According to Diane Roque, one thing that helps her connect to her students is the fact that she also went through an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program. A two-time graduate of West Coast University, she was referred to the open faculty position at ACC by a Career Services advisor.
“I started teaching in the LVN program," Roque said. "When I got my master’s, I qualified to teach in the ADN program. It was natural for me to advance and they gave me that chance.”
This last holiday season, students voted Roque as Faculty of the Year for her work not just teaching them but also inspiring them to love their chosen careers.
Having taken multiple steps in her own career — from LVN to ADN to BSN to MSN — Roque is no stranger to progress and always looks forward to that next milestone. This is the same kind of motivation she aims to instill in her students. “Honestly, when I was a nursing student even I was lost,” Roque said. “I’m there to make them realize it’s okay. What you’re feeling right now, it’s totally normal. It’s a process and we’ll help you get through it. I have had many students tell me that I have encouraged them to stay in the program and have motivated them to do well. I have managed to inspire some students to pursue a higher degree in nursing. These are the best compliments any instructor can ask for.”
What inspired you to become a nurse in the first place?
My mom always wanted to be a nurse, but she was not able to pursue this career for herself, so I took it upon myself to fulfill her dream. Through my experiences since then my love for nursing has grown as it allows me to provide comfort and care to those who need it most. I found this very rewarding and gave me a greater purpose for my career.
What’s your career end-goal? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, who knows. I will still be teaching, that’s for sure. It’s very rewarding and I love to encourage the next generation of nurses. So, I will still be teaching and still be practicing as a nurse so I can be up to date with my skills.
What do you think has helped you connect with your students?
You’d be surprised the age groups and the different generations that we have—from 18-year-olds to students in their 60s and coming from different backgrounds. These are the kinds of students that I have to teach and mold. I love continuing to improve on how I can connect with different student learners and see how I can really help them — where they are lost.
Instead of overwhelming my students with facts, I put more emphasis on explaining how to apply the knowledge in a real clinical setting. This means standing beside them during their clinical experience, walking them through every step, and providing immediate feedback so they can build their confidence. My goal is to turn these students into safe and competent nurses who use critical thinking.
Something I do for my students is I take pictures of them. At the end of our term, they look back and see the progress from scared in the skills lab to performing in the hospital. I do a video montage and they love it! They take pride in it. You have to keep it fun in the classroom.
Even though I’ve been taught this course a couple of times and it’s the same topics, it still takes me so much time to prepare. I feel like I have to keep on improving.