Linda Southerland, MSN, RN
Title: Clinical Instructor
Building: PMH 113
- BSN- The University of Texas at Tyler
- MSN- Texas Woman’s University
- N3307 Pharmacology
- N4723 Family Health Care
Research Interests: Infectious Diseases
Teaching Philosophy: It all lies in the heart of the teacher!
The teachers I have had who stand out in my memory have some common ground: they presented their subjects in a way that caught my interest, clarified difficult content and led me through complex areas, and put knowledge into a context that was both relevant and clear. These role models have influenced my approach to teaching: I view myself primarily as a facilitator of learning, rather than as an expert who simply delivers information to students. I am always conscious of student’s different learning styles and rates at which they learn and what they still need to learn in the future. I bring a lot of energy to my classes. If I can’t get excited about my subject, why should my students.
Personal contact with students is essential to my approach. My experience as a teacher is greatly enriched by this contact with students. I am fortunate to teach in a professional school where I can follow the progress of the students through the program and sometimes beyond graduation. I believe that the most significant learning occurs in situations that are both meaningful and realistic. For situated learning to occur, the learner must be given access to the environment where the skills and knowledge will eventually be used. As a teacher, I most enjoy teaching in the setting of real-world patient care, emphasizing decision-making, self-reflection and interpersonal relationships in a meaningful context. I believe in collaboration, not competition among the learners and members of my team. There are a number of things I try to accomplish for my students:
- A positive atmosphere. Students are called upon to discuss topics, but mistakes are treated as opportunities to explore misconceptions, not as a reflection of a student’s abilities.
- A view of the clinical world. A diligent needs assessment is required to identify the starting knowledge base and also regular formalized assessment and feedback are vital to the individual learner’s needs. To really transition from a teacher-centered learning environment (such as the classroom) to a more learner-centered environment (such as the in-patient setting) requires self-assessment on the part of the student and an approach of graduated responsibility.
- Access to a caring individual. I am diligent in being an active listener, by doing so I can assist students in removing barriers to learning. I work with my office door open, and I am available to help.
- Empowerment. I believe that anyone can do well if they are willing to spend the time at it. Some pick up skills quickly, some need to spend more time. If I provide any value added, it is in encouraging all my students to be interested enough in the subject to invest more time.
- Respect. Students work hard, earn their grades, and are entitled to their opinions. My task is to facilitate their learning process.
Helping students to develop a deep love and respect for themselves, others, and their environment occurs through an open sharing of ideas and a judicious approach to adherence to principles. When the voice of each student is heard and environment evolves where students feel free to express themselves, ownership occurs. When students have ownership in the curriculum, they are motivated to work hard and master the skills necessary to reach their goals.
For me, teaching provides an opportunity for continual learning and growth. One of my hopes as an educator is to instill a love of learning in my students, as I share my own passion for learning with them. I feel there is a need for compassionate, strong, and dedicated individuals who are excited about working with future professional nurses. In our competitive society it is important for students to not only receive a solid foundation of knowledge, but to work with someone who is aware of and sensitive to their individual needs. I am such a person; I have always tried to be the best and will always strive to be the best educator that I can be.