Nurse Educator is often a forgotten about role, however it’s probably the MOST important advance nursing role there is. Who else is teaching and preparing the NPs, CNM, CNS, and CRNAs to be great? It’s the Educator.
Nurse Educators play a vital role in ensuring that the next generation of nurses is prepared to pass the NCLEX and are safe and competent to meet the growing demand for healthcare services. Nurse Educators are also instrumental in shaping the future of the nursing profession, by creating curriculum, teaching clinical and technical skills and redefining the depth of knowledge needed to help advance quality of patient care.
Sounds like a very important role right? It is!
So how does one become a Nurse Educator? Here’s what you need to know.
Nurse educators are Registered Nurses with advanced education, Masters in Nursing Education, who are also teachers. Most have worked for many, years before deciding to turn to a career teaching future nurses and mentoring/coaching experienced nurses. Most nurse educators have extensive clinical experience, sometimes in a specialty area, and many continue caring for patients after becoming Educators.
You can find Nurse Educators in academic settings like nursing schools, community colleges and technical schools. Some also work in health care settings as professional development specialists or clinical supervisors. And unlike other advance degree Nurses, Educators typically do not work 12-hour shifts.
A good portion of an Educator’s time is spent in an office or a classroom, preparing for classes, giving lectures, advising, assessing for competency, attending meetings, handling administrative work and keeping up with current nursing knowledge. Educators who oversee students in clinical settings may divide their time between being a clinical instructor and teaching lectures.
For a Nurse Educator in an academic setting, there are often research and publishing requirements to be met. Nurse educators are often expected to participate in professional organizations and attend or speak at conferences. They may serve on peer review and other academic committees or be asked to write grant proposals to bring new funding to the school.
Nurse Educators in a hospital setting are commonly referred to a Professional Development Specialist (PDS). The PDS has knowledge and skills in adult learning principles, nursing career development, program development and management, continuing education, and leadership. These experienced Educators help nurses engage in lifelong learning to develop and maintain their competencies, advance their professional nursing practice, and facilitate their achievement of academic and practice career goals.
Studies show that a great majority of Nurse Educators are highly satisfied with their work. They find interaction with students rewarding, and they take pride in the role they play in preparing nurses to care for patients and mentoring nurses.