Teaching Health Care
The nurse educator is normally an advanced practice-nursing specialty. This highly trained nurse is the one who may be in charge of shaping the nurses of tomorrow, or in teaching specialized procedures to patients or to practicing nurses. Nurse educators can be found in clinics, nursing programs or in hospitals where their advanced degrees and extensive practical knowledge of nursing make them invaluable members of the faculty or the health care setting.
Nurse Educator Job Description & Scope of Practice
A qualified nurse educator will have the practical experience combined with their education to become qualified instructors of nursing students as well as patient instructors.
A nurse educator might instruct a class of nursing students. The educator might design curriculum for students. The nursing instructor will advise students on errors in techniques and assist them in identifying their weaknesses and help them excel. The instructor may also be responsible for documenting class and clinical performance of individual students. In addition, the nurse educator role may involve evaluating learning through traditional tests and as well as observation.
Nurse educators may also perform their roles in hospital settings conducting in-services for nurses and introducing new techniques and protocols into a hospital or clinic. The nurse educator might work exclusively with patients such as a diabetes educator who would consult with patients before their release and help them to learn how to live and adapt to their diabetes. Other nurse instructors might be employed in a teaching capacity for patients or families of seriously ill patients requiring at home medical procedures. An example of that would be teaching the family how to care for a gastrostomy tube on a pediatric or geriatric patient about to be released from the hospital. The job description of the nurse educator is not limited to clinical or classroom instructors of new nurses but encompasses the large group of advanced practice nurses who have the ability and desire to teach others.
How to Become a Nurse Educator
The nurse educator is usually an individual with and advanced degree such as a Master of Science in Nursing or even a Doctorate. All nurses who apply for post-graduate programs must also have completed 1000 or more hours of clinical practice in their nursing speciality.
The nurse educator must be an excellent communicator, who combines a love of health care with a desire to teach others what they have learned in study and practice.
Nurse Educator Education Requirements, Certification, and Schooling Programs
● A Bachelor Degree in Nursing is required for almost all nurse educator positions.
● The Nurse must pass the NCLEX-RN examination to earn their RN license.
● Any nurse planning on becoming an instructor at a college or nursing school will be required to have a Master of Science in Nursing. This requires a valid RN license and 1000 or more hours in the specialty the nurse has chosen.
● Nurse educators receive certification through the National League for Nursing (NLN). In order to become a NLN, applicants must possess a degree in nursing education and prove two years full-time employment within the past five years as academic faculty. Those who do not meet the education requirements may also apply if they have worked full time for four of the past five years as a faculty member. Eligible applicants may take an SAE, Self Assessment Examination, before taking the CNE examination. The SAE is a practice test consisting of 65 multiple-choice questions. The CNE exam is similar in format to the SAE. Certification is not mandatory, but it is considered a mark of professionalism. Certifications are backed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
Nurse Educator Salary and Career Outlook
The career outlook for the nurse educator is strong. The need for more nurses will continue through the year 2018 according to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) and the need for instructors to teach these new nurses will be just as great. Additionally, home care of patients is being encouraged, and nurse educators will be required to instruct the patient and family on proper care of their medical conditions. The average salary of a nurse educator ranges from $63,000 to $86,000 depending upon the educator’s location and education.