Featured Teacher: Michele Pedicone
Michele Pedicone is Director of Clinical Education and Assistant Professor in the Cardiopulmonary Science
program in the College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences.
Given the big heart she has for her students, her lifelong desire to be a teacher
and a natural flair for working with people, it is surprising Michele Pedicone has
only been actively teaching for about five years. As a native of France who spent
her formative years in Europe and Asia before widely traveling the globe, she has
a broad multicultural perspective and a wealth of personal experience to share with
students and colleagues. This comes out not just in daily interactions with students
but through extracurricular programs she helps facilitate. She recently returned from
Costa Rica where she shared her love of travel with an interprofessional cohort of
students for an alternative spring break program. In collaboration with students and
faculty at the Universidad Santa Paula, ETSU students travel, learn, and get hands
on experience serving the health care needs of communities there.
Michele’s clinical specialty is neonatal respiratory care. Most of her students come
to the program already familiar with the basics of adult respiratory care, but there
are important differences when it comes to infants. She finds the best way to address
any knowledge gaps is to enliven standard textbook content with stories from her extensive
experience in the field, guest speakers, and case studies.
The students of both programs. ETSU students presented the respiratory students at
USP with sunflower pins to symbolize planting the seeds of respiratory awareness.
Her classes are highly interactive. With minimal sage on the stage lecturing she facilitates
group work largely centered around case studies. This is often the best way to see
how textbook knowledge applies in practice. Sometimes the case studies are modeled
on board exams but more often they are inspired by experiences she has had in the
field. The program also makes use of clinical simulations and actor patients. In all
these, there is more involved than arriving at an accurate diagnosis. Michele is more
interested in how students get to the solution. Neonatal respiratory issues are often
more complicated than they seem at first and it is important clinicians do not arrive
at hasty conclusions. Beyond the diagnosis is the critical thinking process that gets
you there, and the possibility of differential diagnosis.
Though she works in a highly technical field where quantitative analysis is very important,
Michele has always had more passion for the people the numbers help serve. The big
heart she has always had for patients now extends to students as well. “Ms. Pedicone
has made a great transition into the cardiopulmonary science program,” says one of
her students, Haley Worley. “I love her drive to connect with students. I have not
had a teacher invest so much time into getting to know her students.” She takes a
holistic approach to both health care and teaching. Just as a deep understanding of
the lungs and heart requires a larger contextual understanding of human anatomy and
physiology, teaching requires attention to the heart and mind of the whole student
and not just content knowledge. Nothing in education or healthcare happens in a vacuum.
From day one, you are working in teams with other specialists to address the needs
of patients. Michele has a grounded perspective on the larger mission of clinical
education in health care which more and more requires graduates to be expert communicators
and team players.
She also sees teaching as a kind of mentoring, saying “they are students now, but
I also consider them future colleagues.” For Michele, this means meeting students
where they are as learners through active learning and empathy, and also helping them
see themselves as burgeoning health care professionals and scholars. As Director of
Clinical Education for Cardiopulmonary Science who is active with many professional
organizations, she avidly works to plug upcoming students into the professional networks
and associations they need to secure internships and other career opportunities.
By Phil Smith
The Center for Teaching Excellence will feature a different faculty member each month.
If you'd like to nominate a teacher to be featured on the site, contact Phil Smith.
See past featured teachers here.