When Beth Farbotnik was a little girl, her pediatrician would always start regular checkups with the same questions.
“Are you going to be a nurse?” he would ask Farbotnik, a clinical nursing instructor at Edinboro University. “Are you getting all A’s and B’s?”
After giving her affirmation to both questions, the Edinboro nurse practitioner was on her way to a career serving families – and pre-service nurses at Edinboro University.
Farbotnik is one of nearly a dozen faculty members in Edinboro University’s Nursing Department that also work in the field as practicing nurses. In addition to her teaching, Farbotnik works as a family nurse practitioner with Express Care in Meadville.
“My love of teaching came from mentoring the nursing students who came to my unit when I was a staff nurse,” said Farbotnik, who solidified her choice to enter the nursing field after shadowing nurses herself in middle school. “I was also inspired by my own nursing educators, whom I have the privilege of working with now.”
Dr. Meg Larson, assistant professor in Edinboro’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program, decided that working with pre-service nurses in an educational setting and with private patients was her best shot at helping the greatest number of people.
“I have always loved the patient education part of nursing and understood it often has the most impact on actual outcomes,” said Larson, who also serves U.S. veterans in a rural primary care clinic. “Teaching nursing seemed like a perfect fit and one that would impact many people.”
To both Farbotnik and Larson, being an active nurse directly impacts their classroom instruction, allowing them to stay current with best practices and adapt the curriculum to fit the evolution of health care.
In both practice and education, the faculty members hope to address the regional and national nursing shortages. The market for Registered Nurses is expected to grow by nearly 450,000 jobs by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
“As with any discipline, you teach more effectively if you are current in the field,” Farbotnik said. “Health care changes every day – new procedures, new medications, advances in treatments and clinical practice is the best way to stay up-to-date on those changes.”
As the daughter of a military veteran and 32-year nursing veteran, Larson considers herself lucky to serve both young students and adults.
“There really could not be two professions – nursing and teaching – that were more beneficial to both students and the public and which provide such a sense of purpose for the professional who practices them,” she said. “Working with patients reminds you, with every interaction, of the importance a nurse can have in someone’s life and keeps the passion for the profession of nursing fresh.”
For more information about Edinboro University’s Nursing Department – which features programs at the undergraduate, graduate and doctorate level – visit www.edinboro.edu/nursing.