Nurse Educator

Nurse Educators Prepare Tomorrows Healthcare Professionals Today
Nurse educators are at the head of the class, preparing aspiring nurses to enter the medical field. Generally, nurse educators have worked as registered nurses and decide to teach nursing classes on a part-time or full-time basis. As faculty members of teaching hospitals and nursing schools, nurse educators share their knowledge, skills and abilities in effective practice for the next generation.
Typically, nurse educators develop lesson plans and curricula, teach classes, oversee students’ clinical modules and evaluate nursing education programs. They may teach general education courses of a nursing degree program. Additionally, some nurse educators teach specialization courses such as pediatric or geriatric nursing.

Many nurse educators bring extensive clinical experience into the classroom. Some opt to continue patient care while teaching. It is important that nurse educators stay abreast of technologies and methods related to nursing.

Experience may also lead to roles in managing nurse education programs, reviewing textbooks and developing continuing education courses for registered nurses.

At a minimum, nurse educators must obtain a license as a registered nurse and have several years experience in the nursing field. Most nurse educators also hold a Master’s degree. Many universities require a doctorate degree to teach nursing courses. Post-master’s certification – particularly in a specialty area – also helps build teaching credentials.

In addition to the academic foundation, nurse educators should be effective communicators and teachers. Exceptional communication skills in building a rapport with students and the ability to explain complex nursing and medical concepts is a must.

Work Environment
Typically, nurse educators work at community colleges, technical schools and nursing programs in a hospital or university. In some cases, nurse educators may also work in a healthcare setting as clinical supervisors or staff development administrators.

The work schedule for nurse educators is typically based on the academic calendar year. Most of their day is spent inside the classroom or office. Nurse educators have broad duties related to teaching. Generally, they prepare for classes, advise students, grade papers, conduct lectures, attend faculty meetings and perform other administrative tasks.

Nurse educators who supervise clinical will spend time at a hospital or medical facility as well as the classroom. Many nurse educators may also engage in research activities.

An academic career may require competing obligations. Research and publishing requirements may conflict with speaking at conferences or instructing students. Nurse educators may have to serve as peer reviewers for journal articles or write grant proposals.

Even with the many demands, most nurse educators find a satisfaction in their daily obligations. Interacting with students, while preparing them to care for patients, is a rewarding opportunity.

Salary compensation typically depends on the level of clinical and teaching experience. Generally, nurse educators can earn over $71,000 annually for teaching during an academic year. Some teaching institutions pay an additional salary for summer teaching.

Career Outlook
The nursing shortage in the U.S. places nurse educator positions in great demand. Some nursing schools have denied qualified applications due to the lack of nurse educators. To fill this gap, registered nurses who want to change career paths may find plenty of opportunities as a nurse educator.