interested in nurse educator

  1. I am a BSN-RN with almost 5 years of nursing experience all in critical care. I am ready to moon walk on out of bedside nursing at this point in my life. I really do like what I do, just that my BP is up, I have developed terrible neck/back pain and I am currently pregnant. I would like to be on the same schedule as my husband and the new baby as much as possible. I started taking grad classes (completed the MSN core classes) and I am very interested in becoming a nursing instructor/educator at a college. I enjoyed nursing school so much because of awesome professors and it is something that I get super excited just talking about.
    Can anyone tell me what a typical job for a nursing instructor is like?
    What can I expect to make? (I am in Florida and I work in my hospitals float pool so I expect to take a pretty decent pay cut)
    Anyone keep a PRN job while doing so?
    Do you love your job or have any regrets?
    Thanks!
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  2. Visit RoseRyan profile page

    About RoseRyan, BSN

    Joined: Jun '12; Posts: 37; Likes: 36
    ICU Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 5 year(s) of experience in ICU

    9 Comments

  3. by   BirkieGirl
    In my area, full time nursing staff in hosp making about 60-65k baseline, and working overtime gets upwards of 75-79k.

    Educator positions full time associate professors- starting around 60-65k depending on perks, benefits, etc.

    All MSN students work FULL time. MSN schooling is generally very do-able while working full time. However when I was a new mom, I took only 1 class a semester just so I could balance it all (plus I worked a five day a week job at the time).

    Teaching is rewarding, and it does have perks. Flexibility, good holiday and summer breaks, option for good vacations due to breaks, tuition reduction for self/spouse/kids. Also there is general climb in pay scale every year.

    Being an educator is really an all-encompassing position, but rewarding. However do your homework about how the job market looks in your area unless you are willing to commute. Also, you want to consider that in most cases, educators are required to be pursuant of a PhD or DNP within a few years of hire (some universities require you to be nearly DONE at the time of application to teach there).
  4. by   BirkieGirl
    To clarify for you-

    teaching in ADN program around me is that starting pay. Most MSN graduates are going to teach in a MSN program.

    teaching in a BSN/MSN/DNP program around me- starting pay around 70k for full time. However, the BSN programs closest to me state they want a DNP or PhD in progress to be considered for position.
  5. by   JaxJax5423
    I have a BSN and teach LVNs. I enjoy the flexibility. I get to get girls off the bus, I get to make my own office hours...etc., No weekends or holidays. I do clinicals, so I take students to hospitals, I do simulation labs, and I lecture. I enjoy it, it is overall pretty fullfilling.
    The negatives, I MISS THE PATIENTS in doing bedside care and going PRN would mean weekend work :/ also, students fail and unfortunately the numbers are reflective of your teaching. You can teach till you are black and blue, if the students don't do their work...they fail. Another negative is the pay and need for a PHD. I can't afford a huge debt to end off making 70k.

    I would recommend it, but I need to consider a prn role or further education.
  6. by   JaxJax5423
    ahhh and I just spoke to HR. I get a whopping $1000 raise for an MSN. That's not going to work. Then to teach BSNs I would need to pursue a PHD. More debt. Just a vent!
  7. by   ProfRN4
    I will preface my reply with this: I am leaving my job in academia very shortly, so my answers may very well reflect this (note, it is a bittersweet transition for me, and I am nervous about it!)

    Salary: I cannot speak for Florida, but where I live and work, I make less than my new grads start out making Money is not everything, but it does make a huge impact on things (especially if you are taking a pay cut to do this). Before I started teaching, I was working a hybrid of per-diem and a part time job, making not quite what a full time nurse was making (while being a full time mommy and finishing up my masters), so it didn't hit me that hard in the beginning. Now, years later, I am realizing how much money I was sacrificing over the years.

    It is somewhat possible to work per diem, but it really depends on the demands of the program you teach in. Assuming you work in a college/university setting, you will have spring, summer and Chirstmas vacations, which should afford you the time to do so. But for me, it was hard to keep a per-diem commitment (because I couldn't balance any sort of work during the actual school year, and my per diem job had a minimum commitment).

    So yes, time off is a plus. I wouldn't say I was always home for my kids' drop offs and pick ups (early clinical hours did not allow for this). I've also had to roate to evening lectures (missing some evening school events). It's great to have Columbus day, labor day, and all those little (and Big- Christmas) holidays off. But the downside to teaching is, it is very hard to take a regular day off (your class/clinical needs to be covered, or made up if you have to cancel in an emergency). You can't ever go on vacation during a random week (it will always be when the rest of the world is on vaca). Obviously, flexibility is contingent upon your colleagues (if they can help you out in any way).

    Pro- no nights, weekends! You have more of a normal schedule.
    Con- you WILL bring work home. More than you think!

