A conversation with her grandfather changed Lorraine Betts’ mind. Initially dreaming about being a Paediatrician, she studied to become a nurse and share her knowledge with others. Before entering university in 1983, Lorraine was already a swimming instructor and a life guard. Therefore, teaching and helping are her words of honour.
“I had to do things wrongly so I can figure out what I need to do right and master that skill”
Assuming we don’t know everything and understanding that any kind of emergency can happen, it is crucial for nurses and educators to keep refreshing their knowledge.
“It’s the curiosity to be better that makes me want to do it again”, Lorraine explains.
Due to her knowledge and experience, Lorraine always asks herself “why did the patient get that condition?” or “What did I miss here?”. And she doesn’t rest until she clearly understands it.
Thinking critically about the reasons behind mistakes helps her to become a better teacher and capable of responding to her students’ questions. However, she always prefers to challenge students to figure it out together.
“Students need to have a bit of knowledge in order to behave appropriately”
Lorraine believes the “learning process comes in the debriefing”, so she never leaves her students alone. Depending on their level, students might identify what they got right and wrong. However, she wonders if they’re able to “make the connection” about “why was it wrong?”.
As an educator, she recognizes that she has to teach everything with a lot of precision and detail, however it’s also important to make students understand that “they might never have the ability or the time to ask as many questions as they were taught”.
“I like simulation because I have to know things that I can’t practice on a real patient”
After 10 years of working as an emergency nurse, she became a preceptor for nursing students. Invited by an old teacher, Lorraine took the future nurses “under her wing” and mentored them during their final placement.
In 2002, she became a full-time teacher at George Brown College, in Canada. Embraced by the teaching and learning binomial, Lorraine desires “flipping the way of teaching”. Not because she believes she isn’t doing a great job, but because she’s convinced that “she can do better”.
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By taking advantage of all the simulation teaching tools available, educators worldwide are able to provide students with “opportunities to experience” and test themselves.
If she could go back in time, Lorraine would say to herself to “soak up as much as possible”. After all, the more you learn, the more confidence you build to put your hands on, to try and to do it correctly. “Better confidence leads to better nurses at the end of the day”, Lorraine concludes.