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NRP Coordinator Spotlight: Shahde Graham-Coker



Did you know that Maryland is the first state in the nation to have all acute care hospitals offer a nurse residency program for Newly Licensed Registered Nurses (NLRNs)? In 2013, nursing leaders formed the Maryland Nurse Residency Collaborative (MNRC) to help support Maryland hospitals implement high-quality nurse residency programs.


These residency programs across the state are coordinated by fantastic nurse educators who provide a strong foundation and smooth transition into the profession for newly licensed nurses.


This series puts a spotlight on those MNRC and NRP coordinators here in Maryland!


 

Shahde Graham-Coker, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, is the Newly Licensed Nurse Residency Program (NLNRP) Coordinator at University of Maryland Capitol Region Health in Largo, Maryland. She was kind enough to share about her journey below.


Tell us briefly how and why you became a nurse educator.

"While practicing as a bedside nurse and preceptor for new staff over a 10 year span, I developed a passion for wanting to give back to the nursing profession. After much thought, I chose education as my path and was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to become the Nurse Residency Coordinator at UM Capital Region Health in Largo Maryland.

Nursing is not just a profession, it is a calling, and the same can be said for nurse educators.

It takes a special individual that is patient and caring yet tenacious to teach the next generation of nurses. As a nurse and nurse educator, the hats we wear are endless and evolving each day. As I educate our future I know that each hat makes a direct impact on the nurses I come in contact with as well as those that end up interacting with the staff I mentor."


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

"There are a few things I have found important over the years.

The most important thing I learned as an educator is to find the unique strengths of each nurse and work together to amplify that.

When you truly see the person first and assess their strengths you become a much more effective educator. It is so vital to create a safe, supportive culture of trust, where nurses are encouraged to ask genuine questions, without judgment. When students feel safe their learning is more effective. The second is how lifelong learning is a professional responsibility of all nurses regardless of their experience, knowledge, and skill.

The continual process of being open to learning new approaches and processes is the key mindset to growth and effectiveness as a nurse."

What advice would you offer to those interested in becoming an educator?

"My advice would be to always ask yourself a few questions. Why do you like to teach?

What impact can you make on the next generation of nurses?

Then from that authentic self-introspective position, seek to be a servant leader in everything that you do. A person who is genuinely interested and invested in the growth and success of nurses will have an impact that reaches far more people than the ones they are directly involved with."

What is your proudest accomplishment as an educator?

"It truly warms my heart when a nurse resident I have mentored along the way completes their first year of nursing and then blossoms into becoming a charge nurse or becoming certified in their specialty.

It is always rewarding to follow the progression of nurses, especially those that may have struggled for a period of time, and watch them work with diligence and dedication to grow and become the best version of themselves."
 

Thank you to NLNRP Coordinator Shahde Graham-Coker for sharing her story and insight, in addition to the important work she does every day guiding new nurses!


Stay tuned for future spotlights on nurse residency coordinators here in Maryland.


Learn more about the MNRC and the NRP Experience.

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