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As a registered nurse (RN), you already make a difference. But you can do even more with an online master’s degree in nursing education. Nurse educators are the healthcare professionals who train the next generation of nurses. They put their considerable clinical experience to use preparing students for the challenges of a nursing career. Nurse educators work in a variety of settings, both academic and clinical. Some devote their careers to education full-time, while others balance the responsibilities of caring for patients and teaching aspiring nurses.
Nurse Educators in the Classroom
You might be surprised how many nursing educator jobs are based in the classroom. Colleges, universities and junior colleges are the work environments that employ the most nursing instructors, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports.
Nurse educators in academic settings focus mainly on teaching. Their job duties include tasks like:
- planning courses
- presenting information
- assigning and evaluating coursework
- compiling final grades for the course
They cover the theoretical nursing principles and instructions that their students must know before they undertake clinical experiences. To prepare nurses for these responsibilities, many online master’s degree in nursing education programs include coursework in subjects like:
- the principles of teaching
- curriculum development
Clinical Nurse Educators
Nurse educators also find jobs in clinical settings, like:
- long-term care centers
- other healthcare facilities
Though academic institutions employ more nurse educators, general medical and surgical hospitals also hire one of the largest percentages of nursing instructors, the BLS reports.
After all, most academic nursing programs have a clinical component, while practicing nurses also need qualified educators as they continue their education. In clinical settings, nurse educators may serve as mentors. They supervise students as they work with doctors and patients directly.
It’s common for online master’s degree in nursing education programs to include specialized study in clinical nursing, as well as:
- advanced coursework in nursing practices
- research and pharmacology
- hands-on practicum requirements
The Demand for Nurse Educators
Nurse educators are in demand, in large part due to the shortage of nursing professionals in general. To relieve the shortage of nurses across the United States, nursing education programs must increase enrollment by as much as 30 percent. But to do that they will need more nursing instructors qualified to teach students. Monster.com’s Nursing Link reports that there are only enough nurse educators currently teaching to work with about 50 percent of the expected nursing student population.
Who will train the other half of the next generation of nurses? Most likely, it will be the RNs who earn an online master’s degree in nursing education.
When you pursue an online master’s degree in nursing education and become a nursing instructor, you can advance to a job with a higher salary while giving back to the nursing profession.