by Sheryl Marlar

Dr. Ethel Santiago loves the notion of caring at the University of West Georgia, saying she sees members of the faculty live it every day.

Dr. Ethel SantiagoSantiago, assistant professor of nursing in the Tanner Health System School of Nursing, recently presented her research at the Southern Nursing Research Society Conference in Atlanta.

Santiago’s research, titled “Lived Experience of Registered Nurse Preceptor Participation in a Blended Preceptor Course,” is focused on finding the lived experiences of RN preceptors who have participated in a blended preceptor course. In a blended preceptor course, some class time is face-to-face and some is online.

“In this era of engaging in different teaching and learning modalities, it is important for nurse educators to understand the experience of learning from the perspective of the student,” Santiago said. “The training of registered nurses is important as they serve as clinical educators for nursing students and nurse orientees.”

Santiago’s research asks the question of how nurse preceptors—those who serve dual roles as practitioners and educators—can retain the information they learned in a blended course, rather than a strictly face-to-face course.

The health care system has long used the face-to-face module to train the people who will teach nurses and nursing students, but is now moving to a blended course.

“This is where the lived experience comes in,” Santiago explained. “How did they feel about it, what was it like for them, and were they able to cope? If it isn’t effective, we need to know. We can learn from those who have experienced this learning style.”

Santiago’s research found preceptors are satisfied with the blended learning approach, but it isn’t without its challenges. Obstacles such as difficulties in accessing the online course and a lack of engagement in online learning were noted.

Conclusions showed blended learning is an effective teaching style, but it’s imperative that preceptors receive knowledge to enhance the preceptorship experience and positively impact learning.

Santiago feels well prepared for her work teaching and researching in UWG’s Tanner Health System School of Nursing.

When Santiago enrolled at UWG for her RN-BSN degree, it had been 10 years since she had earned her associate degree in nursing from Georgia Perimeter College in 1997.

“I came to UWG because of the caring philosophy here,” Santiago said. “It took me 10 years to go back to school, and I needed someone to hold my hand, offer me the support I needed and tell me I could do it. I got that here.”

Santiago would go on to earn her master’s degree in nursing and Ed.D. in 2009 and 2017, respectively.

“The faculty here embrace and live the notion of caring,” Santiago concluded. “UWG cares about you as a student.”

Posted on May 29, 2018