RNAO Fellowships

Steve Cairns

RN, BScN, Bed, MEd
Co-sponsor Organization
Nippising University
Research Theme

An Exploration of Relational Practice in Online Nursing Education – Approaches and Insights

The AMS/RNAO fellowship core theme I have chosen is education. The focus for my learning is to build and evaluate instructional capacity for relational practice within technology enabled learning among undergraduate nursing students.

My intent of this fellowship experience is to reflect deeply on how my experience of being in relation in the teaching and learning relationship with online students develops my relational capacities as a teacher with a particular focus on how I experience the nuances of the capacity for compassion. My learning questions are:  1. How do I as an educator, experience “being in relation” (relationality) in the teaching and learning of nursing with my students as co-learners within the context of an online learning platform? 2. What are instructional opportunities to humanize the student / instructor engagement experience in online nursing education? 3. Can an online teaching / learning experience empower compassion among nursing students for each other and within their experience as relational practitioners?

I have been an online instructor within the RPN to BScN Blended Nursing Program at Nipissing University, participating in the first cohort of nursing students in 2009.  Over the past 7 years I have experienced tension in how to express and experience authentic relationship among online nursing students while providing a flexible learning environment. Many students seem to opt out of instructor engagement and I want to further my understanding of the online student-instructor experience of relationship and explore methods and approaches towards a transformational experience of relational practice in online learning.