Reframing the Cliché of the “Lifelong Learner”
While I have always considered myself a goal-oriented individual, the only consistency in my goals is that they are perpetually changing. That is the simple answer to the questions “how do you go from working on nuclear power plants in the Navy to becoming a flight nurse?” “How do you go from starting your MS in Nursing to completing your MA in Educational Technology?” While some may see this as indecisive, I see it as “evolving.” Just as my professional goals have evolved over the years, so have my educational goals.
When I applied to transfer into the MAET program, I was disillusioned with my Clinical Nurse Specialist program. While the specialty was in Nursing Education, I felt that this degree would only allow me to provide healthcare education in a similar manner in which I learned: archaic, stagnant and lacking vision. I wanted more. My goals were to develop innovative learning strategies. I wanted to make education (primarily for my Survival Flight staff) fun and enjoyable (concepts not historically tied to healthcare education). Admittedly, I didn’t know much about educational technology, what it meant, or what I was in for. But, I had confidence that this degree would ultimately be the correct decision academically and professionally.
Now that my program is nearly complete, I realize that I want more. After seeing what my classmates, instructors, and professors have produced and are creating, it is apparent that my comprehension is expanding as I learn what integrating technology into the learning environment can provide the healthcare education community as a whole. While I still have the global goal of creating an appealing educational experience from a gestalt perspective, I want to closely tie my skills in healthcare delivery to my newfound skills in education. This will require a new kind of “lifelong learner” as I continue to improve myself as a clinician while discovering what works and does not work for my particular group of learners. I plan to continue my education beyond my Master’s degree by obtaining a graduate certificate in serious game design as well as a second Master’s degree in Information Technology with a concentration in video game development. As a strong clinician, an engaging educator, and an innovative developer of eLearning and instructional video games, I plan to transform the way that flight nursing, and healthcare education in general is delivered.
In comparison, my initial goals are not far removed from the goals that I have today. Having said this, the journey has been interesting. I feel that where I have been has and will continue to shape me professionally. The few “detours” that I have made along the way were necessary in order for me to learn how education should be delivered (particularly in healthcare), and what is essential in my clinical practice. Most importantly, I have had fun while learning. Having experienced this, I am more determined to ensure that everyone that seeks my help with learning does as well.
“What We Learn with Pleasure we Never Forget”
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