The Nursing Educator Program at the Van Loan School at Endicott College gives nurses the tools they need to create dynamic and insightful educational programs for an evolving field.
Shannon Vandevoordt, who is graduating with her Master of Science in Nursing Education this month, fits that mold perfectly as we celebrate National Nurses Week, May 6–12, as well as International Nurses Day on Sunday, May 12.
“Shannon is passionate about women's health and the role of professionals in the care of women. Her qualitative research focuses on Mothers’ Perceptions of the Impact of a Six-week Provider Facilitated Parenting Education Series on Transition into Motherhood,” says Nancy Meedzan, dean of the School of Nursing. Adds Barbara Moloney, associate director of master’s nursing program, “My experience is that she’s a conscientious student with a scholarly approach. She would always critically evaluate and give a well-rounded answer. She’s creative and passionate about what she does. She continues to make the nursing department proud.”
"Shannon is passionate about women's health and the role of professionals in the care of women."
Let’s hear from Vandevoordt, in her own words, about her experience in nursing and at Endicott.
Why did you pick Endicott for your master's and why did you choose the nurse educator program?
I heard from a colleague that Endicott had a nursing master’s program that offered different tracks, so I decided to look into the school and see if maybe it would be a good fit. I was most interested in the educator track because I truly enjoyed mentoring new hire nurses at Atrius Health and liked working with students when I was a staff nurse at Beth Israel. When I met with the associate director of the program, Barbara Moloney, I was only planning to maybe take a class and see if I was able to juggle a class, work, and a baby. By the time I left her office she had inspired me to commit to earning a master’s in nursing with a concentration in education.
How has the master's program been?
Combining this program with being a mother and working full-time has turned out to be one of the most challenging things I have ever done, but I am so glad I did it. I have definitely been in over my head on more than one occasion in the last 16 months, and even though it felt overwhelming at times it has really shown me what I am truly capable of accomplishing. Though challenging, the accelerated nature of the program helped me stay on track, and I always felt like graduation was in sight. I have found the faculty to be incredibly supportive. Dean Meedzan has even talked to me over the phone on a Sunday when I have questions or concerns about my research thesis. The support and encouragement I received from the faculty has been a major contributor to my success in the program.
Shannon Vandevoordt M'19
Talk about your professional development program and research. What is it and how has it gone?
I did my education internship with a prenatal and postpartum education company, Boston NAPS, LLC. For my teaching project my preceptor was looking for a way to educate her registered nurse staff about breastfeeding and pumping basics so that they could provide strong support for women who had hired the company for postpartum support but did not need a lactation consultant. The challenging piece was how to deliver the education materials to the nurses. The employees from Boston NAPS are not centrally located and have varying schedules as many of them also work as staff nurses in Boston. To overcome this challenge, I created a learning module of breastfeeding and pumping basics that could be emailed to the nurses and completed at home. The slide show delivers content through written information, pictures, and an instructional video about breast pumps that I created and edited at home. I used Google Forms to create a 10-question assessment at the end of the module. Feedback for the assessment is immediately available to nurses who take the test, and since I created the form I am able to see who has taken the test and their score. Barbara Maloney was incredibly supportive through this process and encouraged me to submit the slide show to be approved for continuing education credit through the Massachusetts and Rhode Island League for Nursing. The program was approved for 2.5 contact hours and can be used by Boston NAPS to educate new nurses for the next two years.
Since I was already spending a large amount of time with Boston NAPS, I decided to do my research thesis with them as well. The company offers a six-week provider-facilitated parenting education and support group, Mom’s Survival Guide. The purpose of my research was to better understand what impact a course such as this one has on women as they transition into motherhood. I conducted a descriptive qualitative study that sampled 11 women from different Mom’s Survival Guide classes who had finished the series within the last two months. Every mother brought her baby, which brought a certain level of authenticity to the focus group. Among other things, the women reported that they gained confidence in their parenting skills, effective strategies for communication with their partner and other family members, permission to be flexible with their expectations of motherhood, and a safe place to discuss challenges and concerns. Dean Meedzan was an integral part of the success of the research project–she expertly guided me through the process of gaining approval through the Endicott College Internal Review Board and provided me with excellent feedback throughout the project.
What are your future goals based on your experience in this program?
I would really like to continue creating educational materials and modules that students and professionals can access at home. The master’s program at Endicott was quite student-centered, which worked well for me as a working parent. The program really showed me how much students can learn and accomplish when provided with the right educational materials and faculty support. I would love to help other adults fit furthering their education into their already busy lives.
Interested in shaping nursing education programs of the future? Learn more about what Van Loan has to offer at endicott.edu.