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Fostering Community and Connection in Nursing Education

By December 6, 2023No Comments

I joined KeithRN in October. In November, I attended the Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (OADN) conference with my new company. 

OADN proudly represents community by being the voice for community colleges across the U.S. OADN’s officers and members demonstrate the spirit of community through their hospitality and accommodating nature. I see this year after year at the OADN conference. This year, I not only saw it but felt it. Let me explain.

I started a new business in January of 2022. I did not create the business because I have an entrepreneurial spirit. I didn’t start the business because I dreamed of being my own boss. I saw a tremendous need in nursing to support nurses transitioning from practice to education. I had a passion for helping and the knowledge and skills necessary to help, so I took the plunge. 

2022 was a busy year! By the end of the year, I was exhausted and decided to slow down, take time to be a wife, daughter, and mother (to my feline children), and let things happen naturally. By July of 2023, I was feeling the tug to busy my brain again and get re-engaged. I didn’t know what getting re-engaged was supposed to look like. I believe I was led to start my business. I was still passionate about providing a service, but had less assurance about doing it through my business. That didn’t make sense, and I was confused. I prayed and prayed some more.

About two months later, a good friend called me and said I needed to speak to Keith at KeithRN. She said, “Keith is looking to hire. I know you are ‘doing your own thing,’ but I think your missions align.” Hmm…

I spoke to Keith within a few days of the call, and here I sit a couple of months later, happily employed and doing what I want to do: helping expert nurse clinicians transition to novice educators and eventually expert educators! 

Keith has been building KeithRN for 12 years, primarily by himself in the early years. My one year as a solo entrepreneur exhausted me, so I could only imagine how he must feel after 12 years of constant growth. 

We finally met in person at OADN, and my suspicions were correct. He is tired, yet still passionate about his mission to make a positive impact on nurse educators and the nursing profession. His eyes light up when he discusses disrupting nursing education so that we focus on practice-ready nurses instead of passing a test. 

Keith is a clinician, a practitioner at heart. He chose to remain at the bedside for more than 35 years. In those 35 years, countless lives were touched and saved. He knows the nurse’s ability to appropriately notice and respond is the difference between life and death; therefore, KeithRN’s mission is to help you develop and nurture practice-ready nurses. 

How does KeithRN do this? One might think it’s through engaging tools, clinical judgment development resources, faculty development, social media outreach, etc. All of these are correct; however, I witnessed that the connection between Keith and other educators who use KeithRN is the secret sauce. 

I saw attendees come to the table and wait to meet Keith or to say hi. As they waited, we talked. Here are just a few things I heard:

“Keith got me through COVID.”

“Keith talked me off the ledge several times. I would call, and he would answer and listen.”

“I get a different vibe from him. He’s not in it just to sell me something. I think he cares.”

“Ten years ago, you asked if you could pray for me.” That was never forgotten!

This was a transformational experience! By joining KeithRN, I was joining a business that cares! I joined a community of nurse educators who care about the people they do business with, their colleagues, and their students. Some educators purchase the KeithRN resources with their own money because they see the value it brings to their students and because they connect with the company that creates the resources. 

Humans have an innate desire to connect with others and be part of a community with similar characteristics and values. In other words, Community and Connections are in our DNA. We nurses got a double dose!

Community and Connections make KeithRN unique. I am proud to be part of the nursing community and happy to be part of the KeithRN community. I look forward to connecting with you in the future! 

Learn more about Maria’s role with KeithRN.

Maria Flores-Harris, DNP, RN, CNE

Dr. Flores-Harris, Nurse Educator Consultant for KeithRN, is an accomplished registered nurse with experience in clinical, academic, and business settings. She received her Bachelor’s of Science and Master’s of Science in Nursing with a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner focus from Clemson University. She remains loyal to her Clemson Tigers!

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