A Multidimensional Role
Being a nurse educator is not for sissies. The role requires a great deal of knowledge, many skills and competencies and highly developed professional behaviors. As an educator, you influence the future of the profession and make lasting transformation in your students. The exciting news is that you can select the level of your students, your clinical or content specialty, and the mode of teaching including online, face-to-face, clinical or classroom. You may also educate nurses in a healthcare setting or hospital.
The educator job is rewarding, particularly when you see the light bulbs glowing as students learn and practice and become passionate about the work of nursing. My favorite event is graduation- that for me brings home the purpose of the hard work and commitment I have as an educator.
The Dark Side
There is another perspective I’ll call the DARK SIDE. Not all of your bosses, colleagues and students will be attracted to your unique style and personality. Students are increasingly demanding and have high expectations for their learning. They can be very vocal and even confrontational. For example in a large lecture hall one student stood up in the middle of class and hollered “SHUT THE F#$@K up!” to someone sitting near her. I have also handled faculty issues such as an experienced long-term faculty member who went drinking with her clinical group after leaving the hospital. A male student overturned a table while intoxicated. Sometimes faculty undercut each other -the students pick up on this and it stirs the pot. Incivility between nurses is a major professional concern at this time and educational settings are not exempt.
Last week I shared the NLN’s competencies for nurse educators in a previous post. I urge you to take look at it and evaluate your comfort level with each element. If any of the areas are not part of your experience or expertise, find a way to acquire the learning and skills needed-an example would be to attend my upcoming Successful Nurse Educator series! You will learn and practice classroom, online and clinical teaching. I will cover test item writing and analysis and test construction used on the NCLEX exam. Watch the website for more information. If you have ideas or suggestions about being a successful nurse educator I would love to discuss them. Contact me and set up a time for us to chat!