Nursing Educators/ Faculty

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    Nurse educators meld clinical expertise with a passion for teaching to shape future generations of nurses and advance the profession of nursing. Nursing education is a rich and rewarding career choice. Nurse educators help aspiring nurses, novice nurses, and experienced nurses reach their career goals and fulfill their dreams.

    Nurse educators meld clinical expertise with a passion for teaching to shape future generations of nurses and advance the profession of nursing. They are prepared to function in a wide variety of classroom and practice settings to teach, prepare, and mentor current and future nurses, using diverse technologies and skills. They help aspiring nurses, novice nurses, and experienced nurses reach their career goals.

    In order to be effective in these multifaceted roles and functions, nurse educators need a firm foundation in the following key competency areas: adult learning theory; teaching/ learning principles; learning evaluation methods; curriculum design and development; classroom and online teaching strategies; program outcomes evaluation; continuous quality improvement; and scholarship engagement. Nurse educators need to be innovative and evidence-based in their approach to nursing education, to produce competent nursing graduates who will deliver safe and effective nursing care.

    Contemporary nursing education had its inception in Europe, with the "Order of Deaconesses" training school which was established in 1836 in Kaiserwerth, Germany. Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, received four months of formal training at this school. Almost all modern nursing protocols and techniques can be traced back to Nightingale, the original nurse educator. In 1872, the first nursing training schools in the United States began enrollment in Philadelphia at the Women's Hospital and in Boston at the New England Hospital for Women and Children. Presently, an estimated 1,900 nursing programs in the US offer degrees at the bachelor's, associate's, or diploma level.

    Work Environment

    There are many job opportunities for nurse educators, which make it a rich and rewarding career choice. Nurse educator positions can be found within diverse academic and healthcare service areas, such as university or secondary education nursing pre-licensure programs, health career courses, continuing education for clinical staff, community groups, or patient education. Outside of class time, the schedules are generally flexible.

    Nurse educators can:
    • Teach in four-year colleges, two-year colleges, distance learning programs, vocational/ technical schools, and hospitals as an instructor or professor.
    • Teach in healthcare organizations as staff development coordinators, continuing education specialists, and nursing professional development specialists.
    • Teach in nursing care facilities, community health departments, government agencies, physician's offices, outpatient care centers, and home care agencies.

    Duties / Responsibilities
    • Teach, advise, and mentor students throughout the learning process.
    • Use assessment, measurement, and evaluation strategies.
    • Serve as leaders and role models to facilitate learner development and socialization.
    • Maintain a high level of clinical competence.
    • Participate in course development, curriculum design, and evaluation of program outcomes.
    • Engage in scholarly activities, writing grants, professional service to the college and community, peer review, and leadership.
    • Use evidence-based knowledge to advance the science of nursing education.
    • Design innovative programs of learning that develop clinical reasoning skills.
    • Lead change/ advance health in the redesign of healthcare systems and policy making.
    • Develop/ promote evidence-based approaches to coordinated population-based care.
    • Engage in life-long learning/ continuous quality improvement in the nurse educator role.
    • Present and speak at conferences.

    Education Requirements

    Academic nurse educators are licensed registered nurses with a specified minimal amount of clinical experience (usually two calendar years of full-time clinical experience as a registered nurse), and an advanced education in nursing (as specified by the state board of nursing). In most cases, a master's degree or doctoral degree is required. Education at the doctoral level for aspiring nurse educators is strongly encouraged by the National League for Nursing (NLN). At this present time, however, only one-quarter of full-time nursing faculty hold doctoral degrees (e.g., DNP, DNS, EdD, and PhD). Due to this low figure, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends a doubling of the number of nursing faculty with a doctorate by 2020. Most nurse educators teach nursing coursework within their particular sphere of expertise, such as gerontology, pediatrics, cardiology, neonatology, and family health.

    There are two certifying bodies for this unique specialty area of nursing practice: one for academic nurse educators and the other for staff (clinical-based) nurse educators. The Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) Examination is a credentialing tool for academic nurse educators. The NLN created this specialty certification in 2005 and it has since grown enormously in popularity. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) certifies nurse educators within hospitals (i.e., staff development) with the Nursing Professional Development (NPD) credential.

    Job Outlook

    Overall, job opportunities for nurse educators are promising. New educators are needed with energy, stamina, and fresh approaches to teaching. Employers in some areas of the country report difficulty attracting and retaining nursing faculty. Some nursing programs have been forced to turn away qualified applicants to nursing programs as a result. Employment for nurse educators is expected to grow in the US by 17% by 2020, as enrollment in postsecondary institutions and nursing programs continues to rise and waves of aging nursing faculty retire en masse. This is in stark contrast to a projected increase in overall employment of just 14%. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) reported a total of 15,574 full-time nursing faculty positions in 2012, with an overall 7.5% national vacancy rate for nursing program faculty. During the same time period, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) identified 1,181 faculty vacancies in their survey of 662 nursing schools.


    Full-time nurse educators typically earn a salary of $25,000 to $122,000 or more per year, depending on educational preparation, specialty area, geographic pay differentials, or certifications. Educational preparation does make a difference. Nurse educators with master's degrees average $49,000, whereas those with doctoral degrees earn average annual wages of $61,000. Nurse educators in administrative leadership positions (such as nursing school deans) can earn a regular salary in excess of $200,000. In acute care hospitals, nurse educators average salaries between $60,000 and $81,000 per year for staff development.


