What is a Nurse Educator?

Nurse EducatorThose interested in pursuing a career in nursing may have heard of nurse educators. In today’s culture, educators are sorely needed, especially for this rigorous and essential course of study. But what precisely does such a title entail? Because education will be a large part of the role for many nursing professionals, we’ll explore more about this particular aspect of the field below, and examine the duties inherent in the nursing title.

What They Do

While it might seem a common sense notion that the best teachers of any discipline are those versed in the practices and procedures of that field, how often does anyone devote thought and attention to this necessary occupation? Nurse educators are vital to the success of the next generation of nurses. They teach, whether in the classroom or within the sphere of practice, and act as mentors to nursing students at all phases of their education.

But that is a simplistic explanation that doesn’t truly do justice to this complex role. Nurse educators are highly trained individuals, who almost always have extensive experience within the field as RNs. They may teach generalized courses, in which every prospective nurse must participate, or lecture on a particular specialty. Trauma nursing is, after all, quite a bit different in its particulars from hospice or pediatric care.

Instructing the next wave of nurses is a full-time job by any estimation, However, even the most involved nurse educator, who participates in mentoring activities, constructs lesson plans, and guides the learning experience of each student, may elect to continue caring for patients as a practicing nurse. Those who retire from the field of active duty will still be up to date on all the latest theory and practice within their profession, rendering them active students in their own right.

High Value, Intense Need

While many new nurses may feel the call to work in the practical sphere, nursing educators are needed more than ever. It has been estimated by some that the healthcare profession will need more than 1 million nurses to replace those who retire by 2020, according to Explore Health Careers. However, in the past year alone, 80,000 perfectly qualified student applicants were denied access to nursing schools across the country. Why?

The simple fact is that there aren’t enough nurse educators to teach the students who wish to learn. In such a specialized realm, a substitute lecturer will never suffice. Due to this dire shortfall, there are many agencies, such as government and privately funded, that act as sourcing agents. They help prospective nurse educators to find both funding and appropriate educational opportunities, attempting to facilitate a resurgence in the profession.

These educators aren’t simply teachers. They are highly trained practical nurses, with deep insights into the pragmatic aspects of the medical profession. While they do work in classrooms, teaching hospitals, and as mentors to new nurses, they also fulfill roles in policy formation. They know better than almost anyone what is needed and where within their sphere of action.

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While practical nursing alone may offer a larger salary than teaching, the educational facilities that desperately need educators are moving to close the wage gap. It’s standard practice to offer larger salaries to nurses who have completed a doctorate or bring many years of diverse experience to the table, but new initiatives are rendering the option of teaching more attractive for nurses in the midst of their careers. Nurse educators are some of the most essential teachers in any field, and they are needed now more than ever before.