    Pro- You rarely stay late on the floor, because of work not getting done.
    Con- you have to ensure each student did what they were assigned to do (meds signed off, charting, signing off to RN, etc)

    Pro- many students are great! Eager to learn, excited when they make connections (you get as excited as they do), most are grateful of what you have to offer.
    Con- some are just not cut out to do this, and you know it, and it is difficult to quantify this on paper (without looking like you are 'out to get them'). It is heartbreaking sometimes, and you wish you can do more for them. But some just struggle, or cannot commit fully to their studies. Not so heartbreaking (more irritating/frustrating) are the ones who don't try, don't care, and are unprofessional. Late, unaccountable, poor paperwork, limited motivation. Some will test your limits. Cell phone usage, not respecting their classmates by listening to them in pre-post conferences, attempting to cut corners. These students represent a small percentage (depending on what program you teach in, and what course/level they are in), but there are enough to cause frustration.

    Pro-seeing their growth from week 1 to week 15
    Con- getting a brand new group and starting all over (it's like the movie Groundhog Day). In theory, I'd LOVE to follow a cohort from 1st nursing class to last, to see the true growth!
  8. by   random_nurse12
    I teach FT and have for about 4 years. I adjuncted for several years before that.

    Number one: do not go into teaching to make money. You will be very disappointed. Where I am at faculty start at about 55K for 9 months of work. Summers are optional. A summer contract would add 33% to the base salary. We do not have set hours, what I mean by that is: this is not a 9-5 job. There is a lot of flexibility and a lot of built in time off. There is also a lot of work to take home. The first year is the toughest.

    I do work PRN because I like to punish myself and I do not want to lose my skills. And honestly I think back to all the instructors I had or have worked with that have no clue what is going on because they haven't actually worked as a nurse in 20 years.

    I always recommend that you adjunct as a clinical instructor to start. This will give you an idea if it is a good fit for you. No more than we can tell someone what it is really like to be a nurse, can I tell you what it is really like to be faculty. It is much different than most people realize. In my fantasy world every nurse would be faculty for a year.

    I enjoy my job. 90% of the students are great. 10% make me lose my will to live. It is always that 10% that have you questioning if you have made the right choice.
  9. by   HouTx
    Er, Um ... has anyone considered workplace education? That's my gig & I LOVE it. Department instructors need at least a BSN, but our educator positions require MSN. Our salaries are equitable in comparison with other nursing leaders in the organization. It's not unusual for an Education Director to earn 6 figures in a large organization.

    We're involved in all new initiatives, upgrades, rollouts and what have you. Skill set for newbies is - nursing competency (duh), principles and practice of education (theory and application), and familiarity with employment law as it relates to education and training. With higher level positions, additional business/management skills, project management, etc. are needed. We also have specialty niches... like instructional design & e-learning development.

    We probably have a lot more layers of people to please & more metrics to meet than our academic colleagues, but I can't imagine any nursing/healthcare job that could be more interesting. Try it, you'll like it.
  10. by   llg
    I'm with HouTX on this. I've done a little teaching for a university over the years ... but my main career has been in Nursing Professional Development, teaching hospital nurses. I work no nights, weekends, or holidays. I am "non-essential" during major storms and other crises. But yet I earn a hospital nursing leader's salary and benefits.

    I teach new orientees ... and experienced nurses. I also coordinate my hospital's nursing student extern program: I love teaching classes to that fun group of stellar undergrads. I precept staff nurses completing BSN's and/or getting graduate degrees. I consult with staff councils on evidence-based practice projects.

    I've never understood why more people don't pursue staff development jobs.
  11. by   random_nurse12
    I have absolutely considered being a hospital educator. I think both of the two previous posters repsonded when I asked about it in the summer.

    Full disclosure I make 85K as a professor in a LCOL area.

    From my research I would initially take about a 10K cut in pay in order to make the transition. Not to mention the significant difference in retirement benefits (15% is contributed for me, no matter what my contribution). And free tuition for my kids. But I think I am an outlier in that regard. I also think summers off draws in a percentage of professors (not me, but those that I work with). The flexibility. I do not work a 9-5 shift, nor do I work M-F. For the most part, I come and go as I please. That would be tough to give up. I think from that perspective, if you have been teaching for a while, it can be difficult to make the move. Also, for some professors they are receiving student loan payback they can't receive in the hospital positions.

    I have friends that are hospital educators and when we discuss the similarities and differences it seems that in hospital education you can force more compliance where now students are treated like victims and it can be difficult to really enforce anything with them. There is so much whining from students. They are difficult to please. On the flip side, most staff nurses dread to see the educator coming and many don't respect the position at all. Like most jobs, I think it comes down to which set of problems you want to deal with and how your personality matches up to the position.

    But for me, I feel stuck because I am the primary wage earner with teenage children.

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