I teach graduate students in a fully online asynchronous nursing program. This means interactions with
students consist mostly of written text and short, recorded videos, and face-to-face interaction is rare.
The online environment provides limited opportunities to form personal relationships, share God, and
serve as a Christian role model. I valued the relationships I had developed with my face-to-face students
and the positive influence I was able to have on their lives academically, professionally, and personally
before I became an online educator exclusively. I needed to find a comparable way to engage with my
online students. I presented to God through prayer my uncertainty about how to engage with my online
students as a Christian faculty. He, in turn, provided and continues to provide me His strength to
demonstrate engagement through three simple acts of Christian love—empathy, grace, and prayer—to
positively influence students.
With God’s presence in my heart, I use empathy, grace, and prayer to connect with my students on a
personal level despite the physical separation. My students are professional nurses working full-time
while also juggling the demands of school and family. Extending empathy and grace, truly understanding
their busy lives and working with them individually to be successful, not only provides them a positive
academic experience but also demonstrates their importance to me and nursing, my appreciation for
their dedication, and most of all, God’s love for them as His children. As I learn of my students’
difficulties, fears, or high stress, I encourage my students with positive affirmations, tell them I
will pray for them, and then I pray for my students both individually and collectively. When a student
displays frustration inappropriately after receiving undesirable feedback, I extend empathy and grace. I
remember it is not personal toward me, but its personal for them and so I calmly and consistently
communicate to help them see the good in their work, and then help them develop a solid plan for
improvement. I also provide a consistent reminder that God is present in my life, my teaching,
and their lives when I wish them a blessed week in every weekly announcement. My students positively
benefit when God remains at the center of my interactions with them. It is my hope they will be drawn
to Him as they witness my dependence on and faith in God demonstrated through my prayers for them.
God’s presence in my life allow me to demonstrate these simple acts of Christian love to my students. I
found through my relationship with God and through the acts of empathy, grace, and prayer, I
adequately and confidentially engage with my students, help them be successful, and positively
influence my students’ lives in the online environment. There is great power in God’s presence and I
have witnessed how the acts of empathy, grace, and prayer move beyond my students’ ears and
penetrate their hearts.
Favorite Scripture: Philippians 4:6 (NIV) Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Friends describe me
Caring, direct, passionate, and fun
Pure Barre and Pilates (great stress reliever!); horseback riding; watching movies; and cooking.
Fantasy dinner guests
Hmmmm...too many to name just one.
Best advice I ever received
My worst subject in school
If I weren't a professor, I would
None - Country girl at heart
Nobody knows I
Not sure because I'm pretty open.
My latest accomplishment
Personally - finally painted that room!!
Professionally - grants to fund archive research!
Nursing history and nursing education research studying the professional identity and role development of the entry-level nurse.
Current funded study - studying the educational quality of early 20th century correspondence courses (distance education) in nursing.
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