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The Growing Need for Nursing Educators

The healthcare industry relies heavily on the talents and skills of nursing educators whose mission is to train and educate future nurses. There is currently a shortage of nursing professionals. This, coupled with the rising demand for nurses means that professionals in the industry, specifically nursing educators, can look forward to highly promising career prospects.

To learn more, checkout the infographic below created by Duquesne University’s Online Master of Science in Nursing program.

Infographic of the need of nurse educators

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Factors That Contribute to Demand for Nursing Professionals

Insiders see different factors and causes that drive this demand for nurses, hence placing the responsibility on the nation’s nursing educators to ensure that this need is addressed. These factors include:

Retirement of the Current Generation of Nurses

A significant number of registered nurses of the baby boomer age are retiring by the year 2022. Five hundred thousand of them, in fact, may leave their profession, thus leaving a huge manpower requirement for trained and registered nurses to fill. Failure to address this need could have serious repercussions for the healthcare industry.

Senior Citizen Population is Expected to Rise

It is estimated that the number of senior citizens – those aged 65 and older – will reach 69 million by 2030. This is an increase of 75% over a period of 20 years. By the year 2050, the number of senior citizens is expected to reach around 88.5 million. Senior citizens have unique healthcare needs, most of which will require the services of trained and skilled nurses.

Increase in Chronic Diseases

The National Council on Aging estimates that around 80% of the population in the U.S. suffers from one chronic condition at the minimum. People who have chronic diseases require the attention and professional care of nurses who understand their unique problems, and are capable of providing the necessary assistance and care that will ensure the comfort of patients in the management of their disease.

In 2014, the AACN (American Association of Colleges of Nursing) discovered that more than 68,000 applicants applied to nursing schools but were rejected even if they were qualified. They cited budget constraints, limited space for classrooms, faculty size, lack of clinical preceptors, and issues with the availability of clinical sites as the reasons.

The Annual Survey released by the Schools of Nursing in the Academic Year 2011-2012 showed that about 36% of applicants for BSN (bachelor of science in nursing) programs were rejected. Around 28% of qualified students applying for an RN (registered nurse) program and 45% of those who applied for an ADN (associate degree in nursing) were also rejected. Around 18% of those who applied for diploma programs were refused as well.

How Nursing Educators Can Help

There is a wide range of opportunities for nursing educators to teach in multiple settings across a variety of disciplines. The challenge of finding nursing educators to fill the growing need is mostly due to a lack of awareness regarding their contributions to education. Nursing educators’ specialties include cardiology, acute care, family health, pediatrics, oncology, and psychiatric/mental health. They also teach other specialties including assessment and leadership.

Education and Job Requirements of Nursing Educators

To work as teachers, nursing educators must pass the national NCLEX-RN and the Certified Nurse Educator exams. Since they will be involved in a number of training responsibilities, they are required to be equipped with skills in designing, implementing, evaluating, and revising academic programs along with continuing educations programs especially for nurses. Nursing educators work with students in different levels of learning – from those taking an associate degree to those who are studying to complete a doctoral program. They also train professionals who are looking to update their knowledge with continuing education.

Teaching is not the only profession that nursing educators can get involved in. They may work as speakers and presenters at conferences, conduct relevant research, write proposals for grants, become leaders within their academic community, become involved in peer reviews, become an adviser to students, and contribute to different professional associations.

Benefits of a Career as a Nursing Educator

Nursing educators enjoy a flexible work schedule, which allows them to juggle both personal and professional lives efficiently. They also have access to the latest knowledge and research, and have the opportunity to perform research and work with health professionals. They are also assured a good job security because of fewer numbers of faculty members in their discipline.

Nursing educators consider the privilege of being able to teach and train the next generation of nurses as the most rewarding part of being involved in this profession.

To ensure the effective recruitment of nursing educators, educational and professional institutions must overcome a number of challenges, such as finding the nurse faculty who are qualified to teach, overcoming the low awareness regarding this type of career, and improving the demographic diversity of the faculty.

Work Environments for Nursing Educators

Nursing educators can work in a wide range of environments, including educational institutions, private practices, training facilities, online learning programs, and hospitals.

Nurse Educator Salary Overview and Projected Demand

According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), the demand for qualified nursing teachers and instructors working in the postsecondary level will grow by 2.1%. Currently, nursing educators receive an average salary of $75,030 annually. The median salary is $69,130. The highest-paid nursing educators receive an average salary of $105,030. This is in the state of California. The second highest-paid professionals in this field enjoy around $94,530 in New Jersey. New York offers the third highest salaries for nursing educators, paying them an average of $91,700.

Conclusion

Of educators, Mark Van Doren, an American poet, said that teaching is the “art of assisting discovery”. The unique quality among nursing educators is that their passion to teach the nation’s next batch of nurses is not something that can be taught. It is, instead, inbred – a passion that they already have. Furthermore, they perform an important service that is unique to their position because they affect the lives of people even beyond the classroom. Beyond salary, the rewards that nursing educators enjoy include one of the most important things – knowing that the knowledge they share will one day save lives.

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