Some say they were born to be a teacher. Others say just as readily, and sometimes with a laugh, “never, no way, I would ever want to be a teacher!” And yet, that is exactly what they end up doing for an occupation. If you are one of those nurses who is saying, “yes, absolutely, born to be a teacher,” or “no, are you kidding, absolutely not!” then this blog is for you. The topic for this month is all about the nurse educator's role. I will explain the role of the nurse educator, the job outlook for nurse educators, the necessary educational requirements, and how Ottawa University’s online nursing programs develop core competencies. Are you ready to plunge in? Here we go!
What is a Nurse Educator?
A primary question often asked of our nursing faculty is, “what is a nurse educator?” This is generally an inquiry regarding the licensing and or certification requirements for the nurse educator role. As nurse educators, we are always pleased to provide the requested information. When asked what a nurse educator is, first and foremost, a nurse educator is understood to be a Registered Nurse. That is not to say that the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)/Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) does not sometimes have a teaching role within an organization. However, the role of a nurse educator is associated with a registered nurse educator position located within a teaching hospital or a nurse faculty position within a school of nursing.
Job Outlook for Nurse Educators
The health care industry desperately needs talented nurse educators to address the nursing shortage, which makes the job outlook for nurse educators quite promising. There are not enough of us. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate for nurse instructors is expected to grow 22% between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster than average. Budget constraints, retiring faculty, and increased competition from clinical sites are all factors that have contributed to the nursing faculty shortage and the current projections that extend into the foreseeable future and beyond. This growing demand leaves open teaching positions in hospitals and schools of nursing. With nurse educator salaries ranging between $80,199 and $146,072, the future is bright for anyone interested in pursuing this career path.
Educational Requirements for Nurse Educators
If you wish to make a difference in the lives of others and aspire to become a nurse educator, then you must meet the necessary educational requirements. The nurse educator role requires Registered Nurse licensure after graduating from an approved school of nursing, a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Nursing. Ottawa’s School of Nursing also conveniently offers an RN-MSN bridge program for Registered Nurses with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) who plan to pursue both the Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Nursing.
Ottawa University’s Nurse Educator Concentration
Ottawa University’s Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN) can help you on your pathway. We offer two tracks, one track the Nurse Educator, and the other track, the Nurse Leader. Both concentrations require the MSN Core which consists of six foundational MSN courses and six specialization courses. Also included in the MSN Core are the “3 P’s” common to graduate nursing education programs with a clinical focus. The “3 P’s” are Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacology, and Advanced Health Assessment (Physical Assessment). Take a closer look at the full MSN curriculum and course descriptions.
Ottawa University’s Online Learning Experience
Why choose Ottawa University? Our accredited online nursing programs focus on the most up-to-date instructional methods, curriculum design and assessment, and practicum courses. These are just a few of the hallmarks that distinguish us from other nursing schools for an exceptional learning experience. For example, Ottawa University Nursing is currently preparing to roll out a holographic simulation, which provides a concurrent holographic simulated clinical experience for all students and instructors connected with the online class. Nursing simulations provide exciting new opportunities to improve patient safety outcomes by fully immersing students in a virtual learning experience.
Nurse Educator Competencies
The next step is understanding the competencies required to be an effective nurse educator. Core competencies are nationally recognized, evidence-based practices and responsibilities for the Nurse Educator. The National League for Nursing (NLN) points out that nurses who are new to the nurse educator role may struggle with some aspects of the role, particularly in the areas of instructional methodology and classroom management. This is why our MSN nurse educator track prepares students to have a well-defined skillset in the competencies outlined below:
- facilitate learning
- facilitate learner development and socialization
- use assessment and evaluation strategies
- participate in curriculum design and evaluation of program outcomes
- function as a change agent and leader
- pursue continuous quality improvement in the nurse educator role
- engage in scholarship
- function within the educational environment
Start Your Career as a Nurse Educator!
For those of you interested in pursuing a career as a nurse educator, it is fair to ask why you want to become one. We are often asked what we like about being nurse educators. As part of the assessment process, we ask nursing students these types of questions. Having inquiring minds, we also ask this of our fellow nurse educator colleagues. The answers are interesting, and they almost always include the desire to make a difference through the education and training of the next generation of nurses. Do we think we make a difference for the betterment of humanity through our mutual roles as nurse educators? Yes, we do and you can make a difference too!
If you are interested in making a difference in guiding, mentoring, and investing in the nurses of tomorrow, request more information about our accredited, online nursing programs.
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