What Does a Nurse Educator Do?

A combined love of nursing and teaching may cause you to look into what a nurse educator does. As the name indicates, a nurse educator is someone who is trained as both a nurse and a teacher. Nurse educators are crucial, because they help to train and mentor other nurses, ensuring that quality skills and a professional attitude are passed to a new generation of people in the profession.

Where Nurse Educators Work

You will find nurse educators everywhere where nurses need mentoring. This might include hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities as well as programs or schools organized specifically to train nurses at all levels: diploma or certificates, associates degrees, bachelors degrees, or masters or doctorate level degrees. Since nursing is a rapidly changing and growing field, it is also important that working nurses maintain an understanding of changes in their specific specialties and keep up to date on new information that may impact their particular field. For this reason, nursing educators can also be found teaching in continuing education courses, symposiums, or conferences. The growth of technology has also opened up online educational opportunities, both for traditional nursing students and nurses who need continuing education. Online teaching is yet another possible avenue for nurse educators today.

Background Requirements and Roles

Since what a nurse educator does is teach other nurses, it’s important that they themselves are nurses. Generally, nurse educators are RNs who have gone on to graduate level study, according to Nurses For a Healthier Tomorrow. Some nurse educators continue to work as nurses even while teaching. Combining the two professions allows them to stay up to date in their own areas of practice even while teaching others.

The roles of a nurse educator may vary widely, from adjunct or full-time faculty member to curriculum developer to researcher or school administrator. While all of these roles require nursing skills, they rely on different types of educational background and skills. If you are interested in spending direct time with students, you may want to find a role that allows you to teach and advise. These kinds of roles will likely require you to develop your speaking abilities as you will likely lecture and tutor students. It is likely that you will end up teaching in those areas in which you yourself have specialized. If you prefer more of a background role, you might find designing and writing curriculum or conducting academic research to be your preferred kind of job.

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Whatever role you decide to pursue, as a nurse educator is it important to stay focused on helping students stay up to date on nursing techniques. Mentoring students and encouraging them in their growth as leaders is an essential part of any professional field, and nursing is no exception. Right now, it is hard for nursing schools to keep pace with the growing number of people who want to join the profession, and a teaching shortage is part of the challenge, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. If you have a nursing degree and a love of teaching, now could be an excellent time to consider the importance of what a nurse educator does and to enter this important field.