Fort Hays State University is a public university that serves an immediate community of 20,000 people and a regional population of 400,000 in western Kansas. The nursing program at this institution offers a variety of degrees in the health field, including a BS in Nursing (Welcome to FHSU, 2009). The demographics of full-time students who attend this university are about 2,300 woman and 1,883 men (undergraduate) and 228 women and 141 men (graduate). Nearly 65% of the students are white, and about 80% live in college-owned or college-affiliated housing.
Entering students typically score between 18 (25th percentile) and 24 (75th percentile) on the ACT, so they tend to have average to above-average academic ability (Common Data Set, 2009). In a recent interview, Professor Rawls and Professor Ingalls (pseudonyms), two nursing educators at FHSU, indicated that the primary need of the students in the program is to serve an increasingly diverse population of patients in a variety of health care settings.
They both indicated that there are several ways that the faculty in the nursing program address this need, including implementing the use of the latest technology in their courses, and using a variety of teaching strategies to address learner needs (P. Rawls and P. Ingalls, personal communication, June 19, 2009). Professor Rawls teaches NURS 320 – Health Care Ethics – which is offered in the first semester of the nursing program. Because this is an introductory course, Professor Rawls philosophy is to make the course as student-friendly as possible, including opportunities for students to work together and independently.
According to her syllabus, her teaching strategies include group discussions, small group work, worksheets and journaling, online discussions, videos, and independent studies (Health Care Ethics syllabus, 2009). Professor Ingalls teaches NURS 330 – Older Adult and the Family in Retirement – which is offered in the second semester of the nursing program. Professor Ingalls believes it is most important for the learners to understand the life-span nature of nursing, that good nursing care is critical from birth to death.
She also strives to demonstrate that nursing does not simply involve the care of the patient, but the patient’s family as well. She also uses a variety of instructional strategies to meet student needs, including team-teaching, lectures, videos, guest speakers, computer based assignments, discussion of case study and research articles, and the use of technology (Older Adult syllabus, 2009). Both of these instructors attempt to make their course syllabi student-centered by providing a topical outline, so that students know what they will be studying.
However, two modifications in particular would make their syllabi stronger. First, the instructors did not include course policies in their syllabi. Students would find it helpful to know what the course expectations are, rather than merely learning of the subjects they will be studying. Second, instructors might include specific assignments that students will be expected to complete. This addition would allow students to allot adequate time to the assignment and to acquire any special materials they would need.
References Common Data Set (2009). Retrieved June 19, 2009 from http://www. fhsu. edu/about/cds/cds2008-2009. html. NURS 320 Health Care Ethics syllabus. Retrieved June 19, 2009 from http://www. fhsu. edu/syllabus/nurs/kkriffel/nurs320ockr-S09. pdf. NURS 330 Older Adult and the Family in Retirement syllabus. Retrieved June 19, 2009 from http://www. fhsu. edu/syllabus/nurs/csinsley/nurs330occi-S09. pdf. Welcome to Fort Hays State University (2009). Retrieved June 19, 2009 from http://www. fhsu. edu/nursing/.
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