If you are currently working as a registered nurse and feel that it’s time to make some changes to your career, there’s never been a better time than the present to work towards becoming a nurse educator. Today, there’s a severe shortage of nurses in the US that is becoming more and more difficult to overcome due to the lack of professionals available to teach student nurses and get them into the profession. Despite the shortage of nurses, there is certainly no shortage of people who are interested in working as a nurse. With your nursing experience and knowledge, you can have a direct impact on improving nursing in the US and help more people follow their career calling. Some of the main reasons why it’s a good idea to consider becoming a nurse educator include:
While working as a registered nurse, it can often feel like it is impossible to take your career to the next level where an advanced degree such as an MSN or DNP is required, as you’re working long hours that makes life difficult if you had to go to classes. The wide range of online advanced nursing degree programs now available such as this BSN DNP program from Baylor University has made it easier than ever for registered nurses to work towards their career goals. With these programs, you can get your MSN or DNP in your own time, from the comfort of your own home while continuing to work as a registered nurse. Many online advanced nursing programs are very nurse-friendly as nursing schools know that the vast majority of their students are still going to be working full-time as registered nurses while studying.
The shortage of nurses in the US right now can be linked directly to not having enough nurse educators in colleges and nursing schools around the country. Classes are at capacity and there are only so many students that can be taught with the current number of nurse educators that we have. Once you have an advanced nursing degree and the relevant certification to work as a nurse educator, you will be prepared to get into a career that comes with very high demand. The fact that prospective nursing students must be turned away from nursing schools and colleges each year only serves as proof of how high the demand for good nurse educators really is.
Enjoy a Slower Pace
For many registered nurses, the idea of getting into nurse education is one that allows them to keep on making an impact in their career, without all the stresses of working as a registered nurse. Like many nurses, you might be feeling tired and burned out after the COVID19 pandemic, which may be one of the driving reasons behind why you want to do something different. If you want to take things slower, the role of a nurse educator might be ideal for you. In this role, you will still have the chance to work with patients in the capacity of a mentor to your students, however, there will not be as many demands on you, and the role often comes with more sociable working hours.
Make a Difference
If your main reason for getting into a nursing career was to make a difference to the world, then you can certainly continue doing this by becoming a nurse educator. Right now, a lack of nurse educators is one of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of the shortage of nurses being significantly reduced. When you decide to get into this role, you will not only be able to make a difference to the healthcare system as a whole by providing education for more new nurses, but you can also make a difference to the nurses that you educate, and indirectly have an impact on the patients that they go on to care for.
How to Become a Nurse Educator
If you are looking for a change in your nursing career and like the idea of a role where you can teach and mentor others using the knowledge and skills you have built over the years, you will usually need to be a registered nurse with some years of experience. Most employers are looking to hire nurse educators who are highly experienced nurses with a lot that they can share with their students. You will also need to get an advanced degree if you want to work in this position. If you currently have a BSN, you can get an MSN or try a BSN-DNP bridge program to get the credentials you need to work as a nurse educator. If you’re working as a nurse with an associate’s degree right now, then you will usually need to obtain a BSN before you will be eligible for studying an MSN or DNP program.
Once you have the right qualification to work as a nurse educator, you will also need to get a license and certificate that shows you have the right to work as a nurse educator in your state. This may vary depending on the state that you want to work in, whether you have chosen to specialize in a certain area of nursing education, and your future employer. The majority of nursing schools and other healthcare education institutions will require any nurse educators that they hire to obtain a Certified Nurse Educator or Certified Academic Clinical Nurse Educator certificate from the National League for Nursing.
Finally, there are several key skills that you’ll need to work as a nurse educator. Most of these are probably skills that you have picked up over the years as a nurse, such as good communication skills and leadership skills. You will need to have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to break down complex nursing topics and present them in a way that is easy for your students to understand.
Right now, a lack of nurse educators is standing in the way of more nurses in the US. While thousands of people apply to train as a nurse each year, not all of them are accepted due to not having enough people to teach them. If you want a change in your nursing career, its’ definitely worth considering a move to nurse education.