It's the start of semester - my second favourite time of the year (the first being graduation as I love seeing the students walk proudly across the podium to celebrate their achievements). I met with three of my dissertation students to get to know them a bit, discuss expectations (theirs and mine) and to work out how we can work together (and individually) to achieve their ambitions (they all want to achieve first class Honours degrees, and more importantly they are very clear that they want to make a difference to patient care). I always come away from these kinds of sessions feeling enthused and motivated - firstly, the women that I met are all seriously focused on achieving all they can and to enhancing care. Secondly, as a teacher I learn something from my students whenever I come into contact with them. The three of them are all going to be exploring very different subjects and I know that the learning journey for us all will be fulfilling and rewarding.
As a consequence of this meeting, I reflected (again!) on the issues surrounding poor care and the 'blame' that is sometimes laid at the door of pre-registration nursing education. Without going into the latter issue again (although I am sure that I will touch on it again as I am about to be getting involved in some interesting work around values-based selection of students), I am very interested in what sometimes happens when nurses have been in particular practice situations for a period of time. Do they really change their outlook and their approach to care? Do they move on from areas where poorer care is experienced thus leaving gaps where their knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment once were? Is poor care really related to their education, and have we simply not prepared them for what's ahead (not what I have experienced and the feedback that I regularly get about the students I know does not reflect this latter point). I know there are multiple arguments, theories, views on why poor care happens (and I have highlighted some of these in previous posting), but I remain baffled by the reports and the evidence that seems to demonstrate that sometimes nurses do not give the care that they should.
One of my goals as an educator is to provide a level of inspiration that students can hold onto and improve as they make their way into nursing practice as qualified practitioners. I know that my colleagues do the same. The photo is one of mine - a beautiful sunset over the Basin in Montrose - an image to reflect inspiration and what I believe is a need to continually work towards improving role modelling behaviours as educators and leaders in practice.