Joint appointment enriches teaching and practice
As a pediatric/neonatal advanced practice nurse at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong, Patrick Hopkins, MS, C-PNP, NNP, RNC, wants to give every child he cares for the fullest possible potential. And, as a clinical faculty member at the School of Nursing, he is equally focused on providing students with the knowledge that will make them the best clinicians they can be.
“Teaching and nursing. These are the two things I am passionate about,” said Hopkins, who holds the titles of pediatric advanced practice nurse at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong and assistant professor of clinical nursing in the School of Nursing. He is one of many individuals who hold a joint appointment at both the School and some other area within the Medical Center.
“Having the joint appointment allows you to start building a relationship,” said Hopkins, a recent Doctor of Nursing Practice graduate. “I think it’s dynamic and it encourages collaboration. That may be a buzzword but it’s true. Being engaged in practice and education jointly really does put forth this idea of a teamwork approach, with the idea of different perspectives all reaching for a similar goal.”
When Hopkins first started working as a nurse practitioner 11 years ago, the job came with a joint appointment at the School. At the time, he held the title of clinical instructor, doing some teaching and guest lecturing.
Since then, Hopkins has taught and co-taught a variety of classes, including: “Care of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Graduate in the Primary Care Environment,” “Care of a Child in a Primary Care Center,” “Care of the Child with Complex Health Needs,” “Pathopharmacology,” and “Pathophysiology.”
For Hopkins, teaching has been a dream come true and an experience that has benefitted him greatly. “I am exposed to different teaching styles, which is always good and helps you develop your own style. And while I have taught on the unit, I think the joint appointment and the experience I gain from it gives me credibility when I teach nurses in the NICU,” he said.
The reverse is equally true. “I think the fact that I still work in the NICU is really important because it gives me credibility with the students. From me they get the practical side of knowledge,” he noted.
In the end, of course, the patients benefit as well from Hopkins’s joint appointment and the ways it enriches his practice. “To teach, I have to stay cutting edge and up to date. I apply this learning within my practice setting. For example, when I quote a research article to a family, I can do so knowledgeably. In the end, it all comes down to doing the best I can for those in my care.”
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