Published on October 16th, 2021
If you’re a registered nurse right now, you’re working through one of the biggest nursing shortages in modern US history.
There are several major reasons contributing to this shortage of nursing that have all happened at the same time.
These include an aging population putting more demand on the healthcare services, nurses getting older and retiring, and an increased demand for advanced practice nurses due to a shortage of primary care physicians.
However, one of the biggest reasons behind the nursing shortage is a lack of nurse educators. There is no shortage of students who want to get a nursing degree and start their career, but with not enough professionals to teach them, many are being turned away from nursing programs.
If you’re currently working as a nurse, want a change in your career and like the idea of doing something to help reduce the nursing shortage, you may want to consider working as a nurse educator.
To be a nurse educator, you will usually need a minimum of a master’s of science in nursing. To enroll in a master’s program, nurses are typically required to have a BSN.
With an MSN, you can teach nursing students who are on associate degree or BSN programs. If you want to teach nursing students who are at a more advanced level, such as the MSN, postgraduate certificates and nurse practitioner programs, then you will usually need to have a more advanced degree such as a Doctor of Nursing Practice. Baylor University’s online DNP programs offer advanced training for nurses who have an MSN, that you can take online with flexible learning available.
You will also need to be licensed as a nurse educator to work in this role in your state. The licensing and certificates that you will need to work as a nurse educator will depend on the state where you are planning to work and your chosen future employer.
The field of nursing education that you want to get into may also have an impact. The majority of nursing schools, colleges, and healthcare organizations that hire nurse educators will require you to have a Certified Academic Clinical Nurse Educator certificate or a Certified Nurse Educator certificate. You can obtain these certificates from the National League for Nursing.
The Top Reasons to Consider Being a Nurse Educator
If you are somebody who enjoys mentoring and teaching others and want to make a difference in your chosen career, there are several reasons to consider getting into a career as a nurse educator.
More nurses are now deciding to consider pursuing this advanced role for the following reasons:
With the shortage of nurse educators having a direct impact on the shortage of registered nurses in the US, it’s no surprise that this is a position that’s experiencing a massive amount of demand.
Without enough new nurses entering the industry, it’s difficult to close the gaps, so more nursing schools and colleges are looking to expand their nursing education staff in order to be able to take on more students and get more newly graduated nurses into the field to start their careers.
Change of Workplace Setting
The role of a nurse educator is certainly not easy, and there is a lot of work to complete in patient-centered settings.
However, working as a nurse educator is almost always going to be more relaxed compared to working as a full-time registered nurse as the focus is on educating nursing students rather than caring for patients directly.
While mentoring and education of nurses in a clinical setting is important, nurse educators also spend a lot of time in academic classroom settings.
If you’re interested in getting into a role with less pressure that allows you to take things at a slower pace while still making a difference in the world of healthcare and nursing, this could be the ideal option for you.
Improve Patient Care
As a nurse educator, the work that you do can have a direct impact on the care that patients receive in the future.
What you teach your students is going to stay with them for the rest of their careers as nurses, and many will use your advice when caring for patients in the future.
As a nurse educator, you are not only in a position to educate student nurses on the essentials of working in this position, but you will also help and guide them to become better future nurses and improve patient care in general.
Reduce the Nursing Shortage
With one nurse educator able to take on several students at the same time at most nursing schools and colleges around the country, getting into this role will allow you to play an active part in reducing the nursing shortage by making it possible for more students to enroll in nursing degree and training programs to prepare them for this career.
The more nurse educators are available, the more nurses will graduate each year, reducing the nursing shortage by adding fresh talent into the industry.
Make a Difference
If you got into a nursing career because you wanted to make a difference to the lives of others, the good news is that you can continue to do this while working as a nurse educator.
In this role, you’re going to be having a significant impact on the students that you are teaching on a daily basis, but also on the patients and the family members that they work with directly both as part of their education and in the future when they graduate and go on to work as registered nurses.
Knowing that you are having a huge impact on nursing and have influenced hundreds of new nurses as they enter this rewarding profession is one of the most satisfying aspects of this career.
If you want a change of direction in your nursing career, are interested in doing something to actively help reduce the shortage of nurses, and enjoy mentoring others, a nurse educator role may be perfect for you.