by Bobby Anderson, RN, Staff Writer
Those dreaded days of nursing school.
As a student and as a professor, Brooke Butcher, MS, RN remembers those days well.
The only difference was which side of the struggle she was on.
“It is completely overwhelming,” Butcher said of nursing school. “I feel like overwhelm is the biggest problem in nursing school, or at least I remember it being that way for me. Not knowing what information was important, not being able to ferret out what I actually needed to know versus what was superfluous fluff.”
“That coupled with in clinical you might not be working with a pleasant nurse or you might not have good interaction or help from your nursing instructor.”
It was those reasons she began working on The Nursing Professor, an online service dedicated to helping nursing students not only survive but thrive in nursing school.
“Most of the resources you find online are by nursing students,” Butcher explained. “They aren’t necessarily a higher quality or they don’t contain enough to give a really solid base for the material.”
Butcher also points to the huge lack of clinical experiences for students.
“My grandmother lived at the hospital and they ran the floor by the time they could graduate,” said Butcher, whose grandmother and mother were nurses. “They were in the hospital way more than they were in the classroom.”
Butcher’s master’s thesis focused on nurse residency programs, which were borne from high washout rates of first-year nurses who either left their first job or the profession entirely within their first two years.
The support wasn’t there.
Her vision is for The Nursing Professor to stand in the gap.
“I would love to see it evolve into a one-stop-shop where students can come to find all the answers they’re looking for related to nursing school,” Butcher said. “Covering content but also job hunting, help with resumes and interview skills and information about getting started as a new nurse.”
For now, the best way to connect with Butcher is by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her Facebook page The Nursing Professor.
Butcher earned her master’s degree in 2011 and began teaching at Oklahoma City Community College.
She worked with the LPN career ladder track for students pursuing their RN. After a year she transitioned to teaching NP4 content.
She stayed until 2015.
She has a varied nursing background. She worked ER, cardiac neuro ICU and an HIV unit in New York City before coming to Oklahoma Heart Hospital in 2009.
Butcher worked at Oklahoma Heart while she was teaching and taking care of her two young children.
“Right off the bat when I was teaching,” Butcher said of when she came up with the concept. “We could only provide students with so much information otherwise you’re just giving them answers and teaching to the test. I found myself developing a lot of resources they could utilize.”
“I was trying to find things online that would work. I wasn’t finding a whole lot. I was finding a lot for medical students but not for nursing students.”
“I talked to other faculty members and they thought (the idea) was ridiculous.”
She shelved the idea for a while but kept coming back to it.
Apparently, it was her passion.
“I feel like I have a good way of breaking down information for students in a way that is very easy for them to understand,” she said.
She was contacted by students looking for tutoring.
She shared with them her idea of a one-stop-shop of resources for nursing students that would be cost effective at a time when students needed it the most.
“As a nursing student I could hardly afford a cup of coffee,” she remembered. “I made a mockup of what I wanted to do and unbeknownst to me they posted it on the class Facebook page. Within 24 hours one of the students sent me back all of the names and more than 40 students had asked for this.”
Butcher’s service is more than a data content warehouse. She routinely engages students through Facebook Live Q&A sessions.
Butcher is still working full-time while developing the product with an anticipated full launch date of next fall.
She’s currently accepting beta students at a discounted rate for NP4 content access. She’ll be bringing the other nursing processes online as she builds them.
Butcher typically stresses three things to her nursing students:
* Take care of yourself – eating well, exercising and getting adequate sleep are important in nursing school to keep you well and keep your mind sharp.
* Don’t just memorize while in school, learn the material and understand the rationale behind our interventions and the basic pathophysiology behind each disease process, because that is what will help you know what to do when you are face to face with your patient.
* Know your preferred learning style (or how you learn best) and utilize the learning resources that speak to that preferred learning style, as you are far more likely to understand it and remember when you do so.