Nurse educators have the important task of preparing and mentoring tomorrow’s nurses. These educators play a critical role in strengthening the nursing profession.
A nurse educator is a registered nurse (RN) who has an advanced degree that allows them to teach in nursing schools and teaching hospitals. It’s a rewarding profession for those wishing to combine their love of nursing with education.
Read more to learn about this rewarding career.
The Role of a Nurse Educator
Nurse educators are responsible for training the future nurses of the world. In addition to teaching, many educators also work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, or other clinical settings.
A nurse educator should have strong leadership abilities, excellent communication skills, and comprehensive knowledge of their nursing field. They are responsible for designing, updating, evaluating, and implementing new and current nursing curriculum.
Nurse educators serve as role models and advisers for students who are working towards an RN degree. They combine their clinical expertise and passion for teaching into a noble and rewarding career.
They are essential for assuring a comprehensive, quality educational experience that prepares nursing students for important work in the ever-changing healthcare field. They are leaders on the cutting edge of the nursing profession who teach students what they know and guide them throughout the learning process.
In addition to teaching nursing students, nurse educators who work in an academic setting have other responsibilities, including:
- Research or other scholarly work
- Advising students
- Speaking at Conferences
- Participating in professional nursing associations
- Peer review
- Writing grant proposals
- Documenting outcomes of educational processes
- Overseeing students’ clinical practice
- Participating in leadership roles in the community
Nurse educators must have a strong clinical background as well as strong communication and critical thinking skills. They should be experts in their area of instruction and stay up-to-date with the latest trends, development, and technologies in medical care.
If you want to become a nurse educator, you must first earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. After obtaining this degree, you can take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) to become a registered nurse.
To become a nurse educator, you must earn an advanced degree. Options include a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN), a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), or a Doctor of Nursing Philosophy (Ph.D.).
Nurse educators work in a variety of settings. These include:
- Colleges and universities
- Community or junior colleges
- Technical colleges
- Community health centers
- Home health agencies
- Online teaching
- Long-term care facilities
- High schools
In the school setting, there are many options. You can teach at a rural or urban campus, a small community college, a large university, a teaching hospital, and more. Every community needs nurses, so the options for employment are wide.
Nursing education careers continue to be in high demand. The U.S. Department of Labor states that over 1 million RNs will be needed by 2020.
As baby boomers age and people are living longer than ever before, many communities face nursing shortages. The U.S. needs more nurses, especially ICU nurses who handle critical care cases.
And as the need for nurses grows, so does the need for nursing educators.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, post-secondary nursing teachers will see a 19% growth in employment through 2024. This is higher than the average growth rate.
The average salary for nursing educators was $73, 150 in 2015. This number varies, however, depending on location and clinical and teaching experience.
Teachers usually work on a nine-month contract. Summer teaching pay is in addition to a nine-month salary.
Salaries for educators with doctorate degrees tend to be higher than those with master’s degrees. Administrative positions also offer an opportunity for higher pay.
Many nursing educators earn income teaching and caring for patients in a clinical setting. Because nurses can earn more in a clinical setting than through teaching, colleges and universities are offering higher, more competitive pay to attract nursing educators.
Typically, nursing educators are pleased with their job. They describe a high level of satisfaction in working and interacting with students and watching them grow in skill and confidence.
They feel they are contributing something valuable to society by preparing the nurses of the future. Other benefits of the job include:
- A good salary
- Access to cutting-edge research
- The opportunity to work with other health professionals
- A stimulating work environment
- Many employment opportunities
- Flexible work schedule
Nursing educators are in high demand, and this is helpful for job security in the field. This allows many educators to maintain a dual role and receive a dual income as a teacher and patient care provider.
A Teacher and Role Model
Nursing is a challenging profession, and nursing school is the first real challenge on the road to a rewarding career in healthcare. Nurse educators understand this and want to share their knowledge with aspiring nurses.
A nursing educator must have extensive knowledge of nursing theories and be able to explain them in a way students will understand. They must be skilled in basic and advanced nursing practices and able to effectively demonstrate these practices to your students.
These educators are teachers and role models for nursing students. And they should possess a passion for excellence in their field.
Every community needs nurses, and for those nurses to be great at what they do, they need excellent teachers. A nurse educator should be excited to share what they know and see nursing students learn and become well-trained professionals in the healthcare industry.
If you are interested in becoming an ICU nurse or future nursing educator, take a look at the helpful career information on our website.