out before we have a chance to succeed in seeing our resolutions and our goals through to completion. It becomes easier to abandon ship than to stay the course, and just like that…we are back to the grind, and the zest of the new year is gone.

So then, how do we capture the best of both worlds, where we make steady, realistic and meaningful positive changes, while functioning in our day-to-day environment? The answer lies in reality. As we coach our students to plan ahead and to study consistently every day, we must take our own advice and plan realistically  to accomplish something daily toward our aspirations.

Thriving in Chaos

Improving ourselves, the way we teach, or the direction of our nursing programs means change, yet most people think of change as chaotic, difficult, time-consuming, and possibly overwhelming. Although change can be all of these things, planned change (chaos) can move us toward the outcomes we desire. 

You cannot have change without chaos at some level. Chaos means change is occurring.  Change disrupts order, stability, and one’s own comfort zone, throwing the individual into a state of chaos.  Today’s world is already chaotic. A chaotic individual interacting with a chaotic world can be overwhelming, and this is why so many people give up quickly on their resolutions and goals.

Effective change toward positive outcomes takes planning.  Sister Callista Roy’s Adaptation Model of Learning can be used to frame the change that we experience as people, and as educators. It is important for us to realistically plan effectively in all of Roy’s modes so that we not only survive the change process…we thrive because of it. This requires purposefully planning physiologically, with a mind towards preservation of self-concept, thinking realistically about our individual and team role functions, and where interdependence is needed to sustain ourselves during the change process.  

Remember, chaos is good!  Chaos means change is occurring, and that is what we said we wanted when we zestfully created our resolutions and goals for the new year! 

Whether it is your nature to love or hate it, the reality of our profession is grounded in the inevitable nature of change. How can we look to the future to incorporate needed change while staying steady in the present tense? It’s the million-dollar question in nursing education!


We already know that change is again on the horizon for nursing education. NextGen NCLEX and the mystery that surrounds this process is all the buzz! While many say that they “know” NextGen and what is coming, the truth is that no one knows exactly what this type of testing will look like. It may feel like chaos, but we do have information provided by NCSBN to know for sure that NextGen is rooted in evaluation of clinical judgment. If we are teaching with our focus on clinical judgment, then we are already looking to the future and we will be able to adapt when change comes our way. However, if we have been slow to incorporate teaching strategies that empower the learner and push the development of clinical judgement, then now is the time to make plans for change. Introduce one or two new teaching strategies into your educational practice. Consider ways to incorporate systems thinking into your assignments, as this will help students gain a broader perspective of care that helps to shape clinical judgment. Small, planned, purposeful changes can make huge impacts in nursing education.


Reflect on your teaching and assess areas for growth. Accept that change will undoubtedly come. Make small but meaningful changes in your practice. Continue to embrace the reality of our profession that thrives in the midst of change, and don’t forget to take care of yourself during the process. Keep your resolutions and goals at the forefront of your mind, and the zest that you bring to January will last much longer than just a few weeks into the new year. Here’s to a happy, healthy, productive 2019!!


© 2019 Connect:RN2ED


Topics: student, nursing educator, New Year, positive outcomes, reality, Change, Chaotic, NextGen, Resolutions, Goals

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