Dr. Jobeth Pilcher is a faculty member and mentor in Capella University’s PhD in Nursing Education program.
Q. Please share a bit about your background.
A. I’m a nurse. My first job was in thoracic ICU, which is open-heart surgery. In those early years, I had a real need for an adrenalin rush. That seems to be the type working in ICUs and ERs—people who like that rush. I then worked in several other ICUs before moving to neonatal. That’s where I started training individuals on the unit, and training parents, and someone suggested that I try for a nurse educator role.
I took the advice and became a nurse educator in a neonatal ICU. I had a real passion for education, so I pursued a degree in education with a specialization in e-learning and online teaching. I really enjoyed learning in an online setting and knew I’d enjoy teaching there too. A friend referred me to Capella, and here I am!
Q. How did you get your start at Capella?
A. I started in 2010 in the School of Education teaching a course called Roles and Responsibilities of Nurse Educators. I taught that for two years while also mentoring dissertation learners. Mentoring PhD candidates eventually became my primary focus.
Q. What does a typical day look like as a mentor?
A. I answer a lot of questions. I’m in the courseroom every day reviewing doctoral work at every stage of the process. I’m working with 21 mentees right now, some in their first quarter, and some who will hopefully complete their dissertation this quarter. I’m reviewing research plans, IRB applications, chapters for dissertations—and answering questions.
Q. What is your teaching philosophy?
A. My philosophy is geared toward adult learners: to promote their professional and personal growth. I believe that students enter the learning situation with a wide array of experience and knowledge. My role is to facilitate, mentor, and guide them based on their individual learning needs and desired outcomes.
Q. What do you enjoy most about your job?
A. I enjoy all of it, but especially watching students reach the “aha!” moments, and making it through the different stages. The greatest gift is when a learner sends me a message saying, “Oh my gosh, I finally understand!”
Another thing I love is graduation. At the last graduation I attended, one of my mentees crossed the stage, stopped, looked at me, and bowed. I couldn’t believe it. I thought, “This is your moment, and you still did that!” It was very moving.
Q. What is the single biggest challenge facing your field right now?
A. Nursing shortages. Not all states have one, but it’s coming. Many nurses are in their late 40s and heading to retirement. You also have the baby boomer generation aging and needing more medical care.
But it’s not just that there’s a shortage of nurses—there’s also a shortage of faculty. Schools are turning away qualified students because of lack of staff. Capella has really stepped up in this area with its PhD in Nursing Education.
Q. How do you stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the nursing industry?
A. In addition to my role at Capella, I work part-time as a nursing professional development specialist for a large health care system in Texas. I interact with employers, nurses, and other health care professionals on a regular basis.
I maintain membership with professional nursing organizations and read peer-reviewed nursing, health care, and education journals. Because my specialty is nursing education, I also keep up to date by exploring new teaching and learning strategies. I am a member of the Association for Nursing Professional Development (ANPD) and routinely read their publication, Journal for Nurses in Professional Development (JNPD). I am also a member of Association for Talent Development (ATD) and read their publication, Talent Development. I monitor TED Talks and iMedicalApps on a regular basis for educational strategies, tools, and information. I also monitor several social media influencers on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Q. What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
A. Never stop learning. If you’re not learning, you’re not living.
Q. What do you like to do when you’re not working?
A. Set me outside, and I’ll find something to do. I enjoy windsurfing, kayaking, swimming, hiking, traveling, and playing with my dogs.
Q. Coffee, tea, or soda?
A. I hate to admit it, but soda. I have my one allotted diet cola each morning. Just one.
Learn more about Capella’s PhD in Nursing Education degree program.