I have an M.S. in Communication and would like to be a Patient Educator, thus I am considering getting my R.N.
I keep reading that there is a need for Patient Educators- but I don't exactly see a whole lot of advertisement for them.
May 7, '08
Check local job listings. Every single open RN position is a patient education position....Education kind of comes with the turf. From the lowest to the highest, RNs all educate. Constantly. If you're talking about a desk job as an RN educator, then you will more than likely need to put your time in as a bedside nurse for a bit before you even think of becoming an "educator." Many of the educator jobs are "in house" postions where you need to be hired into a hospital system and then check the internal job postings constantly. Think of the whole process as "building up street cred."
May 8, '08
Are you interested in any of the other aspects of nursing besides patient education? Because while patient education IS an integral part of many nursing roles, in many places that makes up just one small percentage of the nurses' responsibilities and gets lower priority than immediate, physical health care needs.
Re: where are the jobs?
There is a need for nurse patient educators but there isn't an economic demand for them. So while there may be a demand for nurse patient educators, there may not be many decent patient education JOBS out there for the taking.
Patient educators generally don't bring in any added revenue for facilities nor have a front-line basic care role and thus will be the first jobs to be cut in budget crises. If a hospital does employ patient educators, they will only have a few of those, whereas they may have dozens if not hundreds of nurses. And patient educator jobs are coveted by many nurses (regular hours?! not back-breaking work?!), so there would quite a bit competition to secure such a position. And a nurse who is comfortable going back to floor work won't be as worried if their position gets cut unexpectedly one day.
Outside of the hospital in community health settings, I've heard of master's prepared health educators... not that they get paid very much. And then there are peer health educators who don't have a formal education in health care but are trained to do basic health education... pays even less than the previously mentioned health educator roles.
That's my understanding which most certainly could be inaccurate and/or out of date!