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Purpose and Mission
Nurse educator are the professionals who design, plan, implement and assess teaching and professional education for nurses in hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities. They teach nursing students and help nurses keep up to date with the latest advances in nursing, as well as assist nurses in developing plans for continuing education.
Key responsibilities of nurse educators include coordinating and assessing the clinical competencies of nurses to ensure that nurses provide the safest and most effective nursing care. These professionals typically manage educational resources within a hospital or healthcare facility, as well as undertake public health research.
Nurse educators are often employed by large hospitals or clinics, universities, or state or local government agencies. If they are employed by a public or private healthcare facility, a nurse educator might report to a mid-level administrator, or possibly a dean or assistant dean if employed by a university or medical school.
Depending on the teaching context, a nurse educator may also have some direct care responsibilities, including training and evaluating nurses. Many nurse educators are active in research projects, and a significant percentage move up into administrative roles.
Nurses educators are usually experienced registered nurses (with at least a bachelor’s degree) who have decided to focus on teaching. Many university or senior teaching positions require a Master of Nurse Education degree.
Note that all RNs must have a current Nursing Registration with the AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioners Agency) to practice (some nurse educators may no longer be actively practicing).
Responsibilities of a Nurse Educator
A nurse educator educates nursing students and nurses in a wide variety of work contexts. Important skills for a nurse educator include:
Keep in mind that although nurse educators typically work regular 9 to 5 business hours, they may be required to work shift work, including late shifts, if employed at a large hospital or clinic.
These healthcare professionals spend a good bit of time using computers and other office equipment, and work online accessing educational resources. Some positions include the use of advanced mannequins to simulate patients in emergency drills in order to demonstrate various aspects of nursing care.