Our Top 5 TED Talks to Inspire Nurse Educators

Nurse TED talk ideas on laptop
Explore the Top 5 TED Talks for Nurse Educators, featuring insights to help you and your students enhance your decision making skills and achieve your potential.
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We get it; teaching nursing is hard. If covering traditional curriculum topics wasn’t difficult enough, many programs across the country are now understaffed, underfunded, and scrambling to adapt their courses to the new Next Gen NCLEX. It can be easy to feel like you’re falling behind or that your work is unappreciated.

That’s why we put together our top 5 TED Talks for nursing educators. Whether they help you empower students to achieve their potential, rediscover the tremendous impact nurses have on patients’ lives, or learn unique ideas from others in the profession, we hope these discussions reignite your passion for shepherding the next generation of nurses. In no particular order, here they are:

1. The Puzzle of Motivation | Dan Pink

Description: Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward.

This talk challenges conventional thinking about motivation and provides insights into what really drives people to succeed, offering practical advice for harnessing motivation to achieve better results in the classroom.

2. The Art of Choosing | Sheena Iyengar

Description: Sheena Iyengar studies how we make choices — and how we feel about the choices we make. At TEDGlobal, she talks about both trivial choices (Coke v. Pepsi) and profound ones, and shares her groundbreaking research that has uncovered some surprising attitudes about our decisions.

This talk explores the psychology of choice and decision-making, and provides insights into how students and professors can make better choices, both in and out of the classroom.

3. The Power of Believing That You Can Improve | Carol Dweck

Description: Carol Dweck researches “growth mindset” — the idea that we can grow our brain’s capacity to learn and to solve problems. In this talk, she describes two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve. Are you not smart enough to solve it … or have you just not solved it yet? A great introduction to this influential field.

This talk discusses the concept of a growth mindset, in which individuals believe that they can improve their abilities and achieve success through hard work and dedication. It provides strategies for cultivating a growth mindset in oneself and others, and the benefits of doing so in the classroom.

4. The Power of Vulnerability | Brené Brown

Description: Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk at TEDxHouston, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.

This talk explores the importance of vulnerability in building connections and relationships with students and colleagues, and provides strategies for cultivating vulnerability as a strength.

5. A Tribute to Nurses | Carolyn Jones

Description: Carolyn Jones spent five years interviewing, photographing and filming nurses across America, traveling to places dealing with some of the nation’s biggest public health issues. She shares personal stories of unwavering dedication in this celebration of the everyday heroes who work at the front lines of health care.

This talk discusses the psychological and emotional impacts that nurses can have on patients, and how developing relationships built on positive interactions can make all the difference in providing quality care.

Learning Platform for Nursing Faculty
Assignable Questions Classroom Presentation Detailed Reporting
Educator and student working on Next Generation NCLEX question from UWorld’s Learning Platform for Nursing.

Incorporating Nursing TED Talks into Your Teaching

If you found these videos helpful, we suggest sharing them with your students either in class or as an optional assignment. While the lessons themselves have value for students, so does receiving insight from outside professionals. Students can also benefit tremendously from seeing how real people are impacted by nurses through stories that actually happened. If nothing else, nursing TED Talks offer a nice break from traditional coursework, can keep students engaged, and open the floor to constructive conversations around the topics being presented.

Even if you choose not to incorporate them into your teaching, we hope you found the discussions illuminating. The nursing landscape has changed quite a bit in the past several years alone, and the way we navigate it is being spearheaded by nursing educators like you. Keep doing the great work that you do!

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