Nurse Educator Education Project experiences

Ethics and Nurse Educators’ Work – Utilising Case-studies in Ethics Education

Authors: Ľuboslava Pavelová, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra & Imane Elonen, University of Turku

“My first “gentle” touch with the subject of ethics was at the beginning of my Nursing studies in 1988 (I have a nostalgic smile on my face right now). Initially it was an uninteresting subject for me, based on theory and philosophy only and I couldn’t really understand.”

Ethics education, as all education, has traditionally been lecture based in all health sciences and in nursing. Furthermore, it was more focused on theoretical knowledge on philosophical base of ethics and learning the codes, rather than engaging in ethical problem solving or providing tools to do that. (Woods, 2005.)

“ Subsequently, as a nurse in clinical practice, I knew about the code of ethics, I respected the four main principles in the provision of nursing care and somehow intuitively solved ethical issues, dilemmas.”

Education in health sciences and ethics, has come a long way since and there is great amount of information on evidence based teaching in ethics. Problem based learning (PBL), Case based learning (CBL), simulations, games and others (Opsahl et al., 2020; Herron et al., 2019; Namadi et al., 2019; Srinivasan et al., 2007).

The study unit Ethics and Nurse Educators’ Work, which was the final of the five study units forming the Empowering Nurse Educators in the Changing World (ENEC) study programme organized by the Erasmus+ funded project “New Nurse Educator”, utilised case-studies as the method of teaching. Knowing the effectiveness of CBL (Herron et al., 2019; Namadi et al., 2019), the organizers wanted to ensure the participants don’t only learn ethics of nurse educators but may also rediscover the effectiveness and acceptability of CBL in ethics education.

CBL has its benefits in teaching ethics, especially in time constricted, fairly intensive study units, as the study units within the ENEC study programme (Herron et al., 2019; Namadi et al., 2019 Srinivasan et al., 2007). Compared to similarly effective method, PBL, CBL provides clearer structure and more streamlined approach, enabling students to reach conclusion with less time and effort, yet demanding them to develop their problem solving skills and engage in collaborative inquiry to reach their goal (Srinivasan et al., 2007). CBL has been proven an effective and preferable method in ethics education, and it equips the students with necessary problem solving skills (Namadi et al., 2019).

“Later, as a teacher, I introduced the students – future nurses to the moral, ethical requirements, rules, principles to be followed in the performance of daily nursing activities. Being “here” today in 2022 (I have a satisfactory smile on my face) I am at the end of graduating from the educational module “ethics and nurse educators work” within the Empowering the nurse educators in the changing world (ENEC) – study program. My role as a teacher enriched by the fact that the current, dynamically evolving time demands in the educational process to not only use the classical teaching methods, but also less traditional ones. Those that can inspire and make students to work independently, in finding appropriate solutions to ethical issues and dilemmas in diligence. “

In addition to traditional word based case scenarios, there are promising results, in utilising case videos, they may further enhance both learning and acceptability in students (Herron et al, 2019). The study unit “Ethics and Nurse Educators’ Work” was completed by majority of the registered students. The case studies were engaging and students represented their cases during the final webinar of the whole one-year ENEC programme, prompting fascinating and inspiring international discussions, which hopefully will inspire the educators and educator candidates further in their educator careers.

“I want to set my work to a new direction. I am empowered to promote a culture of ethical behaviour for students – future nurses. I am ready to talk to students about ethics and adherence to ethical principles, to encourage them to discuss their concerns about their ethical dilemmas without fear of retaliation. I support open and continuous communication between us and I want to act as a positive role model for them. Thank you for this opportunity!”

Srinivasan, M., Wilkes, M., Stevenson, F., Nguyen, T., & Slavin, S. (2007). Comparing problem-based learning with case-based learning: effects of a major curricular shift at two institutions. Academic Medicine, 82(1), 74-82.

Namadi F, Hemmati-Maslakpak M, Moradi Y, Ghasemzadeh N. The effects of nursing ethics education through case-based learning on moral reasoning among nursing students. Nurs Midwifery Stud 2019;8:85-90

Opsahl, A., Nelson, T., Madeira, J., & Wonder, A. H. (2020). Evidence‐Based, Ethical Decision‐Making: Using Simulation to Teach the Application of Evidence and Ethics in Practice. Worldviews on EvidenceBased Nursing, 17(6), 412-417.

Herron, E. K., Powers, K., Mullen, L., & Burkhart, B. (2019). Effect of case study versus video simulation on nursing students’ satisfaction, self-confidence, and knowledge: A quasi-experimental study. Nurse education today, 79, 129-134.

Woods, M. (2005). Nursing ethics education: are we really delivering the good (s)?. Nursing ethics, 12(1), 5-18.

Project experiences

New Ways Of Working On An Erasmus+ Project During The Covid-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learnt So Far

Author of the blog post is Dr. Michelle Camilleri from University of Malta.

