Nikka has always looked up to her instructors, in fact, once in her life, she dreamt of becoming one herself. A teacher. Someone who can impart their knowledge to others, someone who can help mold people to become better individuals and have brighter futures. But she also wanted to become a nurse and help the sick, thus her decision of entering the nursing profession instead.
However, despite being in another profession, she still couldn’t let go of her dream of becoming a teacher, that’s why she’s thankful that specializations in nursing exist. She finds herself browsing the internet to find something that could merge two of her passions when she comes about the term “Nurse Educator.” This is it, she says to herself. Both intrigued and curious, she clicks on the link to find out more about nurse educators and how to become one.
What are Nurse Educators?
A nurse educator is a nurse who teaches and prepares licensed practical nurses (LPN) and registered nurses (RN) for entry into practice positions. They act as mentors of nursing students and can also teach in various patient care settings to provide continuing education to licensed nursing staff.
Basically, they oversee instruction to guarantee that the education students receive is of the highest quality in order to prepare them for a career in the health care field. They also design and teach academic curriculum, as well as evaluate curriculum and revise it as necessary. Furthermore, they instruct courses in formal academic programs for students working toward a bachelor’s or associate degree in nursing, and also teach continuing education programs for nurses looking to advance their knowledge of nursing specialties.
Not only that, nurse educators also act as a guide to their students and help them identify learning needs which include strengths and limitations, and help them to optimize their talents and decrease limitations. Other responsibilities of nurse educators include participating in research, membership in professional associations, engaging in peer review, writing grant proposals and maintaining clinical standards.
How much can I earn?
The average salary for a nurse educator is $78,242 (assistant professor), but compensation depends greatly on how much clinical and teaching experience the nurse educator has and where he/she teaches. Additionally, educators who work only during the academic year are paid their annual salary over those nine months. Summer teaching is often compensated separately.
Furthermore, salaries rise for nurse educators who complete a doctorate and for those who assume administrative or leadership responsibilities in the school. Many nurse educators also earn extra pay by caring for patients.
How can I become one?
For a person to become a nurse educator, you must be prepared to pursue advanced levels of nursing education and clinical training, but first things first. The first step in becoming a nurse educator is to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing and earn your nursing license by passing the NCLEX-RN. You can then start working to gain several years of work experience.
For those interested in teaching at the graduate level, you will need to earn a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing (a doctorate is required to teach at most universities). The program you choose must have an emphasis on nursing education or a specific health care specialty, such as cardiology, oncology, pediatrics, psychiatrics, acute care or family health.
Nurse educators typically teach clinical courses that match with their specialty or concentration of their graduate nursing education program, so, it is important that you get advance experience working within a clinical specialty to develop your expertise in that area.
After you complete a graduate program, you then must pass a Certified Nurse Educator Examination from a professional organization like the National League of Nursing since certification serves as a validation of expertise in nursing instruction and recognition of the nurse educator’s specialized knowledge, abilities and skills.
And voila, there you have it, you can now call yourself a nurse educator.