There are many professional titles nurse educators serve in. From clinical faculty in a hospital setting to the dean of a college of nursing, nurse educators prepare and mentor the current and future generation of nurses. In academic settings, nurse educators have broad responsibilities toward designing curricula, developing courses and programs of study, teaching and guiding learners, evaluating learning, and documenting the outcomes of the educational process. Other responsibilities for nursing educators may include conducting research, speaking at nursing conferences, peer review, or participating in discussions hosted by nursing associations. In healthcare settings, nurse educators implement current evidence based practices and standards and collaborate with nurse managers to design learning experiences for registered nurses to strengthen competencies.
However, with growing interest in the ongoing RN shortage, nursing school programs and health care facilities face a dilemma concerning the availability of nurse educators. Reductions in the specialty pool of qualified nurse educators are posing a threat in the turnover rate of new student nurses within the nursing profession. According to AACN’s report on 2012-2013 Enrollment and Graduation...
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...thus preparing novice students for their first clinical experiences (Dearmon et al, 2013).”
Nurse educators are change agents and champions in facilitating education through evidenced-based nursing practices in a variety of areas. Their mastery of specialized clinical competency and skill combined with baccalaureate, masters or doctorate level education bridge the gap in nursing education by guiding and mentoring current and future nurses through the ever-changing and dynamic healthcare field. Furthermore, nurse educators are the connection needed to mitigate the national spotlight discussion concerning the nursing shortage. Their specialty role, supporting student nurses in academic settings, such as in simulation, or teaching continuing education for licensed staff in healthcare settings, remains a critical need in stabilizing the nursing profession.
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