I am interested in becoming a patient educator or health educator. Unfortunately, I only have a diploma in nursing. I really don't have the time or financial means to go back for another degree right now. However, I don't know if certification is enough. Also, it doesn't seem like there is much of a demand in Pennsylvania for this. I have been surfing the web for keywords and I'm not really having any luck. Does anyone have any experience with this area of nursing? Does anyone have any ideas on what to search for or if this is even possible for me? I've done the hospital thing; was on med/surg and now I've mostly been in ambulatory surgery for most of my career. I'm looking to explore a new avenue of nursing and this is very appealing to me. I seem to be very good at teaching patients.
You might look into becoming a certified Diabetes educator - Here is a link to their website: American Association of Diabetes Educators
- There are two types of DE one has a nursing degree one does not - I do believe you have to have a Bachelor's degree in some health related discipline but it's a place to start.
The first hospital I worked at had a dedicated pt ed dept. Pts would go during their hospitalization and be taught the skills they would be d/c'ed home with -- e.g. PICC care and infusion, drain care, tubefeeding etc. I don't know if the RNs needed to have their BSN though.
The only nationally accredited program I've found which offers professional credentials to nurses for patient and health education is the National Institute of Whole Health (Whole Health Programs - Accredited | National Institute of Whole Health
). They are credentialed by the Institute of Credentialing Excellence and the program qualifies you for an NPI number with a billing manual. One of their programs is exclusively for nurses and a great option for nurses seeking real credentials for health and wellness patient education work in either a medical practice or for your own private practice. I looked at a LOT of programs online before choosing the NIWH program for becoming a patient and health educator. The program has monthly call-ins and there is a lot of discussion in the calls about what graduates are doing and it’s quite impressive! One call I listened to was focused on how Medicare is making disease prevention and health education a priority in patient care. As a nurse interested in patient and health education, you might do well to check out the NIWH training and certification options. Don't be discouraged in following what calls to you as a nurse. Patient and health education IS a viable career option/enrichment, the caveat being that credentials in such are essential.
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