Although the work “nursing” strongly suggests caring for the ill and sick, an aspect of this profession that is daily performed yet rarely acknowledge is teaching. Most nurses are known for having intuition, ingenuity and multi-tasking. However, the society failed to recognize them as educators. What makes a nurse educator a unique role of a medical professional is the fact that they are responsible for preparing and mentoring current and future generations of nurses.
What is a nurse educator?
Essentially, nurse educators are clinically expert professionals who have the passion to impart practical and applied information on theoretical and clinical arenas of nursing practice. The academic performance of education is mainly revolving around these concepts:
- Educational philosophy
- Nursing Procedures
- Organizational program and curriculum (based on course offered)
- Faculty development
- Effective instructional tactics and materials
- Trends and issues on nursing and its implications
- Applied research
Without nurse educators, no generations of future nurses will effectively carry on the tasks of serving the society through hospital and community assistance. Through the workforce of these personnel, the nursing profession is preserved as they carry on their pivotal role of displaying a typical role model not only in providing care to the sick but implementing the leadership requisite of an evidence-based practice.
As critical players in promotion of quality education in an ever-changing health care setting, nurse educators should possess the following criterion:
- Pass the licensure examination for nurses – before advancing to further education, nurse educators should be a registered nurse to qualify for the job.
- Master’s or doctoral level – to prepare these leaders in guiding generations of student nurses, they should have the essential knowledge for such responsibility by gaining a Master’s degree or finishing up to the doctoral level.
- Excellent communication skills – students would only understand a certain topic if the educator is a skilled communicator. As communicators in both classroom and clinical settings, they ought to impart understanding and knowledge to students by possessing the ability to entice people to listen to their lengthy lectures with creative techniques to make learning productive. To become a nurse educator, you don’t need to achieve the highest honors in your class. Even top ranking nurses fail to impart their personal understanding to students remarkably.
- Flexible and possess exceptional critical thinking skills – one of the key concept of being a nurse is having an excellent critical skills to implement prompt management and prevent occurrence of complications. Hence, educators beforehand should possess this important trait to produce better nurses.
- Solid clinical background – nurse educator work with recent high school graduates enrolled in the college of nursing for the first time. Thus, they need a substantial knowledge based on their areas of specialty along with the skills significant for the knowledge and instruction in a wide array of techniques than those who are just novice.
- Lifelong commitment – this is an important criterion of being an educator. Unless you are committed to educating students, you will never endure the challenges this job showcases.
- Strong knowledge of theories involved – as a nurse educator academic knowledge as well as teaching, learning and evaluation are essentials. Possession of such skills would produce adept ability to:
- Design curricula and programs that significantly reflect sound educational principle.
- Assess the needs of learners.
- Be innovative.
- Enjoy practicing their profession through teaching.
Roles and Responsibilities
A nurse educator may serve a college or university in either an adjunct (part-time) or full-time basis. Gaining the diploma of advanced education required. These personnel may serve as a dean of a college of nursing. Titles of nurse educators include:
- Instructional or administrative Nurse Faculty
- Clinical Instructor
- Staff Development Officer
- Continuing Education Specialist
The responsibilities of a nurse educator should be relative to the following:
- Designing curricula
- Program or course development
- Teaching and guiding learners
- Documentation – outcomes of the education process implemented
The roles of a Nurse Educator can be summed to these:
- Coach student nurses and practicing nurses in the identification of learning needs, strengths and limitations and selection of learning opportunities that are dependent on: strengths and how the limitations are handled and overcame.
- Advising students
- Doing research works
- Joining and participating professional course-related associations
- Participating and joining various nursing conferences such as speaking or presenting information and updates
- Promotion of leadership roles by contributing to the academic community
- Taking part in peer review
- Sustaining clinical competence
- Writing grant proposals
Salaries of nurse educators greatly vary depending on the type of institution, rank and education. These personnel are roughly earning between $25,000 – S100, 000 over a nine-month contract in the United States. However, those who are devoted to the leadership and administrative roles are earning more. Recently a number of school deans are paid more than $100,000 annually.
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