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What is the Role of a Nurse Educator?

role of a nurse educator

While it's safe to assume that many nurses have incredible passion for the crucial work they do, there's always going to be a need for education and training. Nurse educators are specialists in their own right. In addition to helping to ensure nursing staff have strong core knowledge of how to treat and care for patients, they also ensure they know who to turn to when in need of mentorship.

Nurse educators are essential in the healthcare system as they teach, inspire and guide new nurses, helping them to become the next generation of lifesavers in our country. Yet very few of us actually know what being a nurse educator involves. 

So, let's look at what nurse educators are, their primary roles and why they are so essential to us today “ more so than ever. 

What is a nurse educator? 

A nurse educator may seem like a simple term to understand. However, they're more than just teachers. A nurse educator also works as a nurse, dedicating their time to their patients and teaching other nurses. 

They teach new nurses both in practical and educational areas “ that is to say, nurse educators can be found in both universities and in hospitals, offering on-the-job training.

As such, a qualified nurse educator needs to be specialized in more than just basic healthcare practice. The best nurse educators support medical staff during often intensive working periods and through high-stress scenarios. As such, if it's a line of work you're interested in, learning soft skills for nurse educators is a must.

You'll need to learn how to communicate effectively with your pupils and how to support nurses from all backgrounds on what can be varied and highly challenging career paths. Nurse educators should dedicate time to learning what their charges need, focusing on how to support them in the years ahead.

What is the role of a nurse educator? 

Despite the job title, it's safe to say that nurse educators do far more than just teaching other nurses, though this is naturally core to the position.

They are also considered administrators, lab instructors, course developers, researchers, mentors and coaches. This means it's a position that requires multiple hats “ and a genuine passion for wearing them all!

Educators need to work with the other nurses and collaborate with their students to prepare them for hospital life. Every nurse knows that healthcare centers thrive on teamwork. You must work well with other people and coordinate situations to ensure that each patient gets the care they need.

Nurse educators also need to be role models for their students. They are there to guide students and show them what an exemplary nurse looks like. This means being the best that they can be, day in and day out, no matter the circumstances. 

They are also required to monitor their students very closely. No matter the size of the group, for each student to benefit from the system, they need to get specialized feedback regarding their performance, test results and more. This will help to ensure that each student works on the areas that need improvement, making them better prepared for work within the healthcare system. 

As researchers, nurse educators are also required to work as patient advocates while other nurses work on clinical research around them. Nurse educators can answer certain questions and provide protection for their patients where others cannot. 

With regard to other nurses, nurse educators can also help to guide them through transitional periods regarding patient care, new methods, new research, etc.

Finally, nurse educators are there to encourage their students and provide better environments for prospective nurses. It is partly their job to ensure that the nurses are looked after and have the tools they need to succeed. 

In that sense, they help to reduce turnover rates significantly, thus better ensuring the success of their hospital as well as the general healthcare system. 

How do you become a nurse educator? 

To excel in this role, you must have an advanced degree. Most nurse educators either have a master's degree or a doctoral degree. 

Universities usually employ educators, but certain hospitals also employ specialists to teach their new staff. They will also keep members of nursing teams informed about new healthcare practices and patient needs. 

In a hospital, nurse educators are there to prepare students for a life within the hospital. This work is usually carried out in unison with their duties as a nurse themselves. 

In many ways, this role can be more challenging, especially if you teach a large group of nurses. 

However, it can also be more beneficial in that it allows students to learn in the best environment, watching things happen in real time. 

Crucially, people become nurse educators because they love to see the difference that nurses make in a patient's life. It can be a stressful position, but it's one that is highly rewarding across years of hard work and dedicated practice.

Conclusion 

Becoming a nurse is a long and challenging journey but a rewarding one. Without hard-working educators, they can only get so far!

As you can see, nurse educators have more than just one main role. Though much of what they do is behind the scenes, their duties in the industry cannot be undervalued. Nurse educators have proven to have extremely beneficial effects on the healthcare industry, helping to strengthen the nursing workforce and training a new generation of nurses.  In summary, the general role of a nurse educator is to teach and prepare a new generation of nurses and healthcare practitioners. In this industry, you never stop learning and growing, and thanks to nurse educators, our hard-working nurses have people to turn to for advice and guidance as and when they need it the most.