Let's meet another Nurse Support Program (NSP) II Cohen Scholar!
Who are the Cohen Scholars? From the Nurse Support website:
The Cohen Scholars are recognized as the next generation of nurse educators to fill the positions needed now and in the future.
This NSP II program provides funding for Cohen Scholars to complete the necessary graduate degrees and coursework to prepare to become a nurse educator or faculty in the state of Maryland.
Join us in meeting some of the Cohen Scholars across the state of Maryland!
Josee Ritter, BSN, RN, C-EFM, and MSN Candidate, is a Cohen Scholar in the Salisbury University Master of Science in Nursing Program, Nurse Educator Concentration.
Previously a Registered Nurse in the Labor and Delivery Department with advanced certification in external fetal monitoring (C-EFM) and Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP), in early 2023 she took on the role of Women's and Children's Nurse Educator at TidalHealth Peninsula Regional and has also taught online as a Maternity Clinical Instructor for Salisbury University as well.
She is passionate about the field of Women's and Children's health and helping students and new nurses make those important connections, or "Ah-ha!" moments, from their time in the classroom.
What drew you to a career in teaching?
"Seeing newer nurses and nursing students' reaction to that 'AH-HA' moment when an important connection is made from their book to the clinical setting is joyful.
I also thoroughly enjoy getting newer nurses and nursing students to understanding the 'why' piece of what we do. For example, not just regurgitating knowledge we already may know, but giving reasoning behind why and intervention is so necessary."
What are the two most important things you’ve learned as you've prepared for a career as an educator?
"1) You really have to be a 'go with the flow' kind of individual because certain hardships can arise and you need to be able to figure out how you can overcome them on the fly. For example, I was told I needed to create a PowerPoint presentation on a topic of my choice related to my field to present at an interview; turns out, the USB connector in the room we were in was not set up properly. I still presented and just did the best I could with having (thankfully) reviewed my presentation beforehand.
2) You not only need to be an advocator for fellow patients, students, staff, and employees, but you certainly have to know how to advocate for yourself. It is extremely important to not forget this piece.
Otherwise, if you do not advocate for you, you will be of no benefit to anyone else."
What has your experience as a Cohen Scholar been like? How has this program impacted your career path?
"Being a Cohen Scholar has been extremely eye-opening thus far. It has challenged me in new ways I never knew I needed to be challenged.
It has brought to me a sense of community in the way that I know I am not alone in the struggles of work, school, and life balance by having our monthly meetings with our advisor.
It has helped me practice scholarship in ways I never knew I could. It has sometimes made me ask myself why I chose to go this route for continuing my education, however, I have felt an incredible sense of reward and gratitude for the last almost year and a half.
It has also challenged me significantly to step out of my comfort zone to continue my professional career, which is something I never thought I would ever do."
Tell us about the steps/processes that helped you acquire your first teaching position?
"I taught clinical online for the first time during COVID via Zoom because the university needed a maternity clinical instructor. I was nervous, but I decided to give it a shot. I enjoyed that much more than I would have expected to. I was then approached after the end of a semester by one of my undergraduate professors that I would make a good candidate for the Master's program.
I applied to the program and the scholarship close to the application deadline and decided to follow through with the challenge. Just recently, an opportunity to accept a nurse educator position became available on my nursing unit in the field I am passionate about, so I decided to accept it.
I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching not only clinical, but precepting new nurses to our unit as well. I am looking forward to representing as a Cohen Scholar in my new position."
Thank you to Professor and Nurse Educator Ritter for taking the time to share your story with us and for pursuing a career that leads the nursing profession forward!
Stay tuned for our next Cohen Scholar Spotlight.
Are you a Cohen Scholar who would like to share your story? Reach out to us at email@example.com!