Conference Brings Nursing Educators Together
This summer, Southern hosted the Seventh-day Adventist Nurse Educators Conference, exploring the theme of “Transforming Adventist Nursing Education: Theory to Practice.” Sixty-two nurse educators—a record number—attended the three-day conference from eight Adventist colleges and universities: Andrews, Loma Linda, Oakwood, Southern, Southwestern, Union, and Washington.
Since the late ’90s, various Adventist universities have hosted the event for nurse educators, helping them to be more effective teachers by continuing to strengthen their collaborative and teaching skills. This year was the third time that Southern’s School of Nursing has hosted the conference. Barbara James, PhD, dean of nursing, and her team planned this event to be on par with any major professional nurse educators conference. The event featured peer-reviewed podium presentations and, for the first time, poster presentations.
“It’s one thing to get together, socialize, and network like at past conferences, but now we have expanded the professional involvement by including posters and a nationally known guest speaker,” James said. “We were not disappointed with the results of this new conference structure.”
Patricia Jones, PhD, and Edelweiss Ramal, PhD, of Loma Linda University presented the keynote address titled “A Distinctive Framework for Adventist Nursing,” followed by James, who had participated in the research and then applied it by developing a “Southern-specific” framework. This framework, which addresses the question of what makes Adventist nursing education distinctive, was designed as an option for existing or developing Adventist nursing programs globally to adopt.
In fact, in 2016 Southern’s School of Nursing faculty adapted and implemented the framework, calling it “Southern’s SDA Framework for Nursing Education Practice.” When applying this model in courses, James hopes to emphasize to students the core components: to be caring, connecting, and empowering. The model serves to assist professors in helping students view their patients holistically, as Christ would see each individual.
“Sharing this theoretical idea and showing how the framework can be applied was a very exciting part of the conference,” James said.
For many, a highlight of the conference was a popular guest speaker, Linda Caputi, EdD, author and nurse educator who presented “Teach Students to Think Like a Nurse.” Caputi’s work has spanned more than 25 years of research and teaching experience, and she has presented her findings to nursing programs across the country. She has been awarded many times for her research. An additional 38 nursing professionals from the community joined the conference attendees to hear Caputi speak.
Participants also valued the opportunity to get together with other nursing professionals; the conference gave them time to connect and compare teaching strategies.
“This was my first Adventist Nurse Educators Conference,” said Terri Gibson, DNP, associate professor of nursing from Southwestern Adventist University. “In contrast to a national conference, it was nice to know that I shared similar values with those who attended. There were commonalities when interacting with those I didn’t know.”