An effective nurse educator must be a facilitator, not just a source of knowledge. Rather than reinventing the wheel each time, a great instructor helps students share their own knowledge and experiences to improve the learning of the entire group. Throughout her career of nursing and clinical education in a wide range of health fields, Sandra Harris has engaged others in countless learning opportunities to sustain excellent patient care.
Sandra is Manager of the BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre’s Child Birth Education Program, where she has developed strong leadership across the organization. Previously, she was a Project Lead on PHSA’s Educator Pathway Pilot Project, headed the Employed Student Nurse Program, and acted as a senior leader for Clinical Education and other positions where her skills as an instructor, leader and professional nurse were at the forefront. She has demonstrated excellence time and again as an education program planner, course designer, facilitator and evaluator.
“Sandra is a champion for practice education and goes above and beyond in working with staff and academic partners, “and was instrumental in achieving a 30 percent increase over five years in the number of nursing student placement hours,” says Grace Mickelson, RN.
She is also an exceptional leader when it comes to program delivery, recently serving as PHSA lead on a working group aiming to launch an online Student Practice Education Orientation Program, which brought together education leaders from Vancouver Coastal Health, Providence Health Care, Fraser Health and PHSA. “Thanks to the success of this program, PHSA benefits from a streamlined and comprehensive orientation process and greater student understanding of key policies,” Mickelson says.
Sandra is an innovator when it comes to keeping students engaged. For instance, she helped plan a series of hospital-wide nursing education days with an ‘Amazing Race’ theme. “Feedback from staff was exceptionally positive and they showed they had learned many new skills,” says Marion Clauson, RN. As Program Educator, she also created a program of OSCE-style stations for learning, case study, self-study and lecture-style formats.
The best nursing educators are also lifelong learners and Sandra has built her expertise through many professional development opportunities. She has taken many coaching courses and workshops such as Coaching Out of the Box and Train the Trainer. She’s also constantly learning and participating outside of a clinical setting in many professional associations, such as the Canadian Burn Association, Pediatric Nursing Group of B.C. and BC Nursing Practice Leaders.
“Sandra is a visionary, not afraid to implement her innovative and progressive ideas into nursing education when developing education resources,” says Clinical Nurse Leader Khirsty MacArthur. “While many departments at the hospital are undergoing restructuring and nurses are experiencing significant changes in their roles, Sandra has facilitated change and encouraged her colleagues to make big transitions in the workplace.” An expert mentor and educator with a wealth of nursing knowledge, Sandra possesses the wisdom to know how best to share this knowledge for the benefit of patients across our province.