Are you an ethical person? Or, do you use a great ethical framework?



I will admit that I have never done well in any “ethics” course I have taken. This does not mean that I am an unethical person. However, I still believe that ” Napster ” was ethical as it was “good for all”.

As you can imagine in healthcare we make ethical decisions everyday from “right to life” to the most recent and very emotionally charged subject,  ‘medically assistance in dying”. Our college provides very clear directions for us. I am fortunate to work in healthcare as when an ethical decision surfaces we have an actual ethics department to contact. I have been involved with many ethical decisions and they are very emotionally charged times. Key is engagement of both parties so that all feel that they have a part in the making of the decision. It is a fascinating process to participate in as they walk the “parties” through the ethical decision making process or framework as it is referred to here.

Recognize an Ethical Issue

  1. Could this decision or situation be damaging to someone or to some group? Does this decision involve a choice between a good and bad alternative, or perhaps between two “goods” or between two “bads”?
  2. Is this issue about more than what is legal or what is most efficient? If so, how? Get the Facts
  3. What are the relevant facts of the case? What facts are not known? Can I learn more about the situation? Do I know enough to make a decision?
  4. What individuals and groups have an important stake in the outcome? Are some concerns more important? Why?
  5. What are the options for acting? Have all the relevant persons and groups been consulted? Have I identified creative options?

Evaluate Alternative Actions

  1. Evaluate the options by asking the following questions:
  • Which option will produce the most good and do the least harm? (The Utilitarian Approach)
  • Which option best respects the rights of all who have a stake? (The Rights Approach)
  • Which option treats people equally or proportionately? (The Justice Approach)
  • Which option best serves the community
    as a whole, not just some members?
    (The Common Good Approach)
  • Which option leads me to act as the sort of person I want to be? (The Virtue Approach)

Make a Decision and Test It

  1. Considering all these approaches, which option best addresses the situation?
  2. If I told someone I respect-or told a television audience-which option I have chosen, what would they say?

Act and Reflect on the Outcome

  1. How can my decision be implemented with the greatest care and attention to the concerns of all stakeholders?
  2. How did my decision turn out and what have I learned from this specific situation?



Mindset, growth or fixed?



fixedvsgrowth-670x821.jpg.jpgThe concept that every individual is born with a certain level of intelligence and talent, and that there is no way that you can increase or change this is so limiting, so fixed. I have experienced a teacher with a fixed mindset first hand.

I’ll admit, my son is not a rocket scientist but he produced a steady C+ to B level of work from K to grade 4. I will admit that he never put much work into achieving this grade but he had other priorities in life (or so he thought!). At the meet the teacher night in grade 5 his teacher (one that we had heard great things about) he shared that my son was a C- and would only ever be a C-. He said there was no point in trying to promote higher education, as he wouldn’t get there. Talk about infuriating and even worse, he shared his “insight” in front of my son.

Interestingly, from a clinical observation point of view my son began to produce C- work. He didn’t “apply himself” and choose to scrape by. How infuriating. He/we survived that year.

In grade 6 he had a different teacher who challenged my son at the meet the teacher night and inquired why his grades were so slow the previous year. This teacher obviously had a growth mindset and believed in the potential in my son. To say the least my son became engaged and motivated to learn and produced solid “B”s all year. He continued to produce solid “B”s through high school.

Here is a link for a mindset test to see what tendency you possess.

Critical Thinking… not as common as we would like to think

“The unexamined life is not worth living, because they realize that many unexamined lives together result in an uncritical, unjust, dangerous world” (Elder, 2007, para. 8) quotes, Sereni-Massinger, J.D., (2015).

Nurses must critically think every day to ensure safe practice.

In nursing, critical thinking for clinical decision-making is the ability to think in a systematic and logical manner with openness to question and reflect on the reasoning process used to ensure safe nursing practice and quality care (Heaslip).

As a Registered Nurses in British Columbia critical thinking is built into our professional standards. Standard 2: Knowledge-based Practice states, “Uses critical thinking when collecting and interpreting data, planning, implementing and evaluating nursing care.”

If you think about it, would you want a nurse to blindly perform treatments, give medications or follow directions without critically thinking about the ramifications?

I honestly believe that critical thinking is a skill that takes time to develop and years to perfect. Critical thinking builds such depth into your practice as a nurse I believe that it would do the same for an educator. So as an educator how do I promote critical thinking?

Sereni-Massinger, J.D., (2015) states, “As instructors we tend to teach from our experiences and assumptions, missing opportunities for deep and profound learning by questioning openly our own perspectives and being equally willing to learn from our students.

Flipped Classroom? Not a fan!

Five Reasons AGAINST the Flipped Classroom

By now you have heard the wonderful benefits of a flipped classroom approach to teaching.

I have mixed feeling about the flipped classroom model as a learning environment.

Here are some of my thoughts on the flipped classroom as a learning environment. I will be honest, I have not taught in this environment, nor have I been a learner in this environment.

I understand that it is designed to give students more control and input into their learning. This is great! Having the education material online the learner is able to pause, and review the education material over and over again enabling a greater opportunity for deeper knowledge. But what if your learners are not motivated?

The flipped classroom model is aimed at promoting student centered learning and collaboration. This is an awesome concept if all of the learners come prepared and are all of similar skill levels. What if the teacher is challenged by a significant number of high need students who require that additional time? Does this not leave the rest with “free time”?

As for student collaboration, my thoughts instantly revert to those classroom projects where I was not one of the “chosen” and always ended up in a eclectic group of underachievers and was often “the one” who did the work for the group benefit.

From my understanding the flipped classroom works well as long as each learner has significant and similar Internet access to the learning materials prior to class. This is a huge issue for me as we are creating an entire generation who will not live as long as the previous generation due to an obsession with the Internet and online gaming. This has resulted in reduced physical activity and obesity. Our kids need to be outside and active if they are out of class.



Reflective Practice, a practical approach to a complicated concept.


At a base level, the statement made by Jarvis (2006, p. 10) as quoted by Meriam and Beirema (2014) on page 112, “An individual can contemplate an experience and “either accept or change” (contemplation), or “think about the situation and then act upon it, either confirming or innovating upon it” (reflective practice) is descriptive of the concept of reflective practice.

If we take this very basic definition and build on it, reflective practice is a journey of personal awareness. Reflective practice is an essential part of being a nurse and an educator.

Reflective practice is a bit like dissecting one’s own thoughts and practices. It is a humbling process of examining what happened, why and most importantly building on that awareness so that you are prepared if or when you are faced with the same problem or event.

Reflective journaling, if done diligently is a cathartic process where we are given the opportunity to critically review an event, class or whatever. We can examine our thoughts and emotions that were at play during an event. It is through the review of personal reflective journal entries that creates a learning environment.

Nurses need to be self-aware, self-directing and in touch with their work environment. Being responsible for the provision of care to patients and their families, it is essential that nurses have the knowledge, skills, competencies and professionalism to meet the demands of practicing in today’s healthcare environment.

An educator needs to be aware of their practice, their beliefs and assumptions in a very challenging and dynamic environment that is education. The only way that we can be sure that we are providing the best care possible is through reflective practice. Reflective practice sounds so easy. It’s not.

Larravvie, B (2000) states, “there are three practices essential for developing reflective practice skills; making time for solitary reflection, becoming a perpetual problem-solver and questioning the status quo”. She states the “first creates an opening for the possibility of reflection while the other allow for a way of developing teaching practices that accept uncertainty, recognizes contextual bounds and considers multiple plausible, causal explanation for events and circumstances”.

What do tattoos and learning styles have in common?


Similar to tattoos, learning styles are a preference. Learning styles do not limit one’s learning ability unless as an educator we limit the learner’s exposure to the many learning styles available.

Believing that your learners will only learn in one specific style limits their opportunity to develop and grow as a learner and is not much better than the person who stereotypes someone merely due to their expression of self through tattoos.


Balancing Learning Styles


Nurses come in various forms, shapes and learning styles. I have always held to the belief that nursing is a member of the arts and science and as such nurses need to be visual and audiory learners, primarily. As today’s nursing model shifts more towards the Licensed Practical Nurse (and more trade-like) and further away from the Registered Nurse model as educators in the workplace, we need to shift our teaching strategies.

Maryellen Weimer’s (2014) article on learning styles very grounding as it put the concept of learning styles into perspective.

Weimer, (2014) states, “The point is not to match teaching style to learning styles but rather to achieve balance, making sure that each style preference is addressed to a reasonable extent during instruction.”

You will have a mix of learning styles and there is a number of free assessments to determine yours, try this one:

This short summary outlines how different parts of the brain are engaged with different learning styles

This paper from the Journal of Social Sciences provides a little more in-depth understanding of the effect of learning styles on teaching.