Summary: A nurse educator is a registered nurse who has advanced education, in a particular health care field. Unlike other nurses, a nurse educator works in academic settings. They are known by other professional titles such as Continuing Education Specialist, Clinical Nurse Educator or Administrative Nurse Faculty. The job of a nurse educator is to create and develop training manuals for nursing students. They formulate and design curricula to train, teach and guide students through formal nursing academic programs.
Duties: In general, nurse educators prepare students for their future roles as caretakers, caregivers or professional nurses in hospitals and clinics. Nurse educators design, execute, analyze and revise academic and continuing education programs for nurses. They ensure that nursing programs meet the standard for nursing curricula and train future nurses to adapt to the ever-changing environment of the healthcare industry. Nurse educators often hold masters or doctoral degrees and teach as faculty members in colleges, universities, and schools of nursing. They also teach at technical schools, and are staff development trainers in health care facilities. They have access to the latest research and work of renowned healthcare educators. The shortage of nurse educators implies opportunities by professional nurses who have a penchant for teaching to consider a career in nurse education. As the shortage worsens, great career prospects await those nurses who decide to take on this career.
Education and Training Requirements: A bachelor’s degree in nursing is a minimum requirement while a master’s or doctoral degrees are needed in academic careers. Nurse educators must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) and have an unexpired nursing license.
Knowledge and Skills Requirements: Nurse educators must possess excellent communication skills and needs to be creative. They must have critical thinking skills and needs to be initiated in the areas of teaching and are excellent conveyors of knowledge. Nurse educators need a commitment to lifelong learning.
Working Conditions: Unlike regular RNs, nurse educators work in learning institutions like colleges and universities, community colleges, nursing institutions, vocational schools, hospitals, health agencies and facilities and online distance learning media. They have regular workday schedules, but work is spent mostly in classroom settings. They sometimes handle students in clinical settings and may spend some time in health care facilities or hospitals if their expertise is needed there.
Salary: A nurse educator makes $56,000 annually on average. Factors like size of company, location, nature of the industry, benefits and experience may cause salaries to vary considerably amongst nurse educators.