Canadian Journal of Nursing Informatics


This article was written on 21 Sep 2018, and is filled under Volume 13 2018, Volume 13 No 3/4.

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Technology in Education Column

by Dr Sandra Bassendowski

Dr. Sandra BassendowskiThe Technology in Education column is written by one of our CNA Centennial 100 Award Winners, Dr. Sandra Bassendowski, who is a Professor at the University of Saskatchewan. Sandra recognized a need, and offered to write this important feature for the CJNI in this column, focused on how technology can be used in nursing education and by nurses in general. Sandra has been recognized by the Canadian Nurses Association, as well as the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association and the University of Saskatchewan for her inspiring, dedicated work in her educational practice.


Sandra Bassendowski As I sat down to write this column, I realized that it is already October and the new semester is well underway. Students have attended orientation days at their universities and colleges, listened to key speakers from various organizations, and have committed to meeting the requirements of their programs as well as the intents and outcomes of specific courses. The new students may feel a bit isolated and alone in the first few weeks so I want to focus on ‘creative connectedness’ as I believe it is an important factor for both students and faculty to consider throughout the academic year. How do you support the students in your program to use social media to their advantage? What does it mean?  How do you, as a faculty member, connect with the students to ensure that they are feeling comfortable and secure in the program? How do you use social media to your advantage? I personally think it means reaching out to others; you and students need to take the initiative to make yourself available to others. You need to take that first step!

“Learning in the digital age involves a lot of technology, but fundamentally the role of the learner is still to explore, discover and acquire knowledge. Through technology, we can connect not only with content but also context – people, resources and ideas, and we can also share our own ideas for discussion and further learning. There are many theories and constructs that can inform us of the nature and potential impact of connected learning” (Wheeler, 2018).  Wheeler (2018) goes on to say that digital technology will help drive students’ own learning, but it may be less structured than formal educational processes. The more mouse clicks the student uses – the further the student may be propelled away from the original aims and goals but with a compelling sense of freedom and perspective.

On the first day of class, I usually talk about the metaparadigm of nursing and use Dr. Jean Watson’s theory to  talk about person, environment, nursing, and health.  I like her ten primary carative factors that relate to person, especially #10 that she describes as being open to mystery.  Open to mystery- isn’t that a wonderful statement encouraging you to embrace new and exciting adventures, be open to new ideas, explore the unknown, and accept innovative and creative ideas for education and practice!  Nursing is a mystery- why some things happen the way that they do; how individuals overcome the most serious of illnesses, and how nurses (in a variety of ways) assist patients, families, and communities to become healthier.  Registered nurses have scientific evidence that supports their practice but there are mysteries in nursing – there are unexplained situations and scenarios. Keep an open mind in your nursing education and practice and look around for the mysteries!

Photo: Dr. Sandra Bassendowski

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