Meet Keith Beckerich, MSN, RN. He has been a clinical instructor for the Galen Cincinnati ADN and BSN programs for a little over a year. Throughout his career, community care, education, and leadership have always been defining traits in Beckerich’s life.
What is the most important aspect of a clinical environment?
Having a controlled environment where students are comfortable and able to learn is imperative. But also, as educators, we must allow them to have freedom too. Having the ability to make and learn from mistakes in a clinical setting is critical to advancing education. My job is to make sure they are doing it safely. So, overall I’d say the most important aspect for a clinical environment is the ability to expand your independence in a real-world environment by actively increasing your knowledge and experience with patient care.
Most unique way you taught a class?
I actually just taught a class last week that was really fun and creative. I was teaching students about Cardiac tamponade – when extra fluid builds up in the space around the heart and it can no longer pump. So, I took a straw and blew up a glove, first with air, and then with water so students can see the halted expansion visually that the fluid can cause. I really think this was a great learning tool as it was a real-world simile as to something they may treat in a patient one day. Moreover, it was really fun and we all had a good laugh throughout the class.
How valuable is Galen’s focus on hands-on education?
Hands-on experience for a nurse is by far the best way that students can learn. There are many careers that you can move through without being hands-on. Nursing is not one. Every nurse will need that experience with patients and their families. You must have that intrinsic value of being able to learn in that way. Most students, I have found, learn best with this method as well.
What were you like as a student?
I was 35 when I began nursing school. I had a background as a medic in the military and as a firefighter. So, I had a lot of basic medical knowledge when I started nursing school. I didn’t need to study or take as many notes as most people around did, but I was that student who held study groups and tutored whenever anyone needed it. I definitely feel that I was a leader in the classroom. It was so rewarding to help my former classmate succeed. I knew I wanted to be a nurse educator from the moment I started school, so by naturally being a leader in the classroom, I knew I was making the right career choice. It really helped prepare me for my time at Galen College of Nursing.
What should students do to stay motivated?
It is up to the instructor to find situations and circumstances that will let the students thrive and learn. You don’t want every lesson to seem boring or mundane. You advance each quarter, and each quarter should be an advancement of what a student can do. Their interest and passion combined with a constantly buildable curriculum will help maintain motivation.
What is your favorite part of being a nurse educator?
There is always a moment where you can see a look on a student’s face when the material just clicks. Seeing that is enough motivation to continue teaching for the rest of my life.
What can a Cincinnati student expect or look forward to at Galen?
We have a great campus with a close and supportive community. Incoming students can expect a challenging, but accomplishable goal in becoming a nurse. There are tons of nursing schools out there, and I would never speak negatively on a school that commits to teaching nursing education. But I will say that I will ALWAYS speak highly of a nursing education from Galen. It is worth it.
What is your advice for those wanting to be a nurse educator?
If you have the passion to do it, just go for it. Try it out by teaching some clinicals and getting experience. There is always a place for nurse educators. You just have to put yourself out there and see what fits you best.