Nurse educator training gives nursing students a third option when it comes to choosing a career. Instead of picking a big, hectic hospital, or a small, private practice, nurse educators work in colleges to teach the next generation of nurses. Though it might not be what many students view themselves doing when they enroll in nursing school, the fact is that nursing educators are a valuable weapon against the worldwide nursing shortage.
This is true for a variety of reasons:
In the past 12 months alone, schools turned away nearly 70,000 nursing students due to shortages in faculty and classroom space.
In a recent survey from last year, 603 nursing schools reported 1,088 faculty vacancies.
Many nursing educators are reaching retirement age, which means that there will be more vacancies unless schools are able to find qualified nurse educators to fill them.
Two thirds of schools surveyed pointed to a lack of nurse educators as their primary reason for turning nursing students away.
69% of CEOs of teaching hospitals feel that faculty shortages are compromising the entire industry.
Nurse educators are usually required to have master’s degrees, but the shortage of faculty able to teach at that level means that students are becoming nurses instead.
Without enough teachers, schools can’t graduate enough students. Without enough graduates, hospitals can’t fill the vacancies left behind by their retirement-aged nurses. Without enough nurses, hospitals must stretch their remaining staff thinner. The end result of a lack of nurse educators is seriously understaffed hospitals, compromises in patient care, and poor patient care outcomes.
Nurse Educator Training Requirements
Nurse educator training requirements vary pretty widely from state to state. In some areas, nurses with associate’s degrees are able to teach courses for licensed practical nurses, and provide continuing education to existing registered nurses. For the majority of schools, nurse educators will be required to have a master’s degree.
Nurse educators with clinical experience are particularly sought-after. This is especially true for states with a large population of urban residents living below the poverty line, or that have residents scattered over very remote areas. Schools in these states often seek to fight the nursing shortage by offering classes that teach nursing students the specifics of practicing in underserved urban or rural facilities, and teachers with practical experience are critical to their efforts.
Though they’re often more desirable, not all nurse educators need clinical experience in order to teach. In order to help produce more qualified faculty members, some schools have instituted degree programs that are specifically for nurse educators. The degree of education that a nurse educator is required to have is outlined by their state’s Nurse Practice Act, which also defines their scope of practice.
Nurse Educator Scope of Practice
Nurse educators teach both nursing students and graduated nurses. They must design and implement curricula that are in line with the educational standards put forth by their state’s Board of Nursing, and can teach in either a classroom or clinical setting. They may work in universities, technical schools, teaching hospitals, or as employee educators in healthcare facilities. All of these institutions may have specific job requirements above and beyond the basic nurse educator training described in the Nurse Practice Act, depending on their needs.
Why You Should Become a Nurse Educator
Nurse educators can become teachers without having to set foot in a hospital. If the field of nursing fascinates you, but you aren’t up to the challenges posed by working in a clinical setting, then becoming a nurse educator may be right for you.
The salary for a nurse educator goes from $46,000 to $93,000. This makes it a very lucrative option for a lot of nursing students. If you live in a state where practicing nurses are paid less than the national average, then becoming a nurse educator may be more worthwhile for you.
Lastly, the world is suffering from a serious shortage of nurses, and it’s only going to get worse if something isn’t done about it. With the majority of nursing schools already being forced to turn students away, it’s evident that this trend can’t be allowed to continue if hospitals are going to stay in business. If you want to help save millions of lives through your students, then enrolling in nurse educator training may be right for you.