Nurse Educator

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Nurse educators are specialists with graduate degrees who are also registered nurses and teachers. They are typically experienced nurses before pursuing teaching careers.

Nurse educators are employed at teaching hospitals and nursing schools. They’re responsible for teaching students aspiring to work as nurses. They create lesson plans, teach classes, supervise students acquiring clinical experience, determine whether teaching programs are effective, and mentor students. Nurse educators teach an array of general classes, in addition to specialized courses in nursing informatics, pediatric nursing, geriatric nursing, etc.

Nurse educators typically have years of clinical experience, and they often continue working as nurses while teaching. Those who stop practicing are still required to stay up to date with new technology and medical treatments. In other words, nurse educators must be constantly learning.

Many experienced nurse educators get promoted to administrative positions, head nurse education programs, write and edit lesson manuals, and design continuing education programs.

Nurse educators are in-demand nationwide since there are currently insufficient numbers of nursing professionals to fill open positions. Nursing shortages currently exist because there are not enough nurse educators to teach future nurses.

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According to the Department of Labor, at least a million nurses are needed to meet future demand by 2016. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported that over 40,000 nursing school applicants were rejected from nursing schools during the previous year because many schools did not have enough nurse educators to teach students.

To encourage nurses to begin nurse education careers, numerous government agencies, non-profit organizations, and other groups have developed public education programs to encourage people to pursue nurse education careers.

Working Conditions
Nurse educators are usually employed at colleges and universities, vocational schools, nursing schools, and community colleges. Many nurse educators are also employed at medical clinics as clinical supervisors and staff development specialists. Some are required to work year round, while some get the summer off. Nurse educators are usually not required to work night or 12 hour shifts like their colleagues.

Nurse educators spend most their time teaching classes, preparing lessons, performing administrative duties, grading essays, and obtaining continuing education. Educators with clinical supervision duties typically spend each day at schools and health clinics. Many nurse educators also conduct research and publish articles in medical journals.

Nurse education careers can be demanding and stressful. Many have multiple responsibilities, which include teaching, clinical, and research responsibilities. Nurse educators are frequently asked to be involved with professional organizations and speak at seminars. They often head academic committees and prepare grant proposals to raise funds at their respective institutions.

Academic Requirements
Nurse educators are typically registered nurses with years of work experience. They also usually hold master’s degrees, but many schools require nurse educators to hold PhDs. Additionally, many nurse educators obtain teaching training or certificates.

Nurse educators must be experienced clinical specialists and excellent teachers. In other words, they must develop excellent communication skills, enjoy public speaking, have good interpersonal skills, and be able to explain confusing topics in clear language.


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