While so much coverage of the “nursing shortage” has discussed the need for registered nurses, an even bigger shortage is looming. Our nursing schools are in desperate need of faculty. These staffing problems are limiting student capacity at a time when the need for nurses is sky high.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), U.S. nursing schools had to turn away nearly 80,000 qualified applicants from nursing programs due to insufficient faculty in 2013. The group also found that exactly 1,358 faculty vacancies remained at nearly 700 schools.
Now is a great opportunity for current nurses to transition their careers and become nurse educators. It is proving to be among the best jobs for MSN nurses. Here are a few of the career options available to nurse educators.
The first stop of any nursing education is the classroom, and the nurse educators who teach courses like anatomy and physiology are the front lines of preparing future nurses. It is the responsibility of classroom instructors to give a baseline understanding of how the human body works, and support for the treatments they may give. Some may believe that the topics covered are not as important as gaining clinical experience, but to provide quality care, it is critical to understand the fundamental principles of nursing. In addition, the high-stress nature of these courses helps weed out the students that may not be cut out for a career in nursing.
Before beginning work on real patients, nursing students often engage in laboratory or clinical work to practice good procedures. The nurse educators at the head of these courses must help students interface with patients. This includes administering treatments, working with colleagues and even bedside manner. These early skills are crucial for nurses to gain before entering their careers. As a clinical instructor, you are a defining factor in how a future nurse will treat their patients.
The practicum serves as real-world experience for a future nurse. This involves supervised treatment of patients at a nearby health care facility or hospital. These educators are responsible for helping reinforce positive experiences with patients and supporting a student while also ensuring the patient receives the correct care. These are the first interactions a future nurse will have with patients, and the practicum supervisor must assist students every step of the way. This is a great option for educators interested in maintaining contact with patients and a hands-on experience.
Once nurses begin their career, they still have plenty to learn. Hospital trainers serve as a guide as a nurse starts his or her first position. They help show new nurses the ins and outs of their particular facility as well as evaluate their nursing skills. They work similarly to a practicum supervisor and help nurses ease into their new role. As a trainer you will likely work for a health care facility of some sort, whether it is a hospital or clinic. This is an easy transition for current nurses already employed at a health care facility.
This growing field of nursing education involves working directly with patients to help them understand the treatments they or their loved ones are undergoing. This is especially common for families facing complicated surgeries or treatments. It is imperative that patients completely understand how a procedure may affect them in every way and the risks associated with treatment. This consultant will also answer any questions that a patient will have about treatments. For nurses who want to work more intimately with patients and their families, this is a great opportunity.
As the shortage in nursing faculty continues to impact the larger need for nurses, earning an MSN specializing in nursing education is a chance to capitalize on a large need in the nursing industry.
At Notre Dame College, you can begin your career in nursing education with an online MSN specializing in Nursing Education. With our online format, students are able to pursue a brighter future while still balancing their current time commitments.
For more information about how Notre Dame College can help you start a career in nursing education, visit our Master of Science in Nursing program page today.