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 that 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. Four-year colleges and universities and junior colleges are the work environments that employ the most nursing instructors, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported.
Nurse educators in academic settings focus mainly on teaching. Their job duties include tasks like planning courses, presenting information, assigning and evaluating coursework and 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 to take on these responsibilities, many online master’s degree in nursing education programs include coursework in subjects like the principles of teaching, curriculum development and assessment.
Clinical Nurse Educators
Nurse educators also find jobs in clinical settings, like hospitals, long-term care centers and other healthcare facilities. Though traditional academic institutions employ more nurse educators, general medical and surgical hospitals also hire one of the largest percentages of nursing instructors, the BLS reported.
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, supervising students at 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 and advanced coursework in nursing practices, research and pharmacology as well as 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. As it is, there are only enough nurse educators currently teaching to work with about 50 percent of the expected nursing student population, Monster.com’s Nursing Link reported.
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 simultaneously giving back to the nursing profession.