Professor Rowena L. Escolar Chua, PhD, Dean of the College of Nursing, was one of the keynote speakers in the May 27-30, 2021 Asia Pacific Bioethics Education Network (APBEN) Conference, hosted this year by Deakin University, Australia.
In her keynote speech entitled “Moral distress in nursing education: How should educators respond?”, Dean Escolar Chua acknowledged how the pandemic and its consequent restrictions on mobility have forced “nursing educators…to rapidly change their way of working to manage remote teaching and learning, often with little lead-time. While some educators have been positive, responsive, and solution-focused, for many this transition has not been easy, particularly in areas where there is limited connectivity.”
Dean Escolar Chua reiterated the “common belief among nurse educators is that if skills are not practiced onsite, then it is not effective teaching nor learning.” This belief has caused many to “feel worried about their students not being on track with their learning and that they won’t have the right skills and knowledge to manage to learn remotely. Moreover, balancing work and personal demands is challenging. Some teachers lose their confidence and feel frustrated and isolated causing them to experience moral distress.”
Despite these grim realities, Dean Escolar Chua said that “this pandemic brings a vast array of opportunities on how to foster nursing educators’ wellbeing that encourages building and strengthening caring relationships with one another and with their students and prioritize designing and sustaining classrooms where everyone feels emotionally and physically safe and supported.”
A Full Professor of the University, Dean Escolar Chua holds a doctorate in development studies and has recently been studying experiences of moral distress, moral sensitivity, and moral courage among Philippine nursing students especially during the time of the pandemic.