When I was invited by my boss to join the New Nurse Educator Erasmus+ project back in September 2020 to represent Malta as one of the partners I immediately said yes without giving it, or Covid-19 much thought.  My passion for learning in practice, the development of nurse educators and nurse mentors probably clouded my judgement at the time, especially as the previous 6 months had been a very stressful and intense time. Like everyone else, I had been restricted to my home, juggling the kids online schooling, my own online work and the immense extra work the rapidly evolving Covid-19 pandemic created due to the restrictions, cancelled placements, academics requiring quick online teaching tutorials as well as the numerous unknowns that this virus brought with it.  Luckily, the European Commission allowed virtual exchange in (partial) replacement of physical exchange under the Erasmus+ mobility programme, so the project was able to start and continue (European University Association, 2020).

The thought of getting on a airplane at various moments during the academic year to meet up with other like-minded partners and work on our planned project was very enticing, and after having had an extremely stressful 6 months of “Covid-19 life”, I was looking forward to getting back to the normality of international work and travel! Only Covid-19 seems to be lingering around much longer than any of us wished! As I write this today, we have just completed our first year of the 3 year project without ever having met as a team in person. Like most other professionals, academics and students, our work became zoomified. There was no kick off meeting in Turku  and to this day, I have not yet had the opportunity to get to know each and every member of this project.

I would say at this point that this first year has been remarkably productive and interesting. The technology and everyone’s ability to use the technology was a huge asset. Furthermore, although we didn’t know each and every member on the project team, it was evident that several members were connected, possibly through previous international projects, exchange of students and/or other academic endeavours such as shared teaching, external examination and so on.  I didn’t know anyone on the project (apart from my boss), especially because I only joined after the application was worked on, submitted and approved.

Connecting with various members was difficult online, as coffee breaks and lunch breaks are those precious moments during international in person meetings, where you get to chit chat with different people and get to learn about them, what makes them tick and to perhaps continue with the discussions that would have just taken place prior to the break.  Consciously, I know that I have to work harder to get to know colleagues on this project in a very different way to what I am used to!  The social element of connecting within the professional world is so important and valuable, and the zoomification of our work on this project has truly highlighted the role that the social element plays in productivity and success. 

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Instead of coffee breaks, we talked about the weather, we talked about Covid-19 numbers, Covid-19 deaths as well as the latest restrictions or freedoms within our countries, and we talked about our nursing programmes, particularly how our students and academics were helping with contact tracing and vaccinations. Every meeting started with social covid-19 conversations, which in reality were wellbeing conversations (The TPHE Collective, 2020). I learned more and more about the other partner institutions, countries and cities as well as about the rise and fall of Covid-19. Most significantly, I learnt about how each member in our project team was feeling about the evolving situation. Using the limited view Zoom gives me of each person on my screen, I found myself focusing much more intensely on their facial expressions, the words they used and the tone of their voices. 

Has the technology been good or bad for our project? According to Alberti (2020), there are challenges and opportunities to work in this zoomified way, but put simply, the technology has enabled us to continue working on this project, and has ensured that we met our targets for the first year as laid out in our project application. For me personally, given that I have 2 small children under the age of 10, as well as two family members who were classified as extremely vulnerable, attending face to face meetings during this past year would have been simply impossible. I would have missed out greatly on connecting with the team, and would have definitely developed a huge sense of isolation. I also feel that I wouldn’t feel as connected to the project as I feel right now. Given the circumstances this pandemic has created, I feel that the technology has been a fantastic opportunity for us. Our learning of new ways of working has been steep. Technology is becoming such a crucial part of our working lives, and it will no doubt continue to shape our day to day working practices in the years to come. 

In spite of the amazing technology, today I still find myself looking forward to that first face to face meeting, even though we are still not entirely sure when this will happen. Nevertheless, when that face to face meeting will eventually happen, I feel that we will just pick up where we left off at the last Zoom meeting!

Here are some tips for anyone planning to work across borders when the borders are closed to travel:

  • Keep regular and frequent meetings
  • Talk about the weather! Always start with a round robin to hear how each “partner” is doing, where their country is at, and why not, an update on the weather conditions
  • Apply netiquette rules by keeping the cameras on and the microphones muted unless speaking
  • Use more technology – Have a repository/platforms where all documents are kept for quick and easy reference
  • Appreciate everyone is busy – Ensure important documents are sent a few days prior to the meeting – as time in the online meeting is limited so that each member who attends is prepared
  • Avoid individual isolation – Be mindful of the time, and ensure that each partner is actively involved in each meeting
  • Ensure connectivity – Carry out regular temperature checks, to gauge whether each partner is comfortable with the timings, pace and duration of the meetings
  • Recognise individuality – some members may need more time to engage virtually, than in person – and allow them the time and space to engage
  • Avoid individuals “zooming out” by keeping the meetings short
Image by Imane Elonen


Alberti, S. (2020, July 15). The “Zoomification” of work: Challenge or opportunity? HRD.

European University Association. (2020, September).

