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Nursing Careers: Nurse Educator

By University Alliance
Nursing Careers: Nurse Educator

A nurse educator acts as both a registered nurse (RN) and a teacher. These respected professionals typically gain experience working as a nurse prior to transitioning into the teaching field. They may teach a wide-variety of subjects, spanning from general nursing practices to focused areas of specialization. Some nurse educators continue to practice nursing, while others prefer to focus on teaching full-time. Either way, they are required to stay up-to-date on the latest practices and procedures and pass new techniques along to their students.

How to Become a Nurse Educator

To become a nurse educator, one must be a licensed registered nurse with several years of experience working in the field. The minimum required level of education is a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, which can be obtained through traditional nursing schools or an online RN to BSN degree completion program. Many nurse educators have a master’s degree in nursing, but those teaching at colleges and universities are typically required to have a doctorate degree. Many professionals also complete a post-master’s certificate or degree in education, in addition to certification for their area of specialization.

Check out our Nursing Specialization Career Guide Here

Benefits of Being a Nurse Educator

Nurse educators can enjoy many benefits on the job, including:

  • Flexibility to work practically anywhere and create a schedule that fits their lifestyle
  • Respect in the health care field
  • The ability to change the lives of their students and patients
  • Teaching others to excel in a career they enjoy
  • Giving back to society by providing necessary education to current and future nurses

Qualities of a Great Nurse Educator

Five qualities to help excel in the field may include:

  • Patience - Students may learn better from a patient nurse educator who is calm, collected and willing to work with them until they’ve fully grasped a procedure or course material.
  • Passion - When a nurse educator is passionate about teaching and nursing, their enthusiasm can be electric, energizing their students and getting them excited for a career of helping others.
  • Dedication - Nursing isn’t always an easy job, but a dedicated nurse educator can help inspire students to stick with it during tough times, focusing on the positive impact they have on their patients.
  • Adaptability - No two patients are alike, so a nurse educator who is able to quickly and easily adapt to change prepares students for work in the field, showing them that it is okay to make necessary adjustments to their care plans as needed.
  • Social Skills - A nurse educator is able to effectively interact with students of all types in a positive manner, serving as a role model for those they teach.

Job Outlook

In 2014, The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a mean annual salary of $66,100 for postsecondary nurse educators.

The average annual salary of a nurse educator can vary greatly, typically decided according to the amount of clinical experience the nurse has, the geographic location and teaching experience of an individual. The salaries of nurse educators with a doctorate degree and those with advanced responsibilities are typically higher. Additionally, the pay of many nurse educators is based on nine months of teaching, but professionals commonly supplement their salary by teaching classes or working as a nurse during the summer months.

Most nurse educators work in academic and healthcare settings. Unlike clinical nurses, they are not typically required to work nights, weekends and holidays. Most of their day is spent in an office or classroom, preparing lesson plans, leading classes, grading papers and completing administrative work. Many nurse educators are also involved in research efforts.

Working as a clinical nurse can be a rewarding career path for those who enjoy nursing and teaching. These valued professionals can make an impact on their students by preparing nurses with the necessary skills to excel in the field.

Category: Nursing