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October 3, 2018

For Nursing Students, an Education in Critical Thinking

Each year, students in Adelphi’s College of Nursing and Public Health, Clinical Assistant Professor Susan Zori, D.N.P.’s Nursing Care of the Older Adult class work in small groups to develop inventive products that could improve the lives of the elderly and address unmet needs. They present their ideas to the rest of the class as if they are guests on ABC’s hit TV show Shark Tank.

Last year, the groups of two or three students presented their inventions, from smart canes that have voice-assist capabilities to robots that administer medications in a home setting. They also shared their plans to get their products to market. One group, for example, planned to market eldercare kits with nonskid socks, sleep masks and nightlights to guests checking into hotels.

“Students took a very evidence-based approach to why these inventions were needed, and the innovations that they came up with were just fascinating,” says Dr. Zori.

Dr. Zori has more than 40 years of experience in critical care and nursing administration, having served at area hospitals including the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, New York, and the NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan. About six years ago, she decided she also wanted to teach. She was drawn to Adelphi because of the small class size—her classes average 30 students—and the opportunity to have a positive impact on students.

“I love teaching and having the opportunity to help shape future generations by sharing what I’ve learned over the years,” she says.

Dr. Zori advocates active learning centered around engaging students in problem-solving and real-life experiences, rather than lectures. She often breaks students into small groups to solve a real-life problem, like moving a patient safely. She’ll have students talk through case studies and determine how they could have done things equally effectively or better.

Dr. Zori has conducted extensive research on the impact of critical thinking in nurse management, and she strives to impart those same critical-thinking skills to her students.

One of her students, Minh Le, a senior from Vietnam who is majoring in nursing, says, “Dr. Zori gives me advice on how to critically think and how to put myself in the scenario, which requires fully understanding the question before even looking for the answer. She has been my biggest supporter throughout my nursing years at Adelphi.”

Okwuchi Ukegbu, who goes by the nickname Chi-Chi, is a nursing major from Queens who was nervous about taking Dr. Zori’s Fundamentals of Nursing class in her junior year. The class includes a lab and a clinical and has a reputation for being one of the most challenging nursing courses, Ukegbu explains.

“Dr. Zori made the class not only doable but also enjoyable,” she says. “I learned so much from her because she is such a thorough and knowledgeable professor. She is always willing to answer questions and clarify topics in class as well as during her office hours.”

Ukegbu visited Dr. Zori’s office almost every week and has continued to check in with Dr. Zori about her overall progress as a student.

“Her caring nature really encourages me to push myself to be the best nurse in the very near future,” Ukegbu says.


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