The TPHE Collective. (2020, May 6). The pandemic brings home the need to focus on humane and meaningful. Inside Higher Ed.

Project experiences

Working in an international project

Author: Simone Campos Silva, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Nurse educator education is an area, which is not yet in the public eye but should get more attention and interest because nurse educators are the ones qualifying and educating our nurses. The current corona pandemic has painfully shown us how important well-trained nurses are for society. This Erasmus+ project offers the possibility to further explore the important field of nurse educators. While raising awareness for an ‘under-researched’ area is of great value, this Erasmus+ project also provides a tremendous opportunity to work with colleagues from different European countries.  

This international project is my first experience working in a research project, as I finished my Master of Education in teaching at vocational schools last year. Consequently, I am delighted and excited about having the opportunity to work in such a project as a junior researcher. Through a very open climate in project meetings and the possibility for discussions, I profit and learn from highly experienced colleagues in the field of nursing education. The project meetings take place once a month via Zoom and partners are updated about the progress in different parts of the project. Being able to communicate only online without having met any of the project partners in person bears at times its challenges. However, the project meetings are the basis for reaching consensus about terms and processes. This is very important as we quickly realized how different nurse educator education is organized in different European countries.

It is particularly exciting for me to work closely with colleagues from the field of nurse educator education, as collaborating with six different countries is highly motivating. The project partners from Finland, Malta, Slovakia, Spain and the UK are all experts in this field and bring forward their country specific knowledge. In Germany, the field of nursing science is still relatively young in the academic community and a lot is still being explored and developed. Countries such as Finland or the UK have more experience in this area, so looking beyond one’s own country is very promising and can point the way to the future. Learning from other countries, cultures, and concepts as well as listening to others’ experiences is something I will always appreciate.

Finally, I am really looking forward to the moment when it will be possible to have a personal meeting with all of the partners.

Project experiences

Working as an intern in New Nurse Educator-project

Anna-Kaisa Nikkilä MNSc, MSSc–student

Team University of Turku, Finland

Since autumn 2019 I have studied in a new Master’s programme Social and Health Research and Management (MSSc) at faculty of social sciences in University of Helsinki, Finland. As part of those studies an internship including research and administrative work differing from one’s own previous work experience is highly recommended. I graduated ten years ago from the department of Nursing Science at the University of Turku as a nurse educator. Since then I have worked as a nurse educator at a vocational institute.

Through social media channels I became aware of this international Erasmus+ -project in which the Department of Nursing Science at the University of Turku was starting as a coordinator led by professor Leena Salminen. Project aiming to examine the education of nurse educators, their competences and work tasks at European level and seeking to harmonize nurse educators’ education in Europe aroused my interest. I contacted professor Salminen and on that road I am now writing this blog post.

New nurse educator -project plan was accepted and funding secured in July 2020 after which I commenced in the project in September 2020. Inthe beginning of my internship I participated in the webinars organized by Finnish National Board of Education, which included excellent examples of project work coordination, project work phases, financial management -and reporting of the project. The experiences of different actors in past Erasmus projects were also introduced and making acquaintance of their successes and stumbling blocks were in particular useful.

My very first task in this project was to prepare partner contracts between the coordinator and partner organizations. For that examining thoroughly the contents of planned work packages and previously created project plan was essential to get an overview of the project. Later on I have participated in the planning of the first work package both in terms of literature search and selection and evaluation of useful instruments for measuring nurse educators’ competences. Taking care of the communication between partner universities and University of Turku has also been my responsibility together with the project assistant. Project communication was brand new issue for me when starting in this project, thus I found the instructions of the Finnish National Board of Education very useful in familiarizing my self with it. At the heart of the project work have been the international team’s monthly joint meetings. They have helped everyone involved in the project to keep up with the progress of the project and enabled them to reflect ongoing and upcoming things together.

Scientific research always involves research ethics. In particular, since the entry into force of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, special attention has to be paid to the data protection of personal data in research. In connection with the research ethics preparing the annexes to the pre-evaluation of the research ethics of the first work package of the project was challenging but instructive task.

Anna-Kaisa and Leena in a transnational project meeting via Zoom.

In today’s working life, project work skills have taken on a significant role. Although I have gained a rich work experience in nursing field as a midwife and a nurse educator I have found working in this project has enriched me with an excellent work experience in starting a project, promoting and managing it systematically–things that I can not consider to have mastered based on my previous work experience. Projects are often criticized for their temporariness and lack of dissemination of the outputs. As a potential advantage about a project taking place in an academic community I see a better likelihood in dissemination of its results. Scientific articles will be written about the outputs of this project as well. The articles remain in the databases and the information contained in them will benefit both the practical working life and the scientific community long after the project has ended.

It has been rewarding to have had a chance involving myself in commencement of this consequential project. I would like to use this opportunity to thank professor Leena Salminen and research assistant MNSc Imane Elonen of our fruitful co-operation and wish success in project work for all project participants!

© Markkanen Sami