As the head of Nightingale College, Mikhail Shneyder didn’t set out to optimize nursing-school learning for a pandemic. But there’s no question that the college’s innovative model, combining online and regionalized experiential learning, adapted quickly when shelter-in-place restrictions began.
“Because of COVID, we just accelerated things already in development,” says Shneyder, referring to virtual simulations and learning gamification.
From the time he joined Nightingale in 2012, Shneyder’s goal has been simple yet challenging: change the world by improving health. He’s doing this by revolutionizing access to nursing education. “Our curriculum is organized so learners can do the majority of their work online from anywhere, then travel to a ‘hub’ once a semester to engage in supervised field experiences,” says Shneyder.
The result? A broader socioeconomic and geographic student population than traditional nursing programs. Increased diversity in nursing leads to better health outcomes, says Shneyder, an immigrant from Belarus. “Studies show conclusively that the effectiveness of care is higher when provided by a workforce that reflects the patient population.”
Education wasn’t Shneyder’s initial career trajectory. He earned his American nursing license and pursued management and a business degree. “I thought becoming a supervisor would be the best way to motivate people to share my passion for good health outcomes,” he says. But then a Haas career counselor asked if he’d ever considered education leadership.
“I thought it over and realized, ‘I’m going to change the world through education,’” says Shneyder.