Nurse educators are in high demand due to the high demand for more nurses. It is often hard to find qualified educators who can help mold new nurses and get them ready for the rigors of nursing life.
Perhaps you are called to teaching, as well. Nursing is a teaching profession, and some nurses find that they are drawn to that aspect of it.
You may also find that facility nursing may not be for you, and education may make a niche for you that helps to keep you in the profession. Whatever your reasons, here are some tips to become a nurse educator.
Pursue an advanced degree
Nurse educators need an advanced degree. Even getting a BSN could help in teaching CNAs or precepting with LPNs – though it depends on the regulations of the school, facility, and state.
However, you will likely need more than a BSN to do any serious teaching, and an MSN is likely the way to go. You may even want to consider pursing a doctorate in nursing if you are serious about teaching nurses for a living.
An advanced degree is imperative to teaching, so be prepared to educate yourself to educate others. If you don’t have the credentials yet, work to get them if you are interested in teaching.
Start with tutoring and precepting
To get your feet wet, you may want to start with one on one tutoring. Many nursing students need help with their studies, and this is a great way to see if education is for you.
In addition to tutoring, you may want to volunteer to become a preceptor in your facility. Not only does this show initiative, but it is a good indicator that you are dedicated to teaching other nurses how to move about in the professional world.
When you are feeling more comfortable with those, you may want to see what schools around you are offering clinicals at your facility and offer to host the students. Although this is a tremendous responsibility, it is another way to get started in teaching.
Explore your options with schools, colleges, and universities
Once you have done the leg work, it is time to explore your options. See what schools are around you, what their requirements are, and if they are hiring.
You may also want to explore what the state requirements are for teaching in nursing schools to ensure that you meet the minimum. Prepare your resume with your background from all of your previous teaching experience, and see if you can break in.
Don’t overlook technical schools for CNAs and LPNs, either. Many RNs teach at this level and are very satisfied, gaining experience and creating fantastic nurses.
If you want to teach RNs, this is a great way to get experience, prove you are teaching material, and eventually get a position at a college or university. Whatever your path, focus on gaining as much teaching experience as possible in whatever form it may come in.