For those of you interested in learning about Nurse Educators....
Job Talk: with a nurse educator : News-Record.com : Greensboro & the Triad's most trusted source for local news and analysis
What does your job entail?
As a nursing educator at Moses Cone Health System, I teach and coordinate various types of training, primarily for registered nurses. My role is varied. When I am not teaching, I am assigned to implement various projects and programs that impact patient care.
How did you become involved in this line of work?
I have always been interested in health care since I was in high school. I never thought about nursing as a career until I spent a summer after my college graduation working in a local hospital. I was assigned to work in the operating room as a scrub technician, passing instruments to surgeons during surgery. During that summer, I realized how valuable nurses were in the role of caring for patients and teaching. After that summer experience, I decided to enter nursing. When I entered the nursing field there were few men. I am glad to say that more men are now entering the nursing profession.
What training or education is required?
Generally a nursing educator has an advanced degree in nursing and has several years of clinical and or administrative experience in nursing. My educational background includes a degree in biology from Appalachian State University. I also have an associate degree in nursing from GTCC. After 10 years of clinical experience, I returned to school to obtain a master’s in nursing from UNCG. I thought my biology degree was most helpful for me in attaining success in my nursing program. My anatomy and chemistry courses prepared me for understanding pharmacology, nutrition, physiology and diseases of the body.
What does it take to do your job successfully?
Nursing is an applied science that requires me to use all of my brain power, heart and interpersonal skills to take care of patients and family members. Since it is a field that requires so much from me, I think that you have to have some kind of inner calling to do this work. Nursing is so physically, mentally and emotionally demanding, you really have to want to it. Early in my career while I was working in direct patient care, I was on my feet 12 to 14 hours a day. I remember that it took a while for my body to get used to that. I also had to get used to working nights, weekends, and I also had to learn how to sleep during the day. It required me to stay current on new medications and treatments. Over the years I have discovered that nurses are great students and that they want to keep up in their profession. The keys for being a successful nursing educator are being well-prepared, providing training that is relevant and timely and, finally, making learning fun.
What’s most challenging about your job?
I constantly work on prioritizing my workload so I don’t have to take it home with me every night. Since the Moses Cone Health System is very large and our nursing staff work all shifts, the most challenging part of education today is reaching everyone and making education more accessible.
What is most rewarding?
Working with other great nurses in the field is the most rewarding aspect of my job. I do love to teach in my role as an educator. I also enjoy meeting and working with new employees and students and helping them in their profession.
Any advice for someone interested?
One of the great things about the nursing profession is the variety of opportunities. For those nurses who are interested in teaching full time, make sure you have at least four to five years of clinical experience and have an expertise in a particular specialty. Along with that you need to obtain your educational requirements. Generally, hospital nursing educator positions require a master’s degree in a related field — in education or nursing education.