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LETTER | 'Strawberry generation': A nursing educator's view

LETTER | Originating from Taiwan, the term "strawberry generation" has gained traction in diverse cultures around the globe.

It signifies individuals perceived as fragile - akin to how strawberries can easily bruise. These individuals, as perceived, may lack resilience and are often seen as ill-prepared to face challenges.

For a nursing educator and a mother, these characteristics invoke apprehensions, especially when considering the repercussions on our evolving healthcare system.

The current era, characterised by rapid technological advancements, sees an escalating dependency on digital devices. This trend isn't exempt from the realm of education.

As educators, it becomes our duty to ensure that nursing students develop essential skills like focus, attentive listening, and direct human interactions, pivotal in their future profession.

In my classroom, for instance, electronic devices are allowed only when they serve our learning goals, such as researching medical terms.

Initial resistance from students is anticipated, but it underscores the principle that education, though a service, demands dedication and active involvement from its recipients.

True resilience is born from confronting and surmounting adversities. If we continually cocoon young minds from challenges and discomforts, we risk rendering them ill-equipped to navigate real-world tribulations.

Over time, I've noted an upward trend in students voicing feelings of being overwhelmed. Given that the nursing profession is inherently stressful, it's of utmost importance that nursing students possess a sturdy emotional and psychological foundation.

By exposing them to varied challenges - both pleasant and adverse - we aim to foster resilience and tenacity within them.

Supporting our students is undeniably essential. However, there lies a fine line between assistance and excessive hand-holding.

We must tread carefully to prevent instilling a sense of entitlement, leading them to expect things served on a platter. Notably, the current generation is a reservoir of creativity and innovation.

Yet, it remains paramount that they cultivate an innate drive for proactive learning, rather than an over-dependence on external aid.

Nursing isn't just a profession; it's a vocation that demands agility, sharp observational skills and an unyielding mental strength.

Nurses are often at the forefront, managing acute situations, grieving family members, emergencies and witnessing the raw realities of human suffering.

A growing concern looms - if the upcoming generation of nurses lacks resilience, the after-effects might manifest as elevated rates of professional burnout, compromising the quality of patient care.

Our responsibility, be it as educators or parents, extends beyond mere support. It involves sculpting robust personalities capable of tackling life's numerous challenges head on.

Challenges are inevitable landmarks of life's journey, but with a constructive mindset and unwavering support, they are surmountable.

In our pursuit to mentor and guide, we should aim to find the perfect equilibrium between nurturing and preparing our children and students for life's stark realities.

Ultimately, our mission is clear - furnish them with the requisite tools, allowing them to not only confront adversity but to learn, adapt and thrive in its wake.

The writer is an academic at Department of Nursing, School of Medical and Life Sciences, Sunway University.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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