    2012 Environmental Scan: Annual Review of Emerging Issues and Trends That Impact Nursing Regulation

    American Association of Colleges of Nursing

    Association for Nursing Professional Development (ANPD)

    A Vision for Doctoral Preparation for Nurse Educators: A Living Document from the National League for Nursing

    Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) Candidate Handbook

    IOM Future of Nursing Report

    Journal of Nursing Education

    NLN Competencies for Nursing Education

    Nurse Educator Salaries

    Nursing Faculty Shortage

    Nursing Professional Development Certification

    Postsecondary Teachers
    Last edit by Joe V on Nov 29, '13
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    About VickyRN

    VickyRN is a certified nurse educator (NLN) and certified gerontology nurse (ANCC). Her research interests include: the special health and social needs of the vulnerable older adult population; registered nurse staffing and resident outcomes in intermediate care nursing facilities; and, innovations in avoiding institutionalization of frail elderly clients by providing long-term care services and supports in the community. She is faculty in a large baccalaureate nursing program in North Carolina.

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  3. by   delawaremalenurse
    "Nurse educators with master’s degrees average $49,000, whereas those with doctoral degrees earn average annual wages of $61,000."

    Any wonder that there's a nursing faculty shortage?
  4. by   luvRNs
    Interesting article, but I do see one glaring problem. I am a former Nursing educator who had tenure at a community college. I was appalled when I first began to teach at the limited clinical expertise of some of my colleagues. It gives credence to the old adage " those who can't do, teach". I worked per diem in an ICU during summers, semester breaks, and week- ends. My students we well aware of this, and my hospital colleagues respected me for keeping my skills up and for being a role model for students.
    My masters degree was focused on decision- making, and much of it focused on Benner's principles. Best practice now supports that 2 years experience or less is at best novice or beginner status, yet we believe this is enough to educate our future professional ? I doubt it.
  5. by   meanmaryjean
    Following this
  6. by   cdsga
    The salary for the amount of money needed for advanced degrees is deplorable. IOM should address this or all educators should be unionized to ensure the amount of salary to recoup the investment. I understand about personal goals, etc. and professionalism, but in these days, some pragmatic fiscal increase should be offered. There is no way to compare medical professors-or doctors for that matter because they can recoup their expenses/loans much faster. I'm amazed at the vast range of salary. 25k to 122k? I suppose you can supplement by public speaking or writing books. Wow.
  7. by   luvRNs
    agree with SDGA about the salary. I left after tenure and doubled my pay. that said, i OFTEN had to cover semesters for a tenured colleague who made 20K MORE than me due to seniority but was crazy. My work load became half or hers AND mine for less pay. I don't see unions OR tenure as the solution. I DO see raises...
  8. by   Rose_Queen
    Quote from delawaremalenurse
    "Nurse educators with master’s degrees average $49,000, whereas those with doctoral degrees earn average annual wages of $61,000."

    Any wonder that there's a nursing faculty shortage?
    I have one more semester until I complete my msn ed degree. However, I will not be working as a full time educator because I'd take an annual salary cut of $30,000! Instead, I will keep my current clinical position and add an adjunct role. Granted, a lot of that is call back pay, but still, that is a lot of money to lose.
  9. by   meanmaryjean
    Question for those of you in the field currently:

    Which certification would you pursue and why?

    NLN CNE - or - RN-BC through ANCC?
  10. by   meanmaryjean
    I feel I could pass the NLN exam today - as there is no hours requirement. The RN-BC would be out of reach for me for a couple years yet.
  11. by   llg
    I am certified in Nursing Professional Development by ANCC. That particular exam does not require a Master's Degree -- only a BSN. I wish it would require a Master's, perhaps by making 2 levels -- perhaps "NPD Coordinator" for the BSN level... and "NPD Specialist" for those with a graduate education.

    My big issue is the fact that few graduate programs in Nursing Education include significant content on NPD. The programs I have looked at are based 100% on the NLN standards. People are graduating from these programs not even knowing that there is an Association of Nursing Professional Development (ANPD) ... a "Scope and Standards of Practice" for NPD ... an NPD practice model ... an NPD certification ... etc. They assume that if they studied academic education in school, they automatically know everything they need to know about NPD -- and they don't.

    I wish academic educators would acknowledge that the field of NPD is slightly different than academic education and include some NPD content in their programs. We sometimes have trouble filling our NPD positions because people (even academic educators) know so little about it.

    llg, PhD, RN-BC (I work full time in a hospital and adjunct a little at a local university.)
  12. by   meanmaryjean
    I will agree about the decided slant toward academia in all the MSN programs I looked at. I wonder if there IS a MSN program out there with equal consideration for NPD?
  13. by   llg
    Quote from meanmaryjean
    I will agree about the decided slant toward academia in all the MSN programs I looked at. I wonder if there IS a MSN program out there with equal consideration for NPD?
    If you find one, please let me know. In fact, if anyone knows of any graduate program in nursing education that gives equal weight to NPD, please let me know. I get asked for recommendations and don't know of any.
  14. by   jbudrick
    Sacred Heart University (Connecticut) has six credits in staff development with 48 clinical hours required for MSN Education. I am scheduled to graduate in November, and do my staff development at a local hospital starting in March. The main emphasis is teaching in a BSN program. There are 144 hours of clinical in a BSN program required. I currently teach in an LPN program so it does not count.

    Good luck.