Actively Working in the Field They Teach

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One of the many great things about FranU's programs is that students learn from professors who are actively working in the fields they teach, getting taught the most current information, which puts them ahead for their future careers.

Ross Castille, Program Director of Nurse anesthesia, teaches Principles of Anesthesia Practice IV -This course extensively studies selected advanced anesthesia concepts. Emphasis is on the anesthesia implications and management of patients with various pathologic complexities and associated surgical procedures, including cardiac, pulmonary, vascular, organ transplantation and procurement anesthesia.

He is credentialed and on staff at Baton Rouge General Medical Center and Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. He practices one day a week in the clinical environment.

He said that working actively in the field he teaches ensures not only that he is providing students with the most current concepts and knowledge in academia but also providing them with real-life examples and experiences.

"These real-life experiences help bridge the gap between didactics and clinical concepts, which allows students to gain a deeper understanding of the material. I think it also lends to improving your credibility with students who see you as not just a professor or academic who can't work in the clinical environment but someone who chose to be in academics after an extensive clinical career."

He also said that having professors who practice clinically helps build relationships with clinical sites, administrators and other CRNAs. "This leads to improved clinical experiences for students and sites while strengthening partnerships with our university. Our all-doctoral-prepared faculty CRNAs are on staff at many different facilities allowing us to practice clinically with many students at different locations. This also allows us to 'practice what we preach' and working with our students in the clinical environment further solidifies concepts and didactic instruction."

Research Director and Associate Professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Phil Page teaches Biomechanics & Functional Anatomy, Exercise Physiology, Gait Analysis, Therapeutic Exercise and Modalities, and Research. He also directs all the scholarly projects of students and manages the Sports PT elective.

Page has been a PT for almost 30 years. While his main job has been industry research and education for the past 25 years, he has continued to keep his licenses and see a few patients occasionally. He said that students love hearing stories about patient experiences. Sharing that experience with students helps them retain the information since he teaches with real-world examples. He thinks working with patients keeps him grounded and realistic about what students should be prepared for in the real world.

"We consistently hear how great our students are in the clinic, and I think that reflects directly on the fact that all our faculty have actively treated patients for many years. Our students are well-prepared for the clinic because we provide a pragmatic view of practice rather than a textbook version. Staying current in our fields also provides students with unique clinical learning opportunities nationwide in top affiliation sites," stated Page.

Kristin Martin, director of clinical education for the family nurse practitioner program, teaches the senior-level practicum courses in which students complete clinical rotations at various sites.

She started her nursing career as a registered nurse in 1991, became board-certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner in 2008, and achieved her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in 2014. She began her career as an Assistant Professor in the FNP program at FranU in January 2017, which coincided with the first class of FNP students. She continues active practice as an FNP one day per week in a clinic for the uninsured in Ascension Parish.

She thinks that continued work as a nurse practitioner helps to demonstrate competence in clinical practice and helps to maintain current knowledge on patient management. Continued work in the field provides faculty with first-hand, current knowledge of the daily changes associated with patient care.

"I believe that active clinical practice is essential to best assist students in applying knowledge to the complex healthcare environment we see today. I also think that active practice makes faculty more relatable. This is not a program of just 'Do what I say, but Do what I do,'" concluded Martin.

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