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Nurse Inspiration: Nurse Educators Serve as Nurse Mentors

We asked previous National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) chapter presidents from Arkansas, California and Colorado to share stories of nursing mentors who have impacted their approach to nursing practice and why they wanted to go into the nursing field.

Adam Diesi is past president of the Colorado Student Nurses’ Association (CSNA) and a graduate of the Denver School of Nursing in Denver, Colo. In his role as president of CSNA, he helped “provide a new nurse perspective to those who may not know what to expect or how to navigate the unknowns of becoming a new nurse.” Diesi’s decision to pursue a leadership position as a new nurse was in part influenced by his nursing school mentor.

“One of the many lessons I learned from a mentor of mine is that we do not lead to serve ourselves – we lead to serve others,” said Diesi. “This may sound so simple but it truly guides me in every discussion, decision and situation I find myself in. Serving others to provide them with a more rich experience is the ultimate reward. I look forward to advocating and being a leader for my patients to ensure that their outcomes are the most positive and beneficial to their well-being.”

Nurse educators help provide students with valuable insights as they themselves have lived through many of the situations and experiences that new nurses will face. Their nurse educators share important concepts that help inspire students in their own nursing careers.

“One of the most inspiring nursing instructors I had was my global health initiative instructor Micah Hughes, MS, BA,” said Diesi. “He has traveled all over the world helping others and has even created a non-governmental organization (NGO) to help those in Uganda grow and can mangoes so that they may have better nutrition through natural resources. He continuously reminded me that through hard work and dedication, we may be able to have a positive impact on this world during our lives.”

Diesi aims to impact the world not only through his dedication to giving his future patients the best possible care, but also by supporting future student leaders.

“One of the core lessons I learned from my professors is to dive head-first into my passions. That led me to join student leadership groups like NSNA, travel to the Philippine Islands for medical mission trips and now advocate for thousands of nursing students in the state of Colorado.”

To leave a positive impact in the world is exactly what many nursing students strive to achieve in their lifetimes. The nursing profession provides nurses with the opportunities to help others in a myriad of ways, and the different career paths and stories that nurse educators are able to bring to the classroom are certainly a testament to that fact.

After speaking with Diesi, we reached out to Thomas Ward, past president of the California Nursing Students’ Association (CNSA). “I had the opportunity to have my preceptorship with Daniela Tabara, who as a correctional nurse in the county jail,” said Thomas Ward. “My experience may seem a bit unorthodox, but the advice is applicable for many other specialties and nursing settings. My preceptor and my instructor told me to never look at what the inmate was convicted of because it changes who they are as a person in your eyes. This can apply to patients in the hospital setting as well, just in a different way. We must always treat patients with respect and without bias.”

Ward credits his nursing instructors with giving him the opportunities and confidence to think critically and ethically in all situations.

“A nurse educator is an inspiration, a mentor and a support system all in one. With the continuing changes in healthcare and the evolving roles of nurses, educators can help shape the leaders of not just our profession, but in all branches of healthcare.”

Finally we spoke with Sarah Weick, past president of the Arkansas State University Student Nurses' Association, about her thoughts. “My Student Nurses' Association advisor [Lance Wilcox, MSN, RN, CDDN] has always told me, ‘If you work hard, you can play hard.' This taught me to strive for work-life balance. It’s important to take care of ourselves while taking care of others. His advice will stick with me throughout my life, knowing that taking care of myself is just as important as the care I will give to my future patients.”

Not only do nurse educators invest in the health of patients by teaching the next generation of nurses to administer the best patient care, but by doing so, they also invest in the well-being of students in both their future careers and their personal lives.

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