Advanced Nursing – Nurse Educator

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A nurse educator job combines nursing and teaching, creating a truly satisfying career of helping others in several capacities. Many nurse educators work in both capacities – as a patient care provider and as an instructor, sharing their clinical expertise with nursing students and participating in research while still continuing to work as patient care providers. When you work as a nurse educator, you have the power to shape the future of nursing. If shaping the next generation of nurses is something that interests you, this could be the career for you. The job offers several perks including flexible schedules, the opportunity to work with the latest research and the satisfaction of interacting with curious students. If you are organized, a good communicator, and eager to share your expertise in nursing, the nurse educator role could be right for you.

Student Rhiana with a new born baby in Morogoro, Tanzania Job description

At the most basic level, a nurse educator’s job lies in teaching hopeful nurses lessons in patient care. They are often responsible for developing a curriculum, and teaching using a combination of lectures and lab/clinical work.

As a nurse educator, some of your jobs and responsibilities would include:

  • Planning the course curriculum and style of instruction
  • Teaching undergraduate or graduate-level courses
  • Delivering lectures across a wide range of topics including community health care and pharmacology
  • Guiding and moderating classroom discussions.
  • Assigning homework
  • Overseeing students’ assignments as well as their lab and clinical work
  • Serving as a mentor on academic and career issues
  • Encouraging discussions among students
  • Grade student’s assignments and clinical and lab work
  • Oversee lab and clinical work

As a nurse educator, you can choose to focus exclusively on teaching or you could do a combination of instruction and research or you could choose to work as a direct patient provider.

Training requirements 

You will need to complete advanced education in order to be trained in both, nursing as well as teaching. You can obtain this by way of a Master of Science in Nursing degree (MSN). The other option is a Doctoral degree in Nursing (PhD). Whichever one of these programs you choose, you will need to pick a clinical specialty as well.

The MSN coursework is more advanced than that of a bachelor’s degree program, but uses the undergraduate curriculum as the foundation. If you already have an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in another field, you can find schools offering accelerated programs for Bachelor of Science (BSN) and MSNs.

If you are interested in the academic side of nursing, you can enroll in a Doctor of Nursing Philosophy (PhD) program, which will prepare you in leadership, research tactics and public policy.

There are also several variations on a PhD program, such as the MSN/PhD Dual Degree, which are intended for students with a non-nursing undergraduate degree.

Possible career paths for a nurse educator

Nurse educators find the majority of the jobs in colleges and universities, including technical and trade schools, junior colleges and professional schools. A smaller portion work in general medical and surgical hospitals. The type of curriculum you teach will depend on the type of facility you are teaching at.

There is a huge demand for nurse educators in the US and this is because lack of qualified teaching faculty is considered to be the main reason behind the nursing shortage in the country. This means there is tremendous scope for a nurse educator looking for a job.

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