As nurse shortages affect healthcare throughout the U.S., the need for competent nurse educators is on the rise. Nurses interested in shaping the future workforce and making a difference in the lives of nursing students should consider a career as a nurse educator. Graduates of a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Education program are well-prepared to seek positions in nursing academic departments, work in nursing research or serve in other leadership roles. They also help their profession provide high-quality nursing care to a growing number of patients and transform healthcare as industry leaders.
What Is a Nurse Educator?
Nurse educators are highly educated professionals who are qualified to teach at nursing colleges, write nursing curricula and serve in other educational leadership roles. These professionals are typically nurses who hold at least an MSN in Nursing Education and often work as faculty members at nursing colleges. A nurse educator knows how to impart critical nursing skills and knowledge to others, in addition to serving as a mentor for students. Nurse educators help student nurses understand how to work in the field, what to expect and how to become great nurses. They teach clinical skills, nursing theory, ethics, care management, leadership and other topics at the college level. They may also conduct research in the field of nursing education. When students have questions about the material they are studying or about nursing practice, nurse educators are available to their students as resources.
MSN in Nursing Education programs provide instruction in key skills and competencies such as curriculum design, statistics, educational theory, theories of learning and how to evaluate nursing student performance. This curriculum helps future nurse educators understand the educational practices, ideas and methods that create successful educational experiences for nursing students.
Workforce Demand for Nurse Educators
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) surveyed nursing colleges and found that almost two-thirds of these institutions turned away qualified nursing school applicants in 2014 because of a shortage of nursing faculty members. Many nursing schools have vacant faculty positions and are unable to accept more students without additional instructors. Strong employer demand for nurses continues to make the nursing field appealing to many people, but these qualified applicants cannot find nursing colleges with enough educators to teach them.
Acquiring an MSN in Nursing Education helps nurses become more qualified for these positions. This credential demonstrates an interest in the field of nursing education and helps applicants for faculty positions stand out. Graduates of these programs become leaders in the field and help students flourish and become nurses. Additional education leading to a doctorate is also an option and allows nurse educators to become distinguished experts in the field of nursing education.
Working as a Nurse Educator
Whether nurse educators work as faculty members, administrators or researchers, they have the important responsibility of developing the next generation of nurses. Mentoring others is a significant responsibility and has the potential to impact the lives and careers of others through the mentees’ future interactions with patients and other nurses. As such, it is important that nurse educators are sufficiently prepared to mentor students and be effective resources to these new nurses as they learn and become participants in the nursing field themselves.
By studying education methodology and nursing curriculum, future nurse educators learn the skills they need in their own work. MSN in Nursing Education programs teach nurse educators to evaluate student performance, find, and provide the resources nursing students need to succeed, teach effectively, and demonstrate necessary clinical skills. Graduates of these programs can help prepare nursing students for the challenges of providing nursing care and serving as healthcare leaders.
Nurse educators help prepare future nurses by serving as their mentors, instructors and resources. Demand for nurse educators is strong and a majority of nursing colleges continue to struggle to hire the nurse educators they need. As a result, many qualified, would-be nursing students are rejected when they apply to these nursing programs. More nurse educators means more nurses to help provide the nursing care needed by patients and less strain on the existing nurse workforce. MSN in Nursing Education programs prepare nurses to become nurse educators by teaching nurses the educational methodology they need to teach and mentor others.
Learn more about the Lamar online MSN in Nursing Education program.