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Shaping a new era of nurses

An innovative program that assists clinical educators to tailor their teaching to individual learning needs is shaping a new era of nurses at Mater Health Services.

The Clinical Teaching and Learning Program for Educators and Facilitators was introduced by the Mater Education Centre in February 2009.

The program is an 18 week formalised education unit open to all registered nurses and midwives who are keen to develop in an educational capacity. It is now in the process of being accredited by the Australian Catholic University as part of a Masters of Health Science (Clinical Education) qualification.

Mater Education Centre Co-ordinator Katherine Jackman, who developed the program, says it was born out of an acknowledgement that clinical education for nurses needs to be flexible and attentive to individual needs whilst delivering a standardised level of requirements.

“Our goal is to empower educators and facilitators to deliver best educational practice within a clinical setting,” Ms Jackman explained.

“As educators, we know that nurses and midwives have many different learning styles and their areas have many different educational needs,” she said.

She added, “Mater acknowledges that educators and facilitators need support as well, so the MEC developed useful tools such as Learning Needs Analysis, Lesson Plans, Educational Plans, and Evaluation Templates that are accessible via our website which they can use during and after the program and tailor to suit their area.”

In its first year the program was completed by 18 nurses from throughout the Mater campus.

The program incorporates lectures and discussions, full day workshops and practical-setting assessment.

All participants in the program have reported it to be relevant and useful to their work and all participants said it improved their confidence and competence in assessing.

According to Ms Jackman Mater’s development of the program has been an interesting journey.

“Historically, in some areas there had been a nursing culture of ‘sink or swim’—the nurse experienced trial and error learning,” she explained.

“We want to make learning less trial and error, more evidence based from an educational perspective and adopt a standardised approach.”

“Our goal is to empower educators to share their knowledge freely to achieve optimum learning outcomes, make it evidence based and make the lifelong learning journey enjoyable,” Ms Jackman said.

Debbie Crimp, Matthew Payne and Katherine Jackman

Debbie Crimp, Matthew Payne and Katherine Jackman

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