What Is a Nurse Educator?


Quick Answer

A nurse educator is a registered nurse with advanced education who teaches future nurses. Most nurse educators work as nurses before dedicating their career to teaching.

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Full Answer

Nurse educators commonly become faculty members at colleges, nursing schools and teaching hospitals. Some work in health care settings as staff development officers or clinical supervisors. Nurse educators create lesson plans, teach courses and supervise students' clinical hours. They often teach general coursework or focus on specialties such as geriatric nursing, pediatric nursing or nursing informatics. Many nurse educators work a nine-month academic calendar and are not required to work the 12-hour shifts or overnight hours typical of clinical nurses.

Most nurse educators have substantial clinical experience and often continue working with patients after becoming teachers. It is important that nurse educators remain current on new methods and technology, even if they are no longer practicing. Many nurse educators advance to administrative roles, such as program management. Others write and review textbooks, or develop continuing education programs for working nurses.

As of 2015, the United States is experiencing a nursing shortage, so nurse educators are in high demand. The nursing shortage is largely attributed to a lack of qualified teachers. Despite demanding career requirements, most nurse educators report a high level of job satisfaction.

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