Nurse Educators are Registered Nurses who teach and prepare Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) and Registered Nurses (RN). The prepare nurses for entry into practice positions. Most who become Nurse Educators are experienced RNs who have chosen a career educating tomorrow’s nurses.
The type of degree required to be a Nurse Educator can vary from state-to-state. They are often governed by the Nurse Practice Act or the regulatory agency responsible for defining the practice of nursing in the state where they plan to teach. In most states, in order to teach at the Baccalaureate level or higher, a minimum of a Master’s in Nursing is required though a Doctorate degree is preferred.
Nurse Educators typically have extensive clinical experience in a particular specialty area. Some continue practicing as a Registered Nurse even after becoming teachers. Regardless of whether they continue to practice or now, they must remain current as the field of nursing continues to evolve.
As they gain experience, Nurse Educators often move into roles other than teaching. They are often promoted to administrative roles, move into writing or reviewing text books, or develop continuing education programs for nurses.
Settings for Nurse Educators
Nurse Educators teach in a variety of academic settings. These include nursing schools at every level – technical schools, community colleges, colleges, and universities. In academic settings, they might work a 9-month or 12-month academic calendar. They can also work in staff development and clinical supervision positions in a healthcare setting. Unlike practicing clinical nurses, Nurse Educators typically have much more normal schedules. They do not have to deal with 12-hour shifts or overnight hours.