More from Our Kaplan Experts: Shannon Meijer DNP, RN, Faculty Nurse Consultant
by Shannon Meijer DNP, RN, Nurse Educator Consultant | January 4, 2022
Last year, we introduced you to our Kaplan experts so that you could learn more about our team and what drives them to stay passionately committed to nursing education. This year, we’re taking an even deeper dive into their insights and opinions about healthcare education and what educators can do to truly help their students not only succeed on their board exams, but also to thrive in their chosen profession in nursing. We’re excited to welcome back Shannon Meijer DNP, RN, Faculty Nurse Consultant for the second installation of her Catching Up with the Kaplan Experts article.
PREPPING FOR NGN
In your opinion, what is the #1 most important thing that educators can do to prepare their students for success on the Next Gen NCLEX?
Engage students in active learning within the classroom. Use varied teaching strategies to tap into all different learning styles. Using unfolding case studies, socratic questioning, think-pair-share approaches to problem solving, and virtual simulations as ways to get students to critically think and make sound clinical judgments. It is not all about getting Next Gen NCLEX items into a test, but using similar methods to answer Next Gen NCLEX items as activities within the classroom.
Studying for the NCLEX is commonly referred to as “a marathon not a sprint.” What advice can you give to educators about how to encourage their student’s long term studying habits?
Be open with students from day one of nursing school that they are preparing for two things that are necessary in order to become a nurse 1. a nursing degree and 2. a nursing license. These are parallel goals students will be working to achieve.
Preparation for the NCLEX should begin on the first day of nursing school. Students need to be informed about the NCLEX, what it is, its purpose, and what to expect when their time comes to take the NCLEX. The NCLEX is not something students begin to prepare for once they graduate from nursing school.
Is there a tried-and-true strategy that you could recommend for nursing students to manage their stress and mental health around their board exams?
It is important to maintain self care practices throughout nursing school. Instill these practices early on so they become very natural during times of extreme stress. Take regular breaks, exercise, eat healthy, laugh often, learn from mistakes.
ADVICE & TIPS
While working in nursing education is certainly rewarding, there is a certain amount of understandable burnout in the industry. How do you stay sharp and inspired?
I find time for myself, time for family and friends. It is all about finding balance between work and our personal lives. Exercising, eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, and getting adequate sleep are key. It is hard for nurses to practice what we preach. As caregivers, we are continuously giving ourselves and our time selflessly to others. It does not always feel natural to nurses to stop and care for ourselves. I often think of the pre-flight safety instructions on an airplane when the flight attendant instructs everyone to FIRST put on your oxygen mask before assisting others. We are no good to others if we are not 100% ourselves, mentally or physically. Find the right work/life balance and commit to it.
Do you have any advice to share for nursing educators who are struggling to connect with Gen Y & Z students?
Educate yourself on what makes the Y & X generations who they are and be open and accepting of new ideas. Learn from one another. There are many ways to get from point A to point B. Explore approaches and ideas shared by others.
What are your recommendations for reaching disengaged or slipping students who are struggling with online learning?
If educators identify students that are disengaged or struggling with online learning it is necessary to reach out independently to that student. Explore with the student what some of the barriers might be and work together to find solutions to overcome these barriers. It may be that some of these roadblocks are not related to the student’s desire to learn, but perhaps personal concerns with family, living arrangements, or financial status. If the latter are evident, guiding the student to necessary resources for assistance would be recommended. Regardless of the reason, reaching out and showing the student you care about their wellbeing and success can make a huge difference.
In your opinion, what does it take to be a true leader in nursing?
An open mind, self awareness, innovative thinking, patience, and acceptance. Maintain the focus of continuous support for others while they work toward achieving their goals and maximizing their potential.
One of my favorite quotes comes from John Maxwell:
“Leaders become great not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.”
Are there any Kaplan webinars or resources that you’d recommend for educators seeking to learn more about a trending topic in education?
Kaplan has many great resources for nursing educators whether brand new or veteran educators. I would recommend our Kaplan Nursing Blog and our Kaplan NextGen NCLEX Resources for Educators website Within these resources, one can find ways to Build Student Clinical Judgment Skills, integrate virtual simulation in the classroom and get the latest information on the NCSBN’s NextGen NCLEX and much more.
Can you recommend books, periodicals, podcasts, or influencers that you follow to continue your nursing knowledge at home?
There are so many resources available, it can be overwhelming. My suggestion here would be to choose a couple that speak to you as an educator. Time is precious, so I often will gravitate to podcasts or nursing education journals that I can access through online portals.
Have you ever worked abroad in healthcare? Would you recommend the experience to students and educators to expand their knowledge and horizons?
No, I have not. However, having “in-laws” in a European country, I have learned first hand there are many differences between healthcare in the United States and in other countries. I would welcome the opportunity to practice abroad and would encourage others to take advantage of such opportunities.
Shannon has over 28 years of nursing experience, with more than half of those years being specific to nursing education. She received her BSN from Nazareth College, MSN in Nursing Education from Walden University and her DNP in Academic Leadership from Jacksonville University. She has served in both faculty and director positions over the years and continues to teach online courses for a BSN program. She maintains active membership in the American Nurses Association, International Nurses Association, Phi Kappa PHi Graduate Honor Society and Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society. Her special interests include nursing student success from program admission to NCLEX, reducing testing anxiety, and mentoring new nurse educators.