Pros and Cons -- Nurse Educator

  1. Hi I'm a nurse with 9 years experience and am considering becoming a nurse educator. I have precepted dozens of new nurses in my current job and truly enjoy teaching. I can definitely see myself in the clinical setting tracing students hands on nursing skills and assessment. However, I'm not as excited about the thought of preparing lectures or grading care plans. How much time is spent in each area? Also is it possible to get an adjunct position just teaching clinicals not lectures? Any feedback from current instructors would be much appreciated!
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   JaxJax5423
    Pros: flexible schedule, rewarding, usually lower stressed (compared to bedside), status (people really seem to be impressed when you tell them what you do), breaks (spring break, winter holidays), opportunities for 9 or 10 month contracts, student success

    cons: PAY!!! some students can be very difficult, can't take time off or days off if you are scheduled to teach

    Yes, an Adjunct job is the best in my opinion. They usually teach only clinical, the pay is much higher, and the stress of pass rates, exams, grades..etc isn't necessarily on ur shoulders. The negative of adjunct is that they can cancel your course at the drop of a dime based on needs.

    Prepping for lecture when new to teaching a class can take tons of time depending on the course. I would do most of that prep at home. Overall an enjoyable job once you get the hang of it. The salary is the biggest negative for me. I have bills to pay.
  4. by   Rose_Queen
    You could also look into staff development. That's where I am now- base salary higher than my bedside salary, no weekends, no off shifts, no holidays. And I get to work with our orienting class of OR nurses.
  5. by   not.done.yet
    I work in Professional Development as well. I do some lectures but not many, as lectures aren't really the best for adult learner retention. I have a lot of autonomy for development of my educational curriculum, which makes me happy. I get to know almost everyone in my hospital, interact with the senior leadership daily and enjoy a lot of recognition for what I do. I am in a hospital setting, which keeps my skills fresh and my fingers on the pulse of the latest and greatest from the regulatory agencies. I feel I am well paid for what I do. I have weekends and holidays off 99% of the time, though also have the flexibility to show up on nights or weekends to hit those individuals who aren't easily gotten to during "business hours". I work with students, new hires and COBs, which keeps things interesting and people turn to me with questions, which I love.

    For me, professional development has been exactly what I hoped it would be. I may do adjunct teaching when I decide to retire from the hospital setting, but at age 47, I don't expect that to be any time in the next 20 years. Check out the ANPD for more on what we do. It may be this is what you are looking for and goodness knows we need you!
  6. by   WestCoastSunRN
    Quote from not.done.yet
    I work in Professional Development as well. I do some lectures but not many, as lectures aren't really the best for adult learner retention. I have a lot of autonomy for development of my educational curriculum, which makes me happy. I get to know almost everyone in my hospital, interact with the senior leadership daily and enjoy a lot of recognition for what I do. I am in a hospital setting, which keeps my skills fresh and my fingers on the pulse of the latest and greatest from the regulatory agencies. I feel I am well paid for what I do. I have weekends and holidays off 99% of the time, though also have the flexibility to show up on nights or weekends to hit those individuals who aren't easily gotten to during "business hours". I work with students, new hires and COBs, which keeps things interesting and people turn to me with questions, which I love.

    For me, professional development has been exactly what I hoped it would be. I may do adjunct teaching when I decide to retire from the hospital setting, but at age 47, I don't expect that to be any time in the next 20 years. Check out the ANPD for more on what we do. It may be this is what you are looking for and goodness knows we need you!
    This sounds great to me. I am in no rush to leave bedside nursing. I also am passionate about bedside nurses being well-equipped for what they do... and well supported. I have begun to get involved in education initiatives at work with our CNE's.

    May I ask your thoughts on what types of courses make a good educator program, in your opinion?

    I am looking closely at Loyola right now, which has a fair amount of stats and research methods and writing, along with curriculum development and assessment type courses --- and it also includes the 3 Ps (adv. patho, pharm and phys assess). All sound good to me. Some other programs do not include a graduate stats class, or they seem to skimp on the 3 Ps.

