Role of Nurse Educators
The United States is currently experiencing a shortage of nurses (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2005). The US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (2005) projects that the job growth for registered nurses will continue to grow up to 29% from the year 2004 to 2015. A study shows that patients treated in hospitals with nurses who finished baccalaureate programs or higher degree levels have “substantial survival advantage” (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2003).
As this is the case, there is great need for nursing educators to fulfill their roles in training current and future generations of nurses. Nurse educators work with high school graduates studying nursing for the first time, registered nurses taking further studies for advanced degrees or for interest in gaining more knowledge and skills needed in their profession. They, first and foremost, are found in the classroom setting, where they lay the basic foundations of nursing, medical and clinical knowledge.
Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow (n. d. ) states that like faculty in other disciplines, nurse educators who work in academic settings, take an active role in the development of their field. They conduct research projects, participate in their professional associations and interact with other nursing academics and practitioners. Some educators also continue to practice their profession in the clinical setting. This is an effective tool in ensuring that they continue to be clinically competent as they train future nurses.
As they continue to gain experience in the clinical setting or interact with fellow nursing academics and practitioners, they ensure that nursing programs are effective in preparing students for their chosen profession. This allows them to update their institution’s curricula, develop courses or programs of study, teaching and guiding learners, evaluating learning and document the outcomes of the educational process (Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow. n. d. ). They not only lay educational foundation by teaching but by continuing to develop the process of imparting facts.
They also ensure that what they teach in school will be useful for the students’ future practice. Most importantly, they serve as role models to novice nurses. They show true passion for their profession because of their willingness to involve themselves in training nurses and assessing the different aspects of their field all for the betterment of nursing. Their continuous pursuit for excellence both for themselves and for the industry is also aimed at being better servants to the public.
Nurse educators teach the novice nurses how to perform their job correctly and arm them with the necessary skills for them to stand on their own feet once they leave the academic setting. They ensure that their students continue to search for knowledge and improve themselves in their practice of the profession. As nurse educators play a truly important role in the maintenance of the quality of nursing professionals, there is a great need for more qualified nurse educators. Read also about the role of cognition in learning
The decrease in nurse educators also contributes to the decrease in nursing graduates and professionals because fewer students can be accommodated in educational institutions (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2005. )
Truly, the role of nurse educators in the training of novice nurses and in the improvement of the quality of nurses’ practice cannot be emphasized enough. As lack of young people interested in getting into nursing is horrible to imagine, it is even a greater horror if we do not have enough nurse educators. Without them, quality health care would not be possible.