Silver Circles: Paige Ricca

Paige Ricca

Since 1966, the Silver Circle Award has been presented to some of UIC’s best teachers. Winners, who are honored at their college commencements, receive $500 and their names join a long list of distinguished colleagues. But what makes the award especially meaningful is its selection committee: the graduating seniors.

Paige Ricca
Clinical assistant professor in nursing
Silver Circles: 1
Years at UIC: 1

What does it mean to win this award from graduating students?
I am completing my first year as a clinical assistant professor/instructor in the College of Nursing. I am still learning a lot of new things, so it is a humbling experience to be selected by graduating students.

How do you engage students in your courses?
To be fair, I teach in a pediatric clinical setting, so by nature, there are hands-on learning and practice of nursing skills that automatically come with the instruction. That said, I like to emphasize a team-based approach that acknowledges the students are adult learners who bring to the table life experience that enhances learning for all involved. Everyone has a voice and a chance to offer input about how clinical work and clinical assignments can proceed. This adult-learner, team-based approach has also helped to facilitate and affirm diverse perspectives, regardless of age, ethnicity, culture, religion, income status, gender, gender identity, and physical or mental ability. Again, in a clinical setting, there are many opportunities to role model respect and acceptance for everyone that students and I encounter; including each other, all hospital staff, patients and family members.

What advice do you have for graduating nursing students?
Do your best to remember why you got into nursing in the first place from the beginning of your career to the end of it. Look for opportunities to grow as a nurse. On the days you feel fatigue pulling you down, seek support from a fellow nurse. Be aware of early signs of burnout or mental stress; don’t be afraid to seek help. Finally, remember that together we possess powerful leadership and advocacy potential, and also the ability to be good friends to one another. The nursing workforce is 6 million strong and counting: power in numbers, ya’ll! I, myself, have so much hope for the future of nursing and health care because you, the next generation of nurses, have demonstrated a much more powerful ability to advocate than ever seen before! I cannot wait to see how you go out there and do your thing!

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