8 Benefits of Becoming a Nurse Educator

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

If you’ve always been fascinated by the idea of becoming a nurse educator, there’s a good reason. Whether you realize it or not, there are a lot of benefits, both personal and professional, that come with taking the plunge to advance your education so that you can share your knowledge with others. And to get the wheels turning on that internal conversation, we thought we might name just a few.



Nurse educators rest on the cutting edge of healthcare


When things really start to shake up in the world of healthcare, be it new methods, technology or breakthroughs, nurse educators are the first to know. AdvertisementWhether your focus is more general or an area of specialty, such as pediatrics, family health or oncology, nurse educators have a remarkable degree of access to information, resources and leaders in the healthcare community.

Needless to say, all that exposure helps to shape an immensely intellectually stimulating and innovative environment.

(Cue that hard-to-achieve little thing known as “job satisfaction.”)



Nurse educators are a hot commodity


According to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor, 1 million replacement nurses will be needed by the time we mosey on into 2020. And yet, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, about 80,000 qualified applicants were turned away from nursing schools last year. Why? Because nursing schools did not have nearly as many educators on deck as they did potential students.

Translation: Nurse educators are sittin’ pretty as far as demand goes.



There are resources available to help get you there


Thanks to all that high demand, there’s a good amount of federal and private funding available to assist students seeking a graduate nursing education.Advertisement

Moreover, the Nurse Reinvestment Act offers a student loan repayment program for nurses who have agreed to assume a faculty role for a period of time after graduation.

Comparable programs are likewise available via the National Health Service Corps, the Bureau of Health Professions and more.



You don’t have to sacrifice being on the ground


Becoming a nurse educator does not mean retiring your scrubs, especially if you choose to do so only on a part-time basis. Or throughout the academic year.

Sure, you could return to nursing school (don’t panic), this time around as a faculty member (that’s why), teaching courses, developing lesson plans and overseeing clinical practice. And yes—this shift into a more stable, educational environment may really appeal to you, especially if all that hands-on experience has you feeling a bit worse for the wear.

However, this highly academic route, be it nursing school, a community college or a technical school, is only an option—not the rule. Outside of a strictly educational setting, nurse educators can work, often as clinical supervisors, in hospitals, hospital-based nursing schools, long-term care facilities and community healthcare agencies.



Did we mention the hours are shorter?


Aside from the opportunity to transition from a labor-intensive, highly chaotic work environment to one that’s, well, calmer, nurse educators serving as clinical supervisors or staff development officers often do not have to work the dreaded 12-hour or overnight shifts, as clinical nurses do.

Finally—a flexible schedule!




There’s room to grow


Nurse educators are constantly evolving in a practical sense, as it is their duty to remain current with both methods and technology. It also helps that engaging in scholarly research, attending or speaking at conferences, collaborating with health professionals and having inside access to cutting-edge developments are a major part of the job description.

But that’s not the only avenue up. Nurse educators likewise have ample room to grow on a professional level—whether that’s a shifting into an administrative role to manage courses, author and review texts, or develop the next generation of programs; or serving on boards, enjoying access to professional associations and connecting with leading specialists.

Furthermore, as the demand for nurse educators continues to grow, nursing schools are being moved to offer more competitive salaries. So there’s that.



Nurse educators shape the future


Nurse educators are in a unique position—not only are educators recognized for their competence and skill, and move in a professional circle of colleagues who are similarly experienced, but they also get to spend time with fresh, enthusiastic and still-growing nurse novices.

In other words, nurse educators have a major hand in shaping the future, working with students who are studying for an ASN, a BSN and more. Remember how taxing nursing school was, and how much you appreciated a skilled and passionate teacher, mentor and guide? As a nurse educator, you can be that teacher, mentor and guide for somebody else.

Plus, there seem to be a whole lotta similarities between teachers and caretakers. Think: patience, communication skills and curiosity (to name just a few).



Teaching is a way to expand your world


It’s true—stepping into the role of an educator can be an extremely rewarding experience, but it should be an enriching experience, too.

Your many years on the job may have armed with you skills and a level of competency that stretches well beyond average, but there’s always something new an educator can learn from their students.

Because nurse educators don’t just shape their students—they’re shaped by their student nurses, too.


Nurses, have you been toying with the idea of becoming a nurse educator? Tell us which avenue and area you’re most interested in using the comments section below!


This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. I would encourage those with nurse education degrees needing experience to pursue it in terms of ongoing activities—inservices on new products and protocols, present a Nursing Grand Rounds, teach patient education classes at an assisted living or active senior community, co-teach with an experienced Nurse Educator, poster presentation at a professional conference. All of these activities build experience, confidence, and networking opportunities.

  2. I took my MSN in education and found a position as a nurse educator in the correctional setting. There are many private companies who have positions for nurse educator’s. The typical duties are to provide new employee education, in-services, annual proficiency training, skill fairs, one on one trains. Just to mention a few duties. After four years as a nurse educator, I applied for the position of Director of Staff Development. This position is at the corporate level. It pays fairly well and takes my skills to a higher level. I have presented at conferences, traveled to sites to help mentor and train, and received my CEU provider certification through an on-line service, allowing me to write CEUs for staff at 43 different facilities. I do not regret going down this path.

  3. I have the same problem. Graduated last year with my MSN and no one will hire me. They want experience and terminal degree. Been a nurse for 16 years. I don’t know what to do.

  4. Like Cynthia, I finished my Masters in Nursing Education in August of 2014. My hope was to work part-time as an educator (probably online) while continuing my well paying job. When I began looking for a position, with 38 years as a nurse, I also found out that the schools, even community colleges now want doctoral prepared educators. It really stinks, especially since I spent about 5 years finishing this degree on a part time basis and now really don’t have the oomph to spend another 4 years or more on a PHD.

  5. This is such a shame. About 10 years ago, I was going to get a masters or doctorate degree to be a teacher. I was quite excited about the prospect, I have a lot to offer in the way of experience, but I’m about 6 years from retirement now and it would be a ridiculous thing for me to do financially. The most experienced nurses that should be teaching new nurses can’t afford to get a master’s or doctorate for $30,000-50,000 to go be teachers and make half of what we make in the hospital. Until this problem is solved, I don’t see an overall solution to the shortage of educators or nurses. It’s a ridiculous backwards situation and I can’t believe it hasn’t been addressed yet. I’ve worked hard for what I have financially and to go deep in debt is just not worth it. I’m quite happy with my 32 hours a week for my awesome pay.

  6. I have a MSN in nursing education. Schools in my area are not interested in new educators. Every job wants experienced educators. I guess my 25 years as a bedside nurse accounts for nothing. These schools also want doctoral prepared educators for ADN programs
    REALLY!?! This mentality contributes to the nursing shortage, which will continue until employers realize the true value of nurses and staff appropriately. Lord knows facilities overcharge for everything!!

    • Agree. I have found the nurse educator world to be very uppity. Requiring experience and further advanced degrees. I agree, really? 20 years of bedside experience and no doubt training countless new grads and new employee make you very qualified to instruct basic nursing. The nursing profession continues to shoot itself in the foot with this academia attitude, and it has been going on for years! Why? I have felt when dealing with nursing faculty that they have an unneeded overwhelming sense of needed to show that they are valuable in nursing. Nursing has created a culture, even for managers that if you aren’t at the bedside you are not still a real nurse. Stop it, be grateful and express gratitude to. Everyone who is a nurse and educators give up the martyrdom.


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