In October of this year (2017) I took a leap from my comfort zone and growing place at Klein Buendel and joined the Instructional Design team at the College of Nursing at the University of Colorado. There are a few reasons higher education and healthcare appeal to me. I am anticipating many opportunities for my professional growth and possible barriers to my success.
Why Higher Education and Healthcare?
Great question! In working in the health communications research arena I felt I had more to learn about how we care for our growing populations of diverse people. Although this blog is not political, I’ll share that I am passionate about each person receiving the care they need around the world. This issue goes beyond the United States and remains local in Denver, it’s so multi-dimensional it commonly surfaces on voting ballots. In other words, THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT.
About 3 years ago, I met with Joanna Dunlap, one of my instructors for my Master’s Degree. We were talking about career directions, applications of my skills, and what interested me most about Instructional Design. As I went further into my current work at Klein Buendel and why we needed to “disseminate concise, easy-to-understand health messages,” her eyes lit up. She mentioned there were positions at the medical campus for the University of Colorado (CU)…
My heart fluttered, time stopped, and my mind created a vision. I officially had a 5 year plan; something most 20-somethings know they are “supposed to have” but don’t really because they’ve never met with Joni Dunlap.
The concise answer to “why” is it made sense for me to be in a higher education environment within a healthcare field. I have the focus, the motivation, and the passion to create effective and efficient learning environments for students so they can provide the best healthcare possible around the world. This simply makes sense to me. I’m also an Enneagram Type 1 – Reformer, which explains a lot. Right?
So, here I am. An Instructional Design Specialist at the College of Nursing at CU. Woohoo!
My Anticipated Opportunities
In my new position I will have opportunities to learn a new industry, work with new people, and experience a large institutional environment. I’ll work directly with undergraduate faculty to help evaluate, design, and propose changes to their courses. I’ll have the opportunity to consider larger curricular design with in the Nursing Degree framework. I’ll hone my skills of incorporating theory and empirically-based literature into application for the courses and programs I work on.
And most of all, I will be working with a mentor with many years of experience. Her name is Glenda Robertson. She has made an appearance on my blog before (here) as a person who gave me wonderful advice on how to have a more growth oriented mindset and be a “collaborator instead of support staff.” I’m enthusiastic about working with her. She’s paved a great path of expertise and respect at the College of Nursing and I am committed to maintaining this preeminence she and her former colleague created together for the Instructional Design team.
Potential Barriers or Obstacles
As with any job, especially one in working with highly skilled and passionate individuals, there are going to be barriers. The nursing field is full of “tough-love” and short timelines. The university structure is encouraging of learning but can be discouraging with small budgets and university policies.
Most of all, I anticipate a long period of learning and being a “beginner” at what I am doing. I have completed 4 weeks in the office and am still fairly quiet in meetings and not a true “asset” to the college yet. I am anticipating a full year of confusion and mistakes. And I am anticipating moments of frustration in which I’ll need to practice mindfullness and self-empathy. I know I have gone from an environment where I was a person who had answers to questions. Now I am the person who has all the questions and barely any answers. For me, as an Enneagram Type 1, this is going to be the most difficult part of this transition: not knowing what to anticipate.
BUT, here is where it gets good. I know this transition is good for me. This will ultimately make me a more well-rounded professional. In transitioning to a new position in a different field with a different management structure, I am growing in the discomfort, the unknowing, and the required mindfulness.
In the end, this is supporting my 10-year plan to make intentional professional choices which could take me in a few directions.
Cover Photo: by FotografieLink, used with permission from Pixabay.com, CC0 Creative Commons