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Use Your Leadership Skills as a Nurse Educator

The nursing profession is transforming, positioning nurse educators at the forefront of the movement to ensure nurses can navigate this increasingly complex and modern healthcare landscape. Nurse educators must be proactive and quickly adapt to these emerging dynamics, often by regularly revising their curricula and the teaching strategies employed.

Because these skills are crucial, advanced degree programs like a Post-Master’s Nursing Education Certificate online program should focus on curriculum development, clinical and classroom teaching methodologies and leadership. Educators must instill this core knowledge and overall caregiver confidence in students looking to be the next generation of healthcare providers.

What Issues Do Nurse Educators Face?

More than ever, nurses have a broad range of responsibilities that are central to the delivery of care and public health endeavors. They must routinely collaborate with peers, patients and providers; make informed decisions about healthcare policies and procedures; advocate for their communities; and utilize the latest research to deliver evidence-based care. In addition, they must support a patient population that is more ethnically and racially diverse than ever before, living longer and managing chronic conditions and comorbidities that utilize a greater share of healthcare resources.

This requires a diverse skill set and a desire for continuous improvement. “Education has a significant impact on the knowledge and competencies of the nurse clinician,” notes the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Education prepares students “to meet the demands placed on today’s nurse … [and] to practice across a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings.”

Nurse educators are also instrumental in reducing nursing shortages. “With more than 500,000 seasoned RNs anticipated to retire by 2022,” according to the American Nurses Association (ANA), “the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for 1.1 million new RNs for expansion and replacement of retirees.” This could result in more than 100K job openings annually through 2029.

Unfortunately, efforts to rapidly increase the nursing workforce have been stymied. According to AACN, more than 75K qualified applicants were denied entry to a nursing program in 2018 due to nurse educator shortages and limited program capacities. Over “one-third of the current nursing faculty workforce in baccalaureate and graduate programs” are expected to retire by 2025, which means it will be challenging to maintain, let alone expand, the nursing workforce without first addressing the educator shortage.

How Do Nurse Educators Support a Robust Nursing Workforce?

Often, nurses who pursue educator roles have leadership potential and firsthand experiences that bring learning to life. “Because teaching is already an integral part of nursing, becoming a nurse educator is often the natural extension of a role in which nurses already excel,” notes the AACN.

In academic settings, nurse educators can substantially impact students by setting clear expectations for the profession. “Nurse educators help prepare today’s nurses for future leadership roles by introducing management and organizational theories that will allow nurses to take initiative in a variety of roles,” according to Daily Nurse. They also model best practices for clinical decision-making, explore the benefits of collaborative healthcare and serve as mentors. They design and customize coursework to reflect proven nursing principles, conduct research and speak at healthcare conferences.

In clinical settings, such as hospitals and community health agencies, nurse educators have similar responsibilities. They design and lead educational programs to inform staff of new guidelines or procedures. In addition, they prioritize tasks, manage budgets and coordinate resources for continuous education.

Nurse educators are vital to expanding the nursing workforce and meeting the growing demand for healthcare services. Through their leadership, nursing education must evolve to keep pace with societal changes.

Learn more about William Paterson’s online Post Master’s Nursing Education Certificate program.

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