Nursing education was once a top-down, teachercentered affair, where infallible experts would talk and impressionable students would listen. As in other facets of education, nursing has progressively turned to a more studentcentered approach where learners are engaged and become proactive in the process. Jane Mighton was an early pioneer in transforming nursing education and continues to push the boundaries of creativity and practical hands-on teaching as her longtime professional calling.
Starting out as a Staff Nurse in Yellowknife, Jane switched early on to instruction for a long term care program in northern British Columbia; moving to Vancouver in the 1980s to take on a Nurse Clinician role at Shaughnessy Hospital in specialty roles, she returned to a nurse educator role shortly thereafter, taking on a long-term position as a Nurse Educator at Langara College. She has taught diploma and baccalaureate programs, helping nursing education evolve at the institution.
“Jane pioneered a big change in nursing education from the ‘sage on the stage’ method to using interactive and practical learning methods to engage learning within our program,” says Langara College School of Nursing Chair Janine Lennox. “She regularly combs the recent literature to find ideas.”
For example, she has students develop a ‘reverse case study’, where students are given only a few pieces of information about a patient such as a list of medications; students must then extrapolate from this information, determining potential health challenges and developing a nursing care plan. This is now used to promote critical thinking in practice settings. In addition, she initiated an EASY Guide to assist students and faculty in developing consistency in writing feedback — critical for improving practice and protocols over the long term.
Jane was also an early adopter of hands-on, practical learning that goes beyond the textbooks. “Long before simulation or moulage was envisioned, Jane created many pressure ulcer models that could be attached to mannequins,” Lennox says. This allowed students to practice complex wound care realistically — a big win for improving patient care. That said, Jane is not shy about incorporating technology and online learning where practical, such as encouraging the development of blogs within clinical courses and using learning management systems to standardize some elements of health care training.
Colleagues and students often see Jane going above and beyond the call of duty. “During her vacation time, she volunteered to replace a faculty member who had taken an unanticipated leave,” recalls Nurse Alice Endrizzi. Stepping into the term midsemester, she became the practice educator in an unfamiliar setting with a new group of students. By the end of the term, Jane’s students were extremely thankful for her contributions to their learning, which prepared them to practice safely on an oncology unit.
Jane’s extraordinary abilities as a nursing education instructor come from genuine experience as an exceptional registered nurse. “Jane is a practice expert in both medical and surgical nursing care, readily sharing her knowledge with staff and students,” says Nurse Educator Jaswinder Bassi. As an educator, mentor and role model, Jane leaves us a legacy of better nursing care benefiting countless patients.