It was the end of August, and I was amused by the blog post from Dr. Patricia Brennan, director of the US National Library of Medicine: “At this point in my life, two years into my role at the National Library of Medicine, I greet Labor Day with a bit of nostalgia. I was an academic for 30 years, and spent most of the 25 years prior to that as a student, doing the school thing from kindergarten through grad school. You might say that my epigenome has been shaped by the academic calendar, with the waning summer sparking excitement over the promise of a new school year, new things to learn, new friends to make” (Brennan, 2018).
Isn’t this the truth for all of us in academia?
Brennan’s musing led me to think of the song by the Byrds (yes, I am that old), “Turn, Turn, Turn (To Every Thing There Is a Season),” written by Pete Seeger and based on the biblical book of Ecclesiastes. As I listened to the Byrds sing, I reflected on my own journey in academia and how fall is the start of a new year with our new purpose. That led me to reflect on my purpose over the year, and so, with apologies to Seeger, the Bryds, and Ecclesiastes, here goes:
For every season, there is a purpose
A time to teach, and a time to guide
A time to think, and a time to write
A time to advise, and a time to let go
A time to be silent, and a time to speak
A time to innovate, and a time to retreat
A time to create, and a time to conclude
A time to reflect, and a time to act
A time for research, and a time for implementation
And for every season, there is a time to learn
And now, it is a time for change. This is my last column for Nursing Education Perspectives. It has been a privilege to write the Emerging Technologies Column for the last 14 years. At the 2004 NLN Education Summit, I remember being asked by the NEP Editorial Board if I would consider writing a column on emerging technologies. I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to share my passion for new technologies, and I said yes immediately.
As I look back now, I have learned an awful lot about writing from doing this column. As an academician, I had a tendency to write a lot of pages. After days spent researching a topic, I would start my treatise, always careful to look at the positive, negative, and unintended consequences of my ideas. I had to learn to rewrite and get down to 1,600 words. I am sure I drove the editor crazy with my lengthy articles.
I always enjoyed the research process for each topic, and I learned a tremendous amount from reading and sharing my findings. Sometimes my columns were about my experiments and testing new tools with my students. Throughout my journey, I downloaded and used a lot of the tools I wrote about and was what some might consider an early adopter of social media and networking tools. I joined Facebook and LinkedIn to be able to write about them. Who would guess that I would still be using these tools?
As a consummate archiver of the latest and greatest digital tools, I have a wealth of articles and links filed away for future columns. These archives come in handy when faculty or doctoral students look for dissertation ideas. For some years, I had a running theme, such as my Nursing Education 2.0 and Connected Age series. I always read a lot of reports that examined emerging technologies and student and faculty expectations, and I tried to highlight results for others. I also seemed to manage to a get in something about nursing informatics. It has been my goal to make sure educators understand and promote informatics and test educational technologies to facilitate learning. More recently, it has been my goal to make educators aware of the new tools in the clinical arena that are changing the landscape of health care delivery. This word cloud of my titles (Figure 1) certainly shows a number of key themes. I like that being connected came through as I truly believe many of our technologies keep us all connected.
I want to thank the Editorial Board and editor Joyce Fitzpatrick for inviting me to do this column and for their continuing support. A heartfelt thank you to managing editor Leslie Block for her patience and her excellent editing skills. I also want to thank each of you who has contacted me throughout the years. It has been fun to chat with you, whether in person or via email, about emerging technologies. I am so grateful that you all took time to read my column. And so, I bid you all a farewell. As always, I can be reached at Diane.Skiba@ucdenver.edu.