Happy to Help, Happy to Teach

By Austin Nieves 

austin photo

When I think of the word “teacher,” I picture my middle school teachers, my professors, my coaches, and my parents. I never thought about myself as a teacher until recently, when I began to work summer baseball camps, sharing the knowledge I’ve gained as a college athlete to younger ballplayers ages seven to 16. Since then, my view of myself as a teacher has expanded. I see that I’ve been teaching not only baseball players at camps, but my nieces and nephews, my friends who ask for advice, and even my patients in my clinical rotations here at Molloy.

“Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach,” said the great philosopher Aristotle. This quotation always comes to mind when I think about my nursing classes at Molloy. I cannot even begin to think about the number of times I’ve heard a professor tell the class that simply knowing the information is not enough in nursing; you must fully understand it and apply to real-life situations. Nurses have a wide scope of responsibility. One of the largest responsibilities is being a teacher. While some patients who leave the hospital organize home care to help them with healthy living, most patients do not. It is important for a nurse to be able to teach a patient how to remain healthy after his hospital visit. For example, a person newly diagnosed with diabetes needs to be taught how to manage his blood sugar. A nurse teaches the patient how to obtain his blood glucose levels, how and when to use insulin, which foods to eat and which foods to avoid, and suggests lifestyle changes. When a nurse’s teaching is successful, it results in more positive outcomes for the patient, who is better prepared to take care of himself after his hospital stay.

The last two summers, I’ve been working at baseball camps helping young players get better by teaching them the intricacies of the sport. This summer, I worked at a baseball camp hosted by Molloy College. The kids were eighth and ninth graders looking to make the transition into high school baseball. As a member of the staff, which included three college coaches and two college players, I helped teach the kids how to adjust to the larger playing field both mentally and physically. It was great to see the kids make adjustments and have success throughout the camp, especially towards the end of the week. As a player, I remember how frustrating the jump to the larger field can be and how happy I was when I began to have consistent success again. This made the players’ happiness after getting a hit or making a nice play during a game even more worthwhile and enjoyable.

It occurs to me that I am destined to teach for the rest of my life. My future nursing career is going to present me with countless opportunities to teach. My athletic background has already allowed me the opportunity to teach, and I look forward to continuing to use the platform to connect with young athletes. It feels good knowing that I’ll be able to make a positive impact on people’s lives, from helping people to be healthy, to helping athletes reach goals, to teaching my own children. I’m happy to help, and happy to teach.