What is a Nurse Educator?
A Nurse Educator operates within an academic system to help train and develop new nurses. They’re instructors who, depending on the level and area they’re qualified to educate in, might teach two-, three-, or four-year diploma programs in a hospital or college environment.
Simply stated, Nurse Educators are teachers, advisors and guides to up and coming nurses. They teach curriculum, demonstrate best practices and offer advice wherever necessary.
Training Future Nurses
Nurse Educators work with new and incumbent nursing professionals in both hospitals and private practices. Sometimes, depending on the style of education the Nurse Educator has adopted, this instruction occurs in a classroom or online environment. While instruction remains their primary task, Nurse Educators can also be responsible for maintaining clinical standards, writing grant proposals, performing research and developing curriculum and learning plans.
Skills and Qualities
Most of the job involves working with others from a position of instruction and authority. The ideal Nurse Educator is someone who excels at communication, and someone who can identify and offer solutions for educational needs. This context also benefits those who are well-organized and focused; working with medical professionals, while trying to convey the benefits of organization and time management, can be difficult with a solidified plan from which to work.
Empathy is also important. Nurse Educators must exhibit the traits they wish to see in their students. They are trying to develop professionals who will assist and care for others, and one of the ways to demonstrate that skill is by showing compassion and understanding for the nurses who are receiving instruction.
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Nurse Educators start as nurses who have excelled in their positions. This typically means those medical professionals who have earned an Associate or Baccalaureate degree, have passed the national licensing examination and have worked for a significant amount of time within their area of specialization.
Some of the more prestigious teaching positions, at colleges for example, might require more advanced education in nursing. For this reason, many nurses pursue a Master’s in Nursing Education (MSN) in order to satisfy this requirement.
Once those educational requirements are met, Nurse Educators must pass the Nurse Educator Certification examination.
Depending on the level of experience and education, a Nurse Educator can make between $45,000 and $94,000 a year. The most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data reported a median wage of $66,100 annually. Salary can vary, however, depending on the location that the Nurse Educator is operating within. Many schools can pay differently than hospitals, and some private practices offer different pay scales than public practices.
Nursing, in general, has a positive outlook through 2020, and Nurse Educators are no exception. According to the BLS, the Nurse Educator position is expected to grow by 19% by 2020, a rate which is significantly higher than the average growth of other professions across the country.
The Nurse Educator position is suited for individuals who are passionate about patient care, while simultaneously excelling in verbal communication, organization and student instruction. The nursing profession needs educators, and the Nurse Educator position provides the platform to share patient care expertise with a new generation of medical professionals.