What is a Nurse Educator?

If you want to play a role in training the future nursing workforce, you may want to consider becoming a nurse educator. Nurse educators work in universities and hospitals in front of students who are studying to earn their undergraduate or graduate nursing degrees. If you are interested in a career in both education and healthcare, this could be the perfect career opportunity for you. Here is what educators do and how you can work to become one:

Primary Role of Nursing Educators

Nurse educators are both talented teachers and experienced clinical professionals who use their passion for the field of nursing to prepare and mentor nursing students. Their primary role is to help both students and practicing nurses identify their strengths while teaching them how to overcome their weaknesses.

They also help to design curricula, develop educational programs, and evaluate the learning of students to make changes to programs and curricula. At the end of the day, a nursing educator’s goal is to serve as an academic leader and a professional role model so that the future generation of nursing professionals can succeed.

Nurse Educator Job Duties

Nursing educators typically teach clinical courses in a specific area of study. This is why it is so important for prospective educators to pursue a specialty before they apply for jobs in education. Some specialties that you can pursue include acute care, pediatrics, oncology, mental health, cardiology, and gerontology. According to Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow, your duties will be dependent on where you work. Here are some of the common responsibilities of educators:

  • Developing lesson plans
  • Instructing students in a clinical setting
  • Evaluating students and assigning grades
  • Documenting learning outcomes
  • Advising students
  • Performing research for scholarly work
  • Acting as a guest speaker at conferences
  • Acting as a leader in an academic setting
  • Staying up-to-date on the latest technologies and practices in your specialty area
  • Drafting grant proposals for your department

Where Do Nurse Educators Work?

As an educator, you can work in a variety of health-care settings. Since the health system is changing, there is a need for professionals in more than just universities. Here are a few of the options you might not automatically think of:

  • Faculty at a hospital-based school
  • Faculty at a technical school that issues nursing certificates
  • Staff development specialist at a healthcare practice or facility
  • Community agencies that work with families and nursing students
  • Continuing education organizations

Is there demand for new nursing educators?

There is a huge nursing faculty shortage. Since there is a huge demand for nursing graduates, now is the best time to purse a career in teaching. More and more funding is being spent on faculty development programs. Be sure to look for these American Association of Colleges of Nursing to really prepare for a job in nurse education. With the appropriate experience and training, finding a job should not be difficult.

Related Resource: How an LPN Becomes an RN

If you want to earn an average of $78,242 per year doing what you love to do, start gaining experience as a clinical nurse first, according to Explore Health Careers. Once you have experience, you can study to develop skills that you will need in an academic setting so that you can apply to work as a nurse educator in a university, public office, or hospital.