Author Archives: scherem2

Educating Nursing Students as a Gift of Caring

Dr. Marcia Scherer
Assistant Professor of Nursing

Students are unique individuals capable of learning.  The educator’s responsibility lies in using different strategies to engage and encourage student-centered learning while enhancing the potential for lifelong learning.  Student-centered learning recognizes each student as having different talents, values, learning styles, and learning barriers.  With these beliefs in mind, the educator demonstrates a caring attitude towards students.

Nursing students consistently exhibit a fear of failure or anxiety of the unknown.  A common phrase “nurses eat their young” (Leahy, n.d., para. 1) has been implicit for over 50 years.  Nurse educators who portray this type of uncivil behavior instill oppression within the profession.  Modeling caring and acceptance of all individuals encourages student confidence and support.

This past semester with COVID-19 taking center stage, a student contracted the virus and was hospitalized.  The student was given opportunities to take tests and turn assignments in later.  Communication with this student was weekly via telephone or e-mail throughout the rest of the semester.  The student was able to finish the semester with excellent marks.  This is what she wrote to me, “Thank you thank you thank you for being such an amazing professor and for being a huge role model to me. I can see how wonderful of a nurse your patients had, as I see your caring and kindness come out with me being sick. This trial of sickness motivates me to want to be a nurse, and a good nurse all the more.”

Watson’s Theory of Human Caring theory (1979) provides a foundation for educating students.  Coming to “know” and be present for each student enhances the learning environment.  The educator projects trust and rapport with each unique student; identifying and allowing for each student’s particular learning needs.  The educator exhibits caring through a variety of roles such as mentor, facilitator, and guide dependent on the individual student.  Caring understands the student as a unique being with the capacity to be responsible for their learning.  My hope is that one day all teachers will accept students for the unique individuals they are.


Leahy, S. (n.d.).  Nurses eat their young: An insight into the systematic hazing that occurs in the  

     workplace and its implications on patient care.  Retrieved from https://rn-


Watson, J. (1979).  Nursing: The philosophy and science of caring.  Boulder, CO: University Press of