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Nurse Educator Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: September 27, 2023

A Nurse Educator, or nurse instructor, is a registered nurse (RN) who serves as a teacher for other nurses and individuals who wish to become nurses. Their duties include developing lesson plans, giving lectures and evaluating their students both in clinical settings and through examinations and assignments.

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Nurse Educator duties and responsibilities

A Nurse Educator instills the knowledge that students attending your educational program or employed by your institution or company need to work effectively as nurses. They help prepare future nurses for employment or allow nurses already working in the field to improve their job performance. Some specific job duties of a Nurse Educator include:

  • Creating lesson plans that accomplish predefined learning goals
  • Teaching classroom-based courses through lectures and discussions
  • Demonstrating techniques and best practices for students
  • Overseeing clinical practice components of nurse education and training programs
  • Grading papers, assignments and exams
  • Helping to develop curriculum for nurse training programs in cooperation with other faculty or directors of nursing
  • Documenting student attendance, participation and performance
  • Staying up-to-date on the latest advances in medicine and changes to best practice standards for patient care
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What does a Nurse Educator do?

Nurse Educators serve as instructors, mentors and role models for prospective and current nurses. They work with other faculty at post-secondary educational institutions or management at hospitals, long-term care facilities and other healthcare institutions to establish learning goals and develop curriculum to achieve them. In classroom settings, Nurse Educators carry out lesson plans. To deepen students’ understanding of the topics covered, they give assignments and exams and then evaluate students’ work. Some Nurse Educators also work in clinical settings, directly supervising nursing students or newly hired nurses and providing guidance and feedback as they carry out tasks.

Nurse Educator skills and qualifications

To successfully complete the job duties assigned to them in your workplace, Nurse Educators need certain skills and qualifications, such as:

  • Extensive knowledge of nursing related to the material they’re required to present
  • Demonstrated communication skills necessary to explain complex medical and scientific concepts in a manner that’s easy to understand and provide written feedback on student assignments
  • High-level interpersonal skills to give constructive feedback and serve as trusted advisors for their students
  • Creative problem-solving ability to address issues that arise due to student performance or overcome obstacles to delivering established curriculum
  • Well-developed interpersonal skills to engage and inspire students
  • Ability to move large, heavy items, such as overhead projectors in classrooms or medical equipment in clinical settings
  • Enough stamina to remain stationary for long periods
  • Valid driver’s license or reliable access transportation if the prospective Nurse Educator will be responsible for traveling to more than one campus or location to instruct students or nurses

Nurse Educator experience requirements

Previous work experience as a registered nurse is vital to the success of a Nurse Educator. Most educators work for at least three to five years as RNs in clinical settings before becoming instructors. Ideally, previous work experience will relate to the nature of the teaching assignment. For example, a Nurse Educator employed by a long-term care facility will have firsthand experience caring for residents in a nursing home or other facility. You may also wish to consider candidates who have previous management experience, as supervisory roles are usually given to nurses who have demonstrated their ability to deliver quality patient care and communicate effectively with other staff. Experience serving as an on-the-job trainer for other nurses is also an asset.

Nurse Educator education and training requirements

A valid RN license is needed to work as a Nurse Educator. Most employers require a Master of Science degree in nursing. However, candidates with Bachelor of Science degrees in nursing with many years of experience may also be considered, particularly if they show evidence of having previously completed supervisory and training-related duties.

Nurse Educator salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a clinical Nurse Educator is $87,310 per year. The actual salary earned varies based on education, experience, skill level and geographic location.

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Nurse Educator job description FAQs

What makes a good Nurse Educator?

A good Nurse Educator has a positive outlook and a high level of empathy that allows them to communicate effectively with students. They have previously exhibited a strong commitment to providing the highest quality patient care and understand the importance of teaching others the correct techniques that will allow them to do the same. Due to the ever-changing dynamics of a classroom, successful Nurse Educators must adapt rapidly to change and be able to be flexible. A desire to continue to learn throughout their entire career is also essential, as medical science always continues to advance.

Do Nurse Educators have different responsibilities in different industries?

The day-to-day responsibilities of a Nurse Educator depend on where they’re employed. If you represent a post-secondary institution, educators will largely work in the classroom and be responsible for carrying out the established curriculum for your program. If your position involves teaching nurses at a healthcare facility or institution, Nurse Educators may have additional responsibilities, such as shadowing nurses and communicating with supervisors to uncover potential areas of improvement for students.

Who does a Nurse Educator report to?

In an educational setting, the Nurse Educator usually reports to their department head or the Director of Student Learning. The Assistant Director of Nursing is often the direct supervisor of Nurse Educators in clinical settings.

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