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OPINION: Great Nurse Educators Produce Brilliant Nurses

November 1, 2021 | By inscol@admin

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Skilled nursing professionals are necessary for a functional healthcare system, and nurse educators are the driving force behind the training of nursing professionals. Combining their academic and clinical expertise, nurse educators dispense knowledge to students in different ways.   Nurse educators are registered nurses who have successfully completed their nursing education. They determine the educational curriculum; prepare students to transition out of academia, empower nurses to thrive in this profession, and also improve the system that upholds nurse education.  Nurse educators teach at Universities, hospital-based nursing programs, technical schools, etc. They also work in the capacity of consultants, administrators, and independent contractors in a wide range of education-focused occupations. Basically, nurse educators have a fundamental role to play in producing brilliant nurses.  In this blog, we will see how great nurse educators produce brilliant nurses. 

Who is a Nurse Educator? 

A nurse educator is a professional who is responsible for designing, evaluating, implementing, and then revising academic education programs for nurses. These include formal practical nursing programs that led to a degree or informal programs that led to certificates.  Nurse educators are important for ensuring a quality educational experience that prepares the nursing workforce for a diverse and ever-changing healthcare environment. They have an essential role in the professional medical world as they are tasked with strengthening the nursing workforce, providing the leadership needed for evidence-based practices, and serving as role models.  Working in the classroom and practice settings, the role of nurse educators is to prepare and mentor the future generation of nurses. Since the rate at which experienced nurses are retiring, new nursing professionals are in increasing demand. There is a demand for thousands of new nurses in Canada and in this scenario, the nurse educators prepare the new nurses, oversee their education and training for positions at the bedside or in a technical role. 

Designing, Implementing, Revising Education for Nurses: 

The nurse educators are registered nurses whose education includes advanced clinical training in a healthcare specialty. They can serve in numerous roles ranging from part-time clinical faculty to the deal of a college. They are also in charge of designing, implementing, and evaluating education standards for nurses.  The responsibilities of nurse educators include designing the curriculum, developing courses, teaching and guiding learners, evaluating learning, documenting education outcomes, etc. In addition, nurse educators also help students complete their registered nursing courses to identify individual styles, strengths, and weaknesses.  In addition to teaching, nurse educators are responsible for advising students, promoting scholarly work, engaging in professional associations, presenting at nursing conferences, contributing to the academic community, engaging in peer review, maintaining clinical competence, and so on.   It is the quality of successful nurse educators to have excellent communication and time management skills. Nurse educators must also be able to efficiently divide their time and attention between the students they teach and faculty members they interact with on a regular basis. 

Nurse Educator In An Academic Setting: 

Nurse educators have an important role to play in promoting quality nursing education. They instruct students using a curriculum they have created and find new ways to engage with students using teaching strategies based on educational theory and evidence-based practices.  All effective nurse educators are passionate lifelong learners who work to keep up with changing techniques in medicine, technology, and teaching. Not just as teachers, nurse educators also work as clinical coaches, lab instructors, course developers, researchers, advisors, and more. However, mainly the duties of a nurse educator can be separated into three main segments. 
  1. Collaborators: Nurse educators are responsible for bringing others together and ensuring constructive partnerships. Other than the nursing education staff, they coordinate with students and clinical nurses for research-based projects. 
Moreover, nurse educators also prepare students to work as a team where collaborative relationships are directly linked to improved patient outcomes.  2. Facilitator of Student Learning: Being the facilitator and director of student learning, nurse educators encourage the development of staff, practical nursing programs, and curriculum.  They encourage the student nurses to excel academically and professionally. They guide, support, and lead the nursing students so that they can grow professionally.  3. Role Model: Nurse educators serve as role models for both the students and faculty members. They offer ongoing guidance and serve as examples to students as they go through various stages of hands-on learning.  Nurse educators play a particularly important role in clinical development where students look up to them for feedback on patient interaction, health assessment, and decision making.  In addition, nurse educators also play an important role for faculty members. The experienced nurse educators are responsible for spearheading a learning culture so that all educators can inspire each other to improve the nursing education delivery. 

Nurse Educator In a Hospital Setting: 

The role of a nurse educator is somewhat different in a hospital setting. As opposed to instructing the students who are beginning their nurse education, the nurse educators support the working nurses with experiential learning methods. 
  1. Fostering Growth: Nurse educators work with their team members to access and encourage the student’s capabilities. This information gathering combined with direct observations enables them to offer feedback on ways in which students can improve in a healthcare setting. 
Student evaluation methods can include