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Arkansas State University

Trust and Engagement: Fostering Relationships With Nursing Students

In healthcare, the nursing profession stands as a crucial pillar. With an escalating nursing shortage, made worse by a dearth of nurse educators, the need for competent and inspiring educators to mentor the next generation of nurses has never been more pressing.

Developing trust-based relationships between educators and students is central to the success of this initiative. Below is an outline these relationships and their impact on patient care.

The Crisis in Nursing Education

The shortage of nurse educators is not just a crisis but it is also a catalyst exacerbating the nursing shortage. Without sufficient educators, the pipeline of trained nurses dwindles, impacting healthcare systems globally.

Arkansas State University (A-State) is working to change this trajectory. Its Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Nurse Educator online program actively equips nurses with the skills required to successfully transition into educator roles, thus narrowing the gap.

Building Trust: The Core of Effective Nursing Education

At the heart of effective nursing education lies the ability of educators to establish and maintain trust with their students. This trust is foundational for creating an environment conducive to learning, growth and professional development.

According to a study published by the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central, a trust-building model in nursing education emphasizes transparency, empathy and consistent support. Information gathered from both educators and students regarding their perspectives on trust was compiled and analyzed. This analysis revealed several key themes:

  • nature of professional relationships
  • anticipated roles and responsibilities in nursing education
  • establishment of an environment favorable for teaching and learning
  • consequences arising from a deficiency of trust

Based on these insights, researchers formulated a comprehensive model to promote and support the development of trust and trusting relationships within nursing education.

Benefits of Trust-Based Relationships

Additional research from PLOS One highlights the far-reaching benefits of trust-based relationships in nursing education. These benefits extend beyond the classroom into clinical settings, positively influencing patient care. Trust fosters open communication, encourages the sharing of knowledge and experiences and creates a safety net for students to learn from their mistakes without fear of judgment.

This research also emphasizes that establishing and nurturing trust rely on factors such as professional demeanor, ethical actions, abilities and the knowledge and expertise of those involved in the educational process. The suggestions provided in the study are significant for cultivating trust and building trusting relationships in nursing education.

Trust and Its Impact on Patient Care

The profound impact of trust in nursing education extends significantly into patient care, illustrating a cascading effect that underscores its importance. When nursing students are supported in an atmosphere where trust is a foundational element, they tend to blossom into confident and highly confident professionals.

This transformation is crucial, as confidence among nursing professionals directly correlates with more effective patient interactions. These interactions — characterized by empathy, clear communication and an understanding disposition — are pivotal in enhancing patient outcomes. Patients who feel understood and cared for by confident nurses often experience better recovery rates and overall satisfaction with their care.

Moreover, the confidence fostered through trust goes beyond mere patient interaction. It leads to improved clinical decision-making, where nurses feel more empowered to make judgments and take necessary actions that positively impact patient health. Trust creates an environment where mistakes are viewed as learning opportunities, fostering a mindset geared towards continual improvement and skill development. This aspect is particularly vital in the fast-paced, ever-changing landscape of healthcare, where adaptability and a commitment to lifelong learning are indispensable.

Strategies for Building Trust

Despite the known benefits, building trust in educational settings is not without challenges. Cultural differences, generational gaps and varying communication styles can all be barriers. Educators must learn to form strategies to overcome these challenges, such as cultural competence training, adaptive communication techniques and continuous self-reflection and improvement.

A-State’s MSN – Nurse Educator program is structured to build the crucial element of trust and practice proven strategies for doing so. The program’s curriculum is designed not just to impart clinical knowledge but also to nurture the soft skills essential for trust-building such as communication, empathy and leadership. Graduates from this program are well prepared to enter advanced practice roles where they can effectively teach and mentor future generations of nurses.

Students can complete the program in as few as 12 months if they wish to expedite their career development and implementation. There are also multiple start dates throughout the year, allowing for greater flexibility — above and beyond the flexibility afforded by the program’s online setting.

Learn more about A-State’s online MSN – Nurse Educator program.

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