Pursuing a Career as Nurse Educator

educatorNurse Educators shape many nursing students’ lives in this planet and they are the guardians of the nursing profession’s standards. It is never an easy job but it can be the most fulfilling career any qualified registered nurse can pursue. The future nurses become the reflection of today’s nurse educators. Perhaps you can take part in molding the next generation of nurses by choosing to be a nurse educator too.

How Can I become a Nurse Educator?

First, you need to obtain your license to practice as registered nurse. Wherever you choose to teach and educate nursing students, you need to be licensed to practice in the nursing profession. Second, you need experience. Clinical experience and exposure to the various nursing fields are very important. You can’t teach what you do not actually know. The duration of nursing practice prior to becoming a nurse educator generally requires a minimum of one year. That depends on the academic institution you choose to practice as a nurse educator. Third, you need to have a minimum of Masters degree level of education which means you need to go back to school and get your nursing graduate education. You also need to consider the specific requirements of the school where you choose to teach. Some schools prefer to hire nurse educators who are PhD holders or who have obtained their DNP degree.

Is there any funding offered for those interested in becoming a nurse educator?

Yes, there are scholarships and financial aid offered by various schools of nursing. In fact, the institution where I teach is offering all Registered Nurses with adequate clinical experience free tuition for Masters Degree and PhD education back when there was a great need for nurse educators. There are universities that require the graduate nursing student being offered with the scholarship to teach in their school as payback. There are also programs that require the applicant to study now and pay later or offer the financial aid through loans payable in a certain number of years. It actually depends on what school you choose to study and work.

If you want to know more about funding resources for future nurse educators like you, check out this fact sheet http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/FS_Funding.pdf

Is there actual faculty shortage today?

That actually depends on where you are. Some areas have faculty shortage with high demand for nurses while other areas have a number of nurse educators with very few nursing students. It is important to note though that American Association of College of Nursing (AACN) has reported in the 2011-2012 Enrollment and Graduations in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs in Nursing that more than 70, 000 nursing students and graduate students were turned down because there was shortage of nurse educators. Insufficient clinical settings, classrooms, clinical preceptors, and budget constraints were reported reasons for not accepting qualified applicants.

It helps to know what you want, but in these uncertain times, you may face unpredictable turn of events that later on make you realize that opportunities are knocking loudly and you refuse to listen. You then find yourself in a dilemma, uncertain of what you want. What career path do you take given the skills, knowledge and attitude that you already have? Learn to listen to what others see in you as potential. You can be a great nurse educator in the future. Act now.

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Freslyn Lim

About Freslyn Lim

I am a Registered Nurse currently taking my PhD in Nursing. I earned my Masters in Nursing major in Nursing Administration in March 2011 and had my clinical experience as Staff Nurse in the ICU, Pediatrics and NICU. I am presently a nurse educator/clinical instructor.

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