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Q & A: Becoming a Nurse Educator

Q & A: Becoming a Nurse Educator

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What is a nurse educator exactly?

A nurse educator is a current or former nurse that has become a faculty member at a nursing school. Nurse educators serve an essential role as teachers, trainers, mentors, and role models for nursing students as they pass on their clinical expertise to the next generation.

Nurse educators may teach in a classroom setting, a clinical setting or both. With the increase in accredited online education programs, there are also increasing numbers of distance teaching jobs for nurse educators. Some nurse educators may also have opportunities lead or collaborate on research projects.

What kinds of degree programs have nurse educators as teachers?

Former nurses are teaching at every level of professional nursing education, which includes ADN, LPN/LVN, BSN, and Advanced Practice Nursing degree programs. Nurses with specialty areas of expertise may teach those clinical skills in more than one degree program.

What are the credentials a nurse needs to become a nurse educator?

The educational requirements for nurse educators vary by degree level. Nurse educators teaching LPN/LVN programs almost always hold a BSN degree or higher. Teachers of RN programs more frequently hold a Masters degree, but at times RNs are hired if they are experienced nurses and qualified to teach. Nurse educators teaching Masters degree programs usually have a Master’s degree or higher.

Today many nursing degree programs may allow students to specialize in Nursing Education. For example, University of Phoenix offers a Masters of Science degree in Nursing & Health Care Education, which prepares nurses to teach and practice clinically.

The National League for Nursing (NLN) has recently created a Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) examination, which is currently an optional certification test that allows nurses to demonstrate their expertise in Nursing Education. This credential was created as part of a movement by the NLN to distinguish nursing education as a professional specialization.

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What are the job opportunities like?

Presently there is a shortage of nurses in the US to meet the needs of the aging baby boomer population. However, there is an even more critical shortage of nurse educators to train the next generation of nursing students. The NLN reported that nursing schools need to increase their enrollment by approximately 30% to meet the projected needs of the nation, and the current full time nursing school faculty members are only equip to handle about 50% of that student population. Because of this, it is an excellent time for current nurses to transition to an academic role, or to consider a Masters degree with an emphasis in nursing or healthcare education.

Get an Advanced Degree through the Nurse Faculty Loan Program

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has entered into agreements with schools of nursing for the establishment of student loan funds to increase the number of qualified nursing faculty.

The schools are able to offer loans from the fund to students who are enrolled full-time in eligible advanced degree nursing programs with education components that will prepare them to teach. Loan recipients who complete the nursing education program may cancel up to 85% of the loan in exchange for service as full-time nurse faculty at a school of nursing.

Eligible applicants are accredited, public or private collegiate schools of nursing located in the U.S. or its territories that offer a master’s and/or doctoral degree program in nursing with an education component to prepare students to serve as faculty at a school of nursing.

Est Annual Max Award: $61,289
Est Number of Awards: 75
Program Contact Name: Denise Thompson
Program Contact Telephone No.: (301) 443-6333
Program Contact Email: dthompson@hrsa.gov

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Image Courtesy of Creative Commons, Flickr user justlgi
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    DrMostasisa

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    As a Doctorate of Education and RN currently enjoying a position as Director of Education at a major Medical Center in SF, California and having had almost 20 years of experience in education both in the academia and the hospital settings not to mention bedside care, a Nurse Educator must possess "real passion" as stated by Rianna below. And on the contrary to what many believe, if you indeed are an excellent Nurse Educator (passionate, skillful, knowledgable, hold multiple degrees, personable etc.) recruiters do find you and are offered all sorts of incentives, benefits and outstanding pay!

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    newchum76

    over 6 years ago

    6 comments

    Sorry J_A_N;
    a NURSE is one who is engaged in the profession of NURSING... not teaching other nurses (that is an educator,) not doing epidemiology (that is a technician or scientist,) managing a staffing agency, (that is a middle manager) not 'managing' NURSES on behalf of a corporate healthcare venue ( that again is a middle manager position) not sitting on a board writing rules for real NURSES to follow. The owner of a case management company is an entrepreneur, or business person, not a NURSE, IMNSHO. If you are not in the arena, fighting the demons that torment your patients and your brother and sister NURSES, you might rethink your right to the itle. Those who wish to continue to be a NURSE should continue to practice NURSING, on the floor, where patients are, even if only part time. I suggest that there should be a number of clinical practice (read PATIENT CONTACT) hours (250 would do as a start) as well as CEU's, necessary to re-license. Those no longer into patient care are EX-NURSES and if they don't like that title, then perhaps it's time they came up with another title so as not to be confused with NURSES....

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    DarisObrien

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I have been an RN since 1959 worked in all areas with 14 yrs as an anesthetist in a large hospital in the state. I retired & moved to a smaller town with a Comunity College and taught 2 semesters as 2nd nurse in classes of 20 students then 7 semesters as Primary Instructor in classe of 10. I have graduated or aided in the graduation of 90+ students. Several have gone on to BSN, ADN, LPN & others are happy with the CNAI certificates. I feel I did a very good job of teaching the total of 6 years I was employed by the community college. I was told 2 years ago by the new coordinator of the program "I will call you when I feel I have something you can do." As of this date I have not received the call. She has a degree in biology and an ADN Liscense. Am I being discriminated against or was I put out to pasture.

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    Swtcandi

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    A Case of majoring in the minor......by saying former simply means a retired nurse, one who is not presently practicing. A matter of semantics which will not change the fact that there exists a shortage of nurse educators.

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    J_A_N_

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I think a nurse educator is still a nurse. To say former nurse is an insult. Having been a nurse educator and now the owner of a case management company I am still a nurse.

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    got2rn

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    After 30+ years at the bedside, I went back to get my MSN, to teach. Guess who gets cut first, if there is any kind of cutback, or flexxing of staff? And as stated, the pay is definitely lower. Today's new grad has had barely any hands-on experience, and needs a long orientation period in the hospital, supervised by an educator. But they are not hiring. And patient care and safety suffer.

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    RiannaP

    over 6 years ago

    48 comments

    It sounds like going into this field is for the greater good and/or because you have a real passion for the work. I think almost all teachers, no matter the field, are underpaid.

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    rndrew01

    over 6 years ago

    132 comments

    The pay is not great and I made more working on the floor but the lack of educators is also why there is such a nursing shortage. Wish it paid more but not everything is about the money

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    mashell4

    over 6 years ago

    1066 comments

    This is something I have been considering after I finish school. I figure this is a way to combine two loves into one.

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    Account Removed

    over 6 years ago

    It is a fun job but the pay stinks. You make more as a floor nurse.

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