I have recently been trying to decide what I want to do in my career. I have considered CRNA, FNP, and case management, but during our annual comps I began to consider nursing education. I originally began college as an education major but I decided that helping people in a hospital setting appealed to me more. I am now thinking maybe I can combine my passion for both?
I am also looking into clinical nurse educators on unit vs. nursing school instructor. If anyone has any advice on pros/cons for each it would be greatly appreciated!
I've spent most of my career in Nursing Professional Development (NPD - staff development department in hospitals) and teach an occasional class for a local university.
I really like NPD. It suits me as I like being at the intersection where theoretical knowledge meets practical application. I like the merging of the two.
How far are you thinking of going in your education? If you want to climb the ladder teaching for a university, you'll need a doctoral degree. People near the bottom of the academic hierarchy (with MSN's) usually make significantly less money and have fewer options. In NPD, an MSN can get you far, with a nice salary and great schedule. But both can be great career paths.
To learn about NPD, I recommend you look at the home page of the Association for Nursing Professional Development (ANPD). It's a strong organization with great educational programs to help people get started in the field.
I am also partial to the professional development side of things, in no small part due to far superior pay and benefits, but also because I truly enjoy patient care and seeing the impact of my collaboration with the staffing on the patients themselves. There is a lot of room for creativity, growth and learning. You get a far better understanding of our current healthcare legislation as well as the place where patient care and business concerns intersect and can play a vital role in balancing the two.
Often professional development seems to be driven by a concern for regulatory and compliance issues where in the academic setting we focus on teaching the fundamentals- assessment skills, pathophysiology, etc. An MSN focused on nursing education will prepare you for entry to either career. Plenty of nurses work in both jobs or move between these roles.