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My MSN specialized in Nursing Education and my teaching interests include the adult learner and creative teaching strategies such as the online learning environment. My nursing experience includes medical/surgical, emergency nursing, obstetrics - including labor and delivery, newborn care, and postpartum care - and occupational health and wellness nursing. I remain connected to obstetrics through teaching a childbirth and breastfeeding education class to expectant mothers.
I am raising my family in a rural community and have a passion for quality rural health care that meets the needs of all community members. I am a hockey mom who loves spending time with my husband and children on our boat and camping - we try to laugh with each other every single day.
My teaching philosophy is based on the concept that learning needs to be centered on each individual student while encouraging them to be self-motivated to maximize their learning opportunities. My role as a learner-centered instructor is to foster a positive learning environment that facilitates student learning through the use of multiple types of teaching exercises and activities (Blumberg, 2009). Active participation in learning encourages students to become critical thinkers which is an essential part of the nursing process that cannot be learned by instructors telling students what they need to know, rather this skill is built through student interaction in classroom activities that builds on students knowledge (Billings Halstead, 2009).
I believe personal interaction with all students and open communication that includes student-teacher dialogue creates opportunities for learning that cannot be reached through basic lecture format. Not only will I encourage open communication within the classroom setting, I will also put forth communication that is clear and concise so all students are aware of what they can expect from me as their instructor as well as what I will expect from them as the learner. I plan to incorporate a humanistic approach to my teaching style and will expect students to do the same while they are learning as this type of education encourages honesty, integrity, respect, caring, and accepting responsibility (Billings & Halstead, 2009). Using a learner-centered model with a humanistic approach encourages students of all diversities to be actively involved in classroom discussions through the use of personal stories and experiences - all of which encourage me as the instructor to be an ongoing learner. As an equal partner in the learning process, I will maintain a strong work ethic and high professional standards while remaining passionate about the field of nursing and understanding of my students individual needs and desires.
Billings, D. M., & Halstead, J. A. (2009). Teaching in nursing: A guide for faculty (3rd ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders.
Blumberg, P. (2009). Developing learner-centered teaching. San Fransisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Dr. Kemnitz has baccalaureate degrees in Biology and Nursing from Carroll University and the University of WIsconsin Oshkosh respectively. He received his PhD in physiology from Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI in 1994 with a specialization in neurophysiology and completed a Masters of Nursing Education in 2015 at Western Governors University. Dr. Kemnitz has extensive collegiate teaching experience in biology and nursing and has been the recipient of several awards and honors including the Max Levine Award for Excellence in Scholarship, the Daisy Award for Teaching Excellence in Nursing, and is a Minnesota Hartford Geriatric Nursing Scholar and FLAG fellow. Nationally, Dr. Kemnitz is a recognized subject matter expert in anatomy & physiology and nursing and is a consultant for the American Council on Education. Dr. Kemnitz has published and presented many articles in basic science and educational practices. He continues to pursue his interests in geriatrics and nursing education. Most recently Dr. Kemnitz was selected as a Sigma Theta Tau International Rising Star for his masters thesis work on nursing student clinical evaluation.
Patricia Nielsen, known to all of us as "PZ" is celebrating her thirty-fifth year in nursing. She has a Bachelor's Degree in psychology from Eisenhower College, an Associates Degree in Nursing from the State University of New York - Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse, New York, a Master's of Science Degree from Yale University, where she became a Cardiovascular Clinical Nurse Specialist. After several years of practice PZ completed the Family Nurse Practitioner Program at Regis University in Denver. PZ started out as a staff nurse in the VA system working on a medical-neurological unit and after a few months, moved into intensive care nursing. Upon completing her master's degree, PZ held several positions in nursing education and nursing administration. Her highest level of achievement in that area was as Acting Vice President for Nursing Practice at a private 300 bed hospital in California. Other parts of her eclectic career that she recalls with great joy include working at a destination ski area in Colorado, providing primary care at a large HMO in the Denver area and now being a faculty member of the Nursing team at the College of St. Scholastica. PZ has received three Bush grants to develop online courses using a WebCT platform and was hired by the Minnesota Partnerships for training to develop an online WebCT based graduate research class. Recently she and a group of post baccalaureate nursing students spent two weeks in Belize providing health care to impoverished indigenous peoples. When asked what she has liked the best, PZ responds, "the patients and the students."
As a practicing Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, I have developed a passion for working with people who are living with a variety of mental illnesses. This field of nursing has a lot to offer with it's unique experiences and varied settings. The mentally ill are one of the most underserved populations in the country; and, while the number of people diagnosed with mental illnesses continues to grow, the number of nurses who work with this population are declining.
From an academic perspective, I would like to bring more focus to mental health issues of adults and better educate nursing students to work with them in a clinical setting. Current trends show that many patients in the hospital have a psychiatric illness that coincides with their medical problems and makes it more difficult to provide effective care for them. Students need to be able to identify these patients and develop nursing interventions specific to their medical and mental health needs to ensure optimal healing.
I believe that students learn and retain material better if they can find a meaningful connection between the material and their life experiences. It is that belief that drives my use of active learning in the classroom and clinical settings. Rather than using a traditional style of lecture, I have students complete the reading and other individual assignments outside of class, so we can focus on applying the material during class. I provide a variety of real life examples during class to help students make emotional connections with the material being discussed. In addition, I offer a clinical experience that is guided by nurses working in mental health, so students are able to participate first hand in caring for patients with mental illnesses.
Chair of the Post-baccalaureate nursing program since 2007. I am a Certified Nurse Practitioner in pediatrics with over twenty years of pediatric experience. Teaching interests include adult learners, curriculum development and evaluation, and active, collaborative teaching strategies. Research interests, including doctoral work, include collaborative testing as a learning strategy in nursing education and socialization behaviors of nursing students. Enjoys sewing, reading, and hiking in the north woods with her husband and three dogs.