West Coast University-Ontario Faculty Named Item Writer for NCLEX

West Coast University has a second faculty member who was named a writer for the NCLEX exam.

Melodee M. McConnell, MSN-Ed, RN, has been with WCU-Ontario since 2011 and has more than 20 years’ experience in nursing, specializing in cardiac and critical care.

McConnell recently was selected to participate as an Item Writer for NCSBN/NCLEX exams for the next two years. While continuing to make changes within her classroom and improve the students’ engagement for enhanced learning, McConnell now seeks to further develop her ability to create quality exam items and develop exams pursuant to NCSBN and NCLEX standards.

Additionally, with the support and direction of university administration, she is leading a taskforce with the purpose of developing a WCU test bank consisting of high quality NCLEX-style items to be used by all faculty for exams in all nursing courses.

During her time at WCU-Ontario, McConnell has taught both Intro to Medical-Surgical Nursing and Advanced Medical-Surgical Nursing Theory courses. She has also taught clinical for all three levels of Medical-Surgical Nursing courses as well as skills lab for both Fundamentals and Intro to Med-Surg.

She believes educators should set an example in both the clinical and classroom environments and actively pursues learning experiences for her students. McConnell served as Med-Surg Learning Community Facilitator for more than two years promoting the collaboration between faculty at all five university campus locations. In this capacity, she has helped to lead the group in numerous course revisions including the transition to a conceptual model of teaching/learning which will benefit students by reducing content overload and increasing understanding of translatable concepts.

Not a traditional student herself, McConnell has been able to successfully bring the non-traditional into her role as an educator. As stated in her Philosophy of Teaching statement, McConnell believes that “Any student can learn anything as long as the student has the motivation and the material is presented in a manner conducive to the student’s learning style.”

She strives for the “a-ha” moments and feels compassionate about creating an environment which will elicit as many of those moments as possible. Her instructional style employs a “flipped” classroom approach in which the content is provided at home and class time is spent on active strategies which reinforce content and lead to authentic learning for her students. Her “voice-over” podcast lectures are used across the university as the at-home lecture content in the Introduction to Medical-surgical Nursing course. This enables the course’s on-campus faculty to create a classroom environment conducive to just about any learning style for improved longterm learning.

In early 2015, McConnell completed a retrospective analysis of the change in her instructional strategies based on data of more than 600 students. She has presented her study results several times in recent months including poster presentations at the ATI Summit in April 2015 and the Elsevier Faculty Development Conference in January 2016. Her study was selected as “Best of Abstracts” for the ATI Summit and she was selected for a podium presentation to attendees. She also served to introduce the value of active learning strategies at the WCU All-campus meeting in August 2015.

Having completed the ATI “Train the Trainer” sessions over the past year, she continues to assist other faculty members understand and create active learning within their own classrooms.

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