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NFAR Spotlight Series: Amy Daniels

The Nurse Support Program II (NSP II), administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission and funded through the Health Services Cost Review Commission, announced in 2021 the first annual Nurse Faculty Annual Recognition Awards (NFAR), showcasing 13 of Maryland’s finest nurse faculty. Each of the award recipients was nominated by their Dean or Director of Nursing and will receive $10,000.

Our final NFAR recipient in the 2021 Spotlight Series is Amy Daniels, PhD, RN, CHSE, Assistant Professor of Nursing at University of Maryland School of Nursing and Director of the Debra L. Spunt Clinical Simulation Lab. Dr. Daniels was one of only two faculty chosen for the demonstrated area of "Innovation in Education and Technology."

Below, Dr. Daniels shared some thoughts with us about what she has learned as an educator.


What is the most important thing you’ve learned in your career as an educator?

In my 32 years of nursing, the one thing I work hard to bring to my practice (as a nurse, mentor, educator, and colleague) is promoting an environment where people can, and want to, learn without worrying about me triggering feelings of embarrassment or inadequacy. Little did I know there was an actual term for my thinking. That term is now known as Psychological Safety.

Psychological safety is defined as a perception that the learning environment is safe enough for individuals to take interpersonal risks (trying new things) without fearing they will be criticized or ridiculed when a mistake is made (Edmondson, 1999).

This is THE SINGLE MOST important thing I have learned in my role as a nurse educator. My teaching philosophy revolves around this concept.

It is not about being a “sage on the stage,” it is about being a “guide on the side.”

It is an understanding and respect that while learners may not always do the right thing, they always bring a valuable perspective to the learning experience.

It is about meeting learners where they are to engage in conversations that are meaningful to the students learning.

As I learned in my debriefing training at the Center for Medical Simulation in Cambridge, MA, it is about holding the “basic assumption” that learners are smart, motivated to learn, want to do their very best, and want to improve. I realized that when I hold this assumption about my learners, it gives me the privilege and the responsibility to hold students to high standards while holding them in high regard.

As for myself, I have learned the importance of granting myself the gift of mercy. As I give my all, I realize I will not be perfect. However, I will reflect on those imperfections, acknowledge their contribution to learning, yet identify ways to apply revisions in future actions and/or behaviors.


Thank you to Dr. Daniels for your continued contributions to nursing education in Maryland and congratulations on this well-deserved recognition!

Stay tuned for our Spotlight Series on the 2022 NFAR recipients coming soon. You can find the complete lists of 2021 awardees and 2022 awardees on the MHEC NSP II site.

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