I've been a NICU nurse for 8 years. I love it! Recently, an opportunity came up for a Nurse Educator position. I have a Master's Degree in nursing education and I have always planned on eventually transitioning from bedside to education. This opportunity came a lot earlier than I expected it to come.
My question for you all is, what has your educator done that have made them great (or not so great)? Even with eight years experience I feel like there is still so much to learn. All my coworkers have been cheering me on to apply for the position. I appreciate their support, and I want to make sure I do a good job for them.
Any clinical nurse educators, professional development specialists, or neonatal clinical nurse specialist do you have any advice for a new educator?
Thanks for any thoughts, tips, etc. Thank you!!
I was a NICU clinical educator for 14 years (in a couple different hospitals). I think it is a great job and enjoyed it very much -- but I eventually moved on to work hospital-wide projects.
My advice is:
Find the right balance between the following 2 things:
1. Keeping your bedside care skills current
2. Don't get pulled in too much / too deep into "helping out" every time the staff gets busy
It's a tough balance to find, but your ability to maintain the clinical respect and support of the staff by showing them you can still take care of patients -- while also setting appropriate limits on your availability to help when they get busy will be a big determinant of your success. If you spend NO time actually taking care of patients, you lose some of your skills, your credibility and your support. However, if you spend TOO MUCH time helping out the staff nurses when they get busy, you won't be devoting enough time in doing the things you were hired to do as an educator. Remember: no one is going to drop what they are doing and come help you when YOU get busy -- so you need to protect enough of your time to preserve enough of it to get YOUR job done.
Thank you for the thoughtful response and advice. I really appreciate it.