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Dr. Rachel Albert Professor

Dr. Rachel Albert

"One of the most important concepts I hope to impart to my students is that learning is a process that never ends."

Degrees Held:

  • Ph.D. in Nursing Science – Case Western Reserve University, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing (2001)
  • MSN in Emergency Nursing/Education – University of Texas Health Science Center (1990)
  • BSN – University of Maine at Fort Kent (1985)

Career Highlights:

  • 28+ years of experience in academia in varying and progressive roles; 15 years as an administrator
  • Positions held at UMFK include:
    • Professor of Nursing (2015)
    • Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Dean of the Faculty (2005-14)
    • Director and Chair of the Division of Nursing (1999 - 2006)
  • Awarded tenure at UMFK (1997)
  • Served in various roles at UMFK, including:
    • Executive Director of Planning and Assessment
    • Chair of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee
    • Accreditation Liaison Officer for NEASC
    • Chair of the self-study for the NEASC 10-year comprehensive reaccreditation
    • Chair of the Council on Institutional Effectiveness
    • Member of the President's Cabinet and Executive Committee
  • Recognized by both chambers of the Maine State Legislature for quality nursing education in Maine (2003)
  • At UMFK, extensively involved with: accreditation, strategic planning, general education reform, curriculum planning, distance education, student learning outcomes assessment, institutional research, academic program and institutional review, faculty recruitment and development, tenure and promotion, and student retention, success, and advising

Which classes do you teach in the RN to BSN online program?

NUR 380: Transcultural Care in Nursing; NUR 384: Global Health & Humanitarianism; NUR 401: Health Related Research; NUR 342: Health Promotions; NUR 413: Health Care Ethics & the Law; NUR 456: Integrated Nursing Practice

What do you want students to learn in your classes? What's the takeaway?

Nursing is more than treating an illness, rather it is focused on delivering quality patient care that is individualized to the needs of each patient. Nursing should be holistic while honoring patient values. A crucial aspect of nursing is interprofessional relationships and collaborative efforts among healthcare professionals that promote quality patient care. A strong liberal arts foundation is also a necessary component of professional nursing students' education.

What advice would you give to those considering the RN to BSN online program?

One of the most important concepts I hope to impart to my students is that learning is a process that never ends. A reciprocal learning process is of utmost importance. Students need to be actively involved in their own learning process. "Empowering the learner" is my motto.

I cannot expect that everything I’ve taught my students will be retained or that I can teach them all there is to know about nursing. This would be unrealistic—there simply is too much information. By the time the student graduates, much of the information presented and discussed will be outdated. The best that I can do as a faculty member is to provide students with the tools for learning that they will need in the real world of nursing.

Learning is for life. Therefore, students must be engaged in the learning process. Students must be prepared with the ability to think critically, practice clinical judgement, work as a member of a team, analyze data, and set priorities.

What is the value of a BSN?

Improved patient care outcomes and career advancement

What are the biggest challenges nurses face today?

  • Nursing shortage and quality patient care
  • Balance between humanism and technology
  • Better self-care
  • Need for more evidence-based nursing practice
  • Culturally competent care and communication

Why did you start teaching?

Students are at the core of my teaching, and the joy I experience comes from helping them learn. Caring is my moral guide. I serve as a role model and incorporate caring into my teaching framework since this is a desired outcome for generalists in nursing. Nursing students must appreciate a sense of being cared for in order to nurture their own ability to care for others.

A primary satisfaction associated with teaching is knowing that I have given students quality guidance and tools for learning. Another teaching satisfaction comes from being perceived as a role model: "I have enjoyed this course and have learned so much from you!" Through my efforts and role as a facilitator, I believe I am instrumental in generating and sustaining student interest—and therefore, personal growth.

What is the one book you think everyone should read?

“The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg

Tell us something interesting about yourself that your students might not know about you.

I am certified by the Online Learning Consortium as an Advanced Online Teacher. I’m also a CCNE Team Leader and Evaluator for nursing program accreditation reviews and serve with NEASC as a CIHE Chairperson and Evaluator for comprehensive, focused, and substantive change visits. Recently, I graduated from The Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) Institute.

Locally, I serve on the Board of Directors for the Fish River Rural Health center, as a corporator for Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, and as a Chairperson of the Aroostook District Coordinating Council for Public Health. I’ve also served as Vice President for the Maine Business and Professional Women (BPW) organization, a trustee of the Maine BPW Futurama Foundation.

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