It is a common occurrence for nurses working in hospitals or other care settings to provide advice and teaching expertise to student nurses, other nurses and even doctors. Alongside this, registered nurses are usually required to talk to their patients about illnesses that they have been diagnosed with, medications they need to take, and how best to manage these issues safely and responsibly.
So, it is safe to say that being a registered nurse is a bit of a teaching role. If you have wanted to extend this area of your nursing expertise, have you ever considered becoming a nurse educator? Like all nursing professions in 2022, this one requires a boost and there are some real-world benefits to training as a nurse educator.
If you have considered this as a career choice for yourself, you may have some questions. Alternatively, if you are hearing about this role for the first time, you may also have some questions about it too. Therefore, in this article, common questions about nurse educators are answered.
What Is a Nurse Educator?
In simple terms, a nurse educator is a nurse who teaches and prepares licenced practical nurses (LPN’s) and registered nurses (RN’s) for entry into clinical practice. This role typically involves teaching in clinical settings or classroom environments.
However, a nurse educator is considered a senior nursing role and as such, to train as a nurse educator, you must have a standard qualification in nursing. You can earn a nurse educator degree online or on campus depending on your requirements for undertaking this additional training.
Nurse educators teach in graduate programmes for nurses at master’s and doctoral levels, and prepare advanced practice nurses, nurse educators, administrative nurses and nurse researchers as well.
What Are the Minimum Requirements to Become One?
As mentioned earlier, to train as a nurse educator, you need to first have your standard registered nursing licence and be registered to practise in the state that you are in. You will need to take on the additional training of becoming a nurse educator, but the type of degree required for this will depend on the state and the university. If you are looking to become a full-time nurse educator, you may need to undertake a doctorate to get this teaching position at a university or college.
if you are not sure about the requirements in your state to become a nurse educator, ask your nursing supervisor about the best way to become a nurse educator.
Do You Need Certification?
To become a nurse educator, you will need to undertake additional training programmes but, generally speaking, certification is not required for nurse educator employment. There are, however, a few options which include the National League of Nursing and the American Nurses Credentialing Centre, both of which offer certification and professional development to nurse educators but these are optional.
How Many Clinical Hours Are Needed?
When you are training to become a nurse educator, on most courses, you’ll be required to fill 420 clinical hours if you are training for a master’s degree. If you are training for the postgraduate certificate as a nurse educator, you are required to usually complete 180 clinical hours.
Where Do Nurse Educators Work?
Typically, nurse educators work at colleges training student nurses and registered nurses. Alternatively, they may work at universities in a similar role. In some instances, you may be required to train at a hospital or even in a community centre. In short, wherever there are students who are looking to train as a nurse, you will likely be needed.
What Are the Benefits of Training as a Nurse Educator?
There are many benefits of training as a nurse educator. For one thing, you will be developing your skillset as a nurse and enhancing your employability. As mentioned before, nurse educators are in short supply and are needed desperately to train the next generation of registered nurses.
Then, of course, there is the additional pay that comes withholding a senior nursing position. However, this will vary depending on if you have a full-time role or a part-time role as a nurse educator, the state that you are working in, and of course, the institution which you teach for.
Many nurse educators often report feeling a deep sense of satisfaction helping nurses who are in training and by passing on their knowledge to these trainees, they are ensuring that the next generation of nurses are all well trained and will be prepared for anything that this challenging profession may throw their way. As a nurse educator, you may also have the opportunity to influence policies around nursing education and will be able to undertake research as well if you desire to. Although, this may be more prevalent if you were working for a university as a nurse educator and have a full-time role.
Another advantage is travel. As mentioned before, there is something of a shortage of nurse educators, meaning that if you want to teach as many nurses and training nurses as possible, you may be required to travel around the country. This will give you a sense of freedom rather than being stuck on a ward and will allow you to learn more about nursing requirements in each state of the US.
If you are a fan of teaching others, and often regret not going into teaching rather than nursing, then training as a nurse educator may be the ideal role for you. This role will allow you to enhance your skills, connect with the newer generation of nurses and, of course, pass on valuable information to ensure that the highest level of clinical requirements are met. It can also allow you to travel and can enable you to become a researcher and influencer in nursing practice, depending on your expertise and knowledge. So, it truly is an all-encompassing role and many nurses who have trained in this area report a very high level of job satisfaction.