    I'd love the thoughts of someone who is actually doing the work.
  7. by   not.done.yet
    Quote from WestCoastSunRN
    This sounds great to me. I am in no rush to leave bedside nursing. I also am passionate about bedside nurses being well-equipped for what they do... and well supported. I have begun to get involved in education initiatives at work with our CNE's.

    May I ask your thoughts on what types of courses make a good educator program, in your opinion?

    I am looking closely at Loyola right now, which has a fair amount of stats and research methods and writing, along with curriculum development and assessment type courses --- and it also includes the 3 Ps (adv. patho, pharm and phys assess). All sound good to me. Some other programs do not include a graduate stats class, or they seem to skimp on the 3 Ps.

    I'd love the thoughts of someone who is actually doing the work.
    I am far from an expert. I attended WGU for my MSN in nursing education. It focused on the 3 Ps and had heavy focus on EBP and research, both of which have been very useful to me as an educator and both of which I am very comfortable with now because of my studies. I have been able to assist other educators who didn't get as intense of exposure to finding and interpreting nursing research.

    It did not focus as much on creation of curriculum or tenets of adult learning as I would have liked, which I think is pretty important. Because I am in PD rather than academia, the needs are a bit different. I do find most MSN in Nursing Education programs seem to be tilted toward the academic setting rather than Professional Development. PD seems to be one of those "best kept secret in the hospital" specialties. I took a lot of business classes before I became a nurse and a fundamental understanding of business goals and basic fundamentals of finance have been useful to me in understanding what is important to the senior leadership that I interact with.

    In working in PD the needs assessments are pretty different than that of an academic setting and tend to be urgent. When deficits are discovered, leadership is wanting assistance in remedying the situation almost immediately, so there is sense of forward motion and a bit of pressure almost all the time. I personally thrive under that, so it works well for me. No two days are alike. Some days it is all about orientation for new employees, others about getting students corralled and up to speed, others about updating staff competencies, still others about refreshing staff knowledge in the most optimal use of our software system and combating bad practices in documentation, which has swung from documenting by exception for a long time and back now to "if it wasn't documented, it wasn't done". Everything is looked at and reports generated, so teaching nurses to tailor their documentation to the reports that guide leadership in managing the hospital regarding Key Performance Indicators and Core Measures and how TJC sees things etc etc is a HUGE part of my job. I am a communication resource for the staff to leadership and my recommendations for change hold clout when it comes to types of supplies needed and even formation of policies.

    I think any program is likely to have some deficits given how unstable the world of medicine is in the US right now and the endless need to try to balance excellent practice with liability with responsible stewardship of resources. Things change fast. I think if your heart is in this, select a program that you can afford and that also makes you feel passionate about what you do. No matter what, you are entering a new specialty and true to nursing specialties everywhere, there is a bit of a painful, humble learning curve to it. Just pick one and give it your all!
    Last edit by not.done.yet on Oct 27
  8. by   WestCoastSunRN
    Thanks, NDY. I am glad to hear you say the focus on EBP and reading/conducting research in your program was very helpful. It confirms for me that I want to find a program that does that as well. And some do very little of that. I am finding some programs are much heavier on nursing theory than other elements -- and I think I will try to stay away from those. So I now have some good, objective critieria to help me narrow down school choices. I wish there was a way to find out how supportive these programs are --- though you are the fourth person to say WGU was great with support. I SO wish they operated on the traditional credit system.
  9. by   gpsrn
    Hi,
    I think nursing education is a great position to have, I have worked in nursing education for about 15 years at different places and internationally. It is a lot of work, especially with lectures and preparation. Once you have things down, then it is the updating every semester and working with students who are having difficulty. I would suggest that you enter into nursing education slowly, become an adjunct faculty for a clinical group and see how you like it. Add another group the next semester or year. Most schools are looking for clinical adjunct. All the best.

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