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KCC Faculty on Teaching

KCC Faculty on Teaching


Q&A with Joan M. Zaloom| Nursing

How did you get into teaching?
I didn't know that I liked teaching – or was even an effective teacher – until I became a registered nurse. I found that I enjoyed orienting new nurses to my unit and teaching them the skills they needed to succeed. When I was asked to join the Nursing Education Department at the hospital where I was working, I did.

What career did you imagine for yourself when you were in college?
I always knew I wanted to be a nurse. I went to Staten Island Community College right after high school and started in their nursing program. (Staten Island Community College and Richmond College merged in 1976 to form CUNY’s The College of Staten Island.) I knew this was the career for me and continued my education until I received my master's degree.

What do you love about teaching?
I enjoy giving back to the profession that has taught me so many things over the years. It is my pleasure to share everything I have learned and being part of a student's journey into becoming a registered nurse, also known as an RN. It brings me genuine joy when I teach students that are enthusiastic and engaged in learning “everything nursing.”

What’s your favorite teaching experience?
My favorite teaching experience is when a student has graduated and lets me know when he or she has passed the NCLEX, the National Council Licensure Examination, used to determine if recently graduated nursing students are qualified to practice. That is when I know I have done my job well, especially when they tell me, "I heard your voice in my head during the entire exam telling me what to do. Thank you!"

In what ways do you bring your professional experience into the classroom?
I use the same skills as a nurse and as an educator: a lot of knowledge, a lot of patience, a lot of humor and a lot of flexibility!

What advice do you have for current students?
In the words of Florence Nightingale, “Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation as any painter’s or sculptor’s work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God’s spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts.”  So yes, students, you will have to be devoted no matter the challenge or sacrifice or obstacle. But if you ask me if it’s worth it, my answer every time will be yes!