Amber Kolesar, MSN, RN, CNE, CCRN-K

Instructor and Director of the Second Degree BSN Program

professor with male and female nurses listening to mannikinHow does your professional experience shape the way you teach?

My experience as a critical care nurse working with very sick patients, the amazing interdisciplinary teams, and the pride that I have in being a nurse shapes the way I teach. I really feel that it is a blessing to do what we do as nurses. Acuity is higher than ever and the health care system needs nurses that have excellent critical thinking skills. I hope to encourage critical thinking and clinical judgment throughout my course.

Describe your teaching style.

I would say that I am a challenging instructor, but I am always cheering my students on. I work hard for them, and I expect that same work back. I tell silly jokes and talk about my three little girls in class to help students remember certain things. Critical thinking is a difficult thing to "teach" in the classroom, so I often use scenarios and try to get my students to think. I always say that your patient isn't going to hold up a sign telling you what is wrong!

Do you have any advice for someone thinking of returning to school to earn their nursing degree?

Do it!! You can do so much with a nursing degree—from delivering babies to providing peace to patients and families at the end of life and everywhere in between. Second degree programs like ours are really great because even though it is intense, 12 or 16 months later, the student is graduating. Nursing is a rewarding and exciting position. Go for it!

Do you have a favorite part of teaching?

I love seeing the "light bulb go off" for students in the classroom, or when they come back after clinical and tell the class that they were able to see a patient with the exact same thing that we talked about in class. It really is amazing to watch a student have a moment of understanding. I also get emails when students pass NCLEX or get their dream job. I love teaching nursing.

Are there any particular moments in your career as an educator that really stand out as defining moments?

Taking students to Nicaragua and Costa Rica has provided me with some of my defining moments. Watching a student nurse grow in their awareness of a world that may be extremely different from their own, or learning a new skill, or appreciating similarities of culture and family and the impact that they have as nurses is unbelievably poignant.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I went to Duquesne for my BSN and my MSN, and I truly could not imagine a better place to work. This is my dream job, and I am so lucky to do what I do here.