The Importance of Clinical Nurse Educators

A clinical nurse educator works with students.
A clinical nurse educator works with students.

A healthcare system bolstered by well-trained and educated medical professionals is vital. Providing quality care relies on the cooperation of several passionate and highly educated individuals — from experienced nurses and pharmacists treating patients to the assistants that support them. 

By pursuing an advanced degree such as a master of science in nursing, new nurses and existing nurses looking for professional development can build the knowledge and skills they need to pursue a career as a clinical nurse educator, playing an integral part in the success of our healthcare system. 

What Is a Clinical Nurse Educator? 

Tasked with instructing nurses and nursing students, clinical nurse educators are skilled nursing professionals who prepare graduates with the training required to provide quality care to patients nationwide. Since they are advanced nursing professionals themselves, clinical nurse educators are qualified to prepare programs and resources to inform nurses and nursing teams on best practices — including the latest technologies, protocols and standards of care. 

For many educators, day-to-day tasks may include:

  • Preparing program resources and opportunities for nursing students 
  • Participating in nursing research
  • Evaluating students and providing steps for improvement
  • Teaching hands-on clinical procedures 
  • Serving as a mentor and coach
  • Providing health and wellness resources to community organizations

As health educators, nursing teachers and clinical experts have the opportunity to shape the next generation of nurses and positively impact their local communities. They provide tools and resources for preventing diseases, encouraging wellness and cultivating a healthy lifestyle. 

Why Become a Clinical Nurse Educator? 

Working as a clinical nurse educator can be an incredibly fulfilling career. Among many things, the clinical nurse educator job description revolves around cultivating the growth of future nurses and nursing leaders. While the profession comes with challenges, nurses can make a positive impact on the lives of patients every day. 

Additionally, some professionals are passionate about health sciences, quality care and making an impact in our healthcare system but would prefer a nonclinical role that doesn’t involve direct bedside care. Becoming a clinical nurse educator can be a great opportunity for these individuals to reach their personal and professional goals.

How to Become a Clinical Nurse Educator

While there are several avenues an individual can pursue to become a clinical nurse educator, there are some minimum certifications they must complete to be qualified to teach. All obtain a registered nursing (RN) license by completing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) exam. They should also complete the required educational and skill requirements. 

Clinical Nurse Educator Training

Since they are the individuals educating other medical professionals, nursing educators must earn an advanced degree and have a foundation in healthcare. For many, this includes completing a program such as a master of science in nursing, a post-master’s certificate in nursing or a doctor of nursing practice. 

Clinical Nurse Educator Skills

Succeeding as a clinical nurse educator requires an extensive set of academic and leadership skills. The better educators are able to convey information and connect with their students, the better they can prepare them for the challenges of nursing. Some of these skills include:

  • Communication: Both teaching and providing care require strong communication skills. By using techniques such as active listening and public speaking, instructors can engage their students in nursing education. 
  • Organizational and time management skills: Proper scheduling can ensure that all required information is covered properly throughout a program. 
  • Curriculum planning and presentation: The more clearly information is conveyed, the easier and more successfully it can be digested and implemented by nursing students. 
  • Patience, empathy and an understanding of learning styles: Everyone learns differently, and some will find certain elements of learning more challenging than others. By recognizing these differences and understanding how to best support their students, clinical nurse educators can find better success as teachers. 

The Future of Clinical Nurse Education: Salary and Career Outlook 

Skilled nurses are in high demand across the country. Equally essential are the clinical nurse educators that train them and provide them with the skills they need to care for patients in clinics, hospitals and community medical organizations nationwide. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the approximate mean annual postsecondary nursing instructor, including clinical nursing educator salary was $77,440 as of May 2021, with top earners achieving $125,930. The BLS also projects that between 2021 and 2031, overall employment will increase by 22%, which is much quicker than the average for all occupations. 

Shape the Future of Nursing as a Clinical Nurse Educator 

A well-rounded educational foundation is at the heart of medical training and the efficient and effective care of patients. Clinical nurse educators are the professionals providing that education to future nursing leaders nationwide. 

Through the pursuit of an advanced education, such as the online BSN to MSN/Nurse Educator offered by Spring Arbor University, graduates can build the knowledge and skills they need to train the next generation of nursing leaders. 

An online program featuring six concentrations, a flexible schedule and an education rooted in an ethical, Christian perspective, the BSN to MSN Nurse Educator program offered by SAU is designed to help you grow personally, professionally and spiritually — while preparing for a healthcare career. 

Discover how you can make a positive difference in your community as a clinical nurse educator. 

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