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NDSU faculty member named Nurse Educator of the Year

Kolby Schaeffer Fraase loves to teach, and it shows in her personable, one-on-one style of instruction. She teaches the Nursing Skills Lab in the NDSU School of Nursing to help future nurses become highly-skilled and compassionate in their chosen field.

Schaeffer Fraase was named state Nurse Educator of the Year by the North Dakota Nursing Students’ Association at the group’s annual convention held in Fargo on Jan. 25. As a lecturer in the Nursing Skills Lab at NDSU, Kolby gets to know students on a one-to-one basis.

She is the third NDSU faculty member to receive the North Dakota Nurse Educator of the Year award over the last three years. Previous NDSU recipients include Trish Strom and Abigail Vetter.

Schaeffer Fraase is a registered nurse with the Resource Team at Sanford Health in Fargo, and she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing from NDSU.

I chose to become a nurse educator for a few reasons,” said Schaeffer Fraase, a native of Bowman, North Dakota. “I love to educate my patients and their families, as well as share my knowledge with other nurses through precepting new employees and student nurses,” she said.

Her teaching style is interactive and high energy. “I try to engage the students by creating analogies that have some humor,” said Schaeffer Fraase.

One Halloween, for example, Schaeffer Fraase and her Skills Lab teaching partner Janet Riggins dressed up for class. Kolby played a version of Ms. Frizzle from the popular TV show The Magic School Bus to cover the subjects of fluid electrolyte imbalances and acid base with nursing students.

“I ensure the foundational knowledge of what I am teaching can be related to what the students will see in practice,” said Schaeffer Fraase. I get to know the students on a one-on-one basis and am able to share tips that I’ve gained throughout my nursing career. It is extremely rewarding to observe the students’ progress and watch their confidence grow.

“I am so thankful to have the opportunity to share my passion for nursing. I continue practicing as a Registered Nurse once a month. I am able to tie real-world experience with the content that I am teaching,” said Schaeffer Fraase.

A pivotal moment started her path to nursing. Schaeffer Fraase was in the fourth grade when her grandmother was diagnosed with colon cancer.

“After she was discharged from the hospital, I would go to her home every day after school and just help care for her and help her with household chores. It really brought to light how much of an honor it is to care for someone when they’re not feeling well and to really honor their life even after they’re gone. So that’s what brought me to nursing,” said Schaeffer Fraase.

Students appreciate her commitment to educating the next generation of nurses. “Her dedication to nursing inspires many of the students to become more interested in everything nursing is,” wrote one student in nominating Schaeffer Fraase for the award.

“If a student has a question regarding reasons why nurses do what they do, she challenges students to search literature to answer questions to keep up on knowledge of best practices,” wrote a student who nominated her. “Kolby is always brainstorming new ideas to improve the classroom, nursing skills lab, and clinical experiences she is responsible for.”

Schaeffer Fraase appreciates the energy students bring to the classroom.

I learn something from my students every day. With their feedback, the students have assisted me in tailoring my teaching style to capture their attention and assist their learning. I look forward to learning more from them in future semesters.”

The NDSU School of Nursing in the College of Health Professions provides bachelor’s and graduate nursing education to advance knowledge of nursing, demonstrate leadership, and meet the needs of a diverse society. Programs are available for part- and full-time students, working professionals and those seeking online educational opportunities. Find out more at www.ndsu.edu/nursing.

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North Dakota State University
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