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"Women in Higher Education" featured Dr. Harriet Feldman of the College of Health Professions, Pace University in "Nursing Educator Builds Future Generations"

04/10/2018

"Women in Higher Education" featured Dr. Harriet Feldman of the College of Health Professions, Pace University in "Nursing Educator Builds Future Generations"

As the United States faces a nursing crisis, Dr. Harriet Feldman of the College of Health Professions/Lienhard School of Nursing Pace University NY works to educate not only nurses who will fill crucial roles in contemporary health care, but also develop nursing educators who will keep the field thriving. Throughout her years at Pace, Feldman, who is dean and professor of the nursing school, has sought innovative ways to grow the nursing profession as well as increase diversity.

Early Career
Like many women in the mid-1960s, after high school Feldman enrolled in a nursing program. Shortly before graduating the diploma program, a faculty member suggested she continue her education and pursue a bachelor’s degree. Wanting to get to work, she took a job, but also decided to take one course. That course made her want to continue her education.

As Feldman progressed, leaders in nursing kept encouraging her to push further—earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She didn’t see herself as a future leader, but she enjoyed the education and found a passion for nursing. Toward the end of her master’s program, she was asked if she wanted to teach, so she did a bit of it while finishing her master’s and then became a full-time instructor.

After getting married and starting a family, she went back into clinical practice, but part of her role was teaching hospital staff. Feldman began to see the bigger picture—not only was she having an impact on the patients with whom she directly interacted, but, through training others, she was having an impact on many other patients as well. She made the decision to commit to a career in nursing education—earning a doctorate and taking on greater and greater leadership roles.

Changes in Nursing
Since the late 1960s, Feldman has been a proponent of moving nursing forward and giving the profession greater prestige. The first graduate course she taught was in change theory.

“I had taken a similar course myself, but teaching it was such a different kind of experience—preparing for it, working closely with the students,” says Feldman. “That set the stage for my interest in making change for the greater good. My path early in my career and even now is because I’m a risk-taker. I like the idea of making an impact and doing something to help this profession.”

In 1993, Feldman became dean of Pace’s Lienhard School of Nursing, and with that, her influence solidified. Thanks to forward-thinking educators, nursing has evolved, starting with more stringent educational requirements to become a registered nurse. Today’s nursing requires more critical thinking and evidence-based practice.

“The thing that’s changed the whole landscape is the technology that we use in health care,” Feldman says. “I don’t mean just the electronic records, but the equipment. The changes help inform people so they can make better decisions.”

Pace was an early adopter of technology in the curriculum,\ such as blackboard sites. This enabled the development of hybrid (mixing online and onsite) graduate courses as well as online courses. Feldman keeps informed on technological advances and tries to introduce them at Pace as soon as possible.

Feldman says faculty members have been committed to making Pace’s nursing program stellar. Data is gathered and analyzed on student success. The professors have been open to revising curricula and approaches so as to maximize student outcomes—the goal being 100 percent success on licensure exams. It’s also important to ensure the faculty have all the tools they need.

“I send them to conferences regularly for development in terms of teaching strategies and content,” says Feldman. “People have said how welcome they feel here and how the culture is so supportive.”

Read the full article.