Molding today’s young eager minds into the minds of some of tomorrow’s finest nurses is a commendable profession that takes a great deal of knowledge, skill, and passion. As a nurse educator, you’ll get the chance to help teach some of the best, brightest, and most compassionate individuals in the country.

Becoming a nurse educator is also an excellent career move. Not only will you get a sense of personal satisfaction from this career, but nurse educators are in high demand at the moment. Some research shows that there is a shortage of skilled and educated nurses in the country. This is partly due to the fact that the aging Baby Boomer generation and increased life expectancy has created more of a demand for nursing jobs. If you choose to become a nurse educator, you’ll most likely have your choice of employers.

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Understanding the Role of a Nurse Educator

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What is a Nurse Educator?
What do Nurse Educators Do?
Where do Nurse Educators Work?
How do I Become a Nurse Educator?

What is a Nurse Educator?

Not surprisingly, a nurse educator is a trained nurse that educates and trains future nurses. Basically, this profession involves teaching nursing students what you know.

As a nurse educator, you should have a good grasp and in-depth knowledge of nursing theories, which you should be able to easily explain. You should also be skilled at basic and advanced nursing practices and be able to teach and demonstrate them to your students.

Not only is a nurse educator be a teacher, but she should also be a good role model. Nurse educators have a real passion for excellence in the nursing field. They should be excited to share their knowledge and watch future generations of nurses grow and blossom into well-trained professionals. A nurse educator should also be a proficient and patient teacher and should strive to better the world of nursing as well.

What do Nurse Educators Do?

Simply put, nurse educators teach nursing students. However, in under the surface, it’s often much more complicated than that. These nursing and education professionals are responsible for designing, evaluating, updating, and implementing new and current nursing education curriculum.

The first responsibility of a nurse educator is to teach. These professionals often work in both classrooms and clinical settings, teaching new nursing student courses as well as continuing education courses. In order to perform their jobs well, they must have excellent leadership skills and an in-depth knowledge of their fields. Most nurse educators will also act as role models and advisers, helping students along their journeys toward becoming successful nurses.

At some point, a nurse educator may be asked to create new nursing courses or redesign – or update – old courses. In order to do this, they must stay abreast of the latest nursing trends and developments, and base their curriculum on this. Because of this, most nurse educators continue to work as professional nurses in their fields and continue to actively participate in the nursing community, often through professional organizations.

Where do Nurse Educators Work?

Nurse educator positions can often be found in nearly any facility that offers nursing classes. This generally includes some healthcare facilities, such as hospitals and long-term care facilities, that offer training programs for nurses. Educational institutes that offer nursing degree or certificate programs will also usually have a need for nurse educators. Examples include universities, community colleges, trade and vocational schools, and even some high schools.

How do I Become a Nurse Educator?

In order to become a nurse educator, you will first need to become a certified registered nurse (RN) or advance practice nurse (APN). Several years of experience in your field is also usually recommended and sometimes even required.

Below is the educational path for a Nurse Educator (lowest to highest level of education)

Educational TrackSchool ProgramsAverage Education LengthChoosing Online or Campus
Earn a Bachelors DegreeView Programs4 Years Online or Campus
Earn a MSN DegreeView Programs2 Additional YearsOnline or Campus
Earn a PHD or DNPView Programs2-4 Additional YearsOnline or Campus

Along with the training and education it takes to become a certified nursing professional, you will also need to continue your education and take additions nurse educator courses. Most employers, for instance, require nurse educators to have a minimum of a master’s degree, but mandatory doctoral nursing degrees are becoming more common for nurse educators, especially for those seeking tenure.

The National League for Nursing (NLN) also offers a nurse educator certification examination. Although this certification is not required, it is strongly encouraged, particularly if you want to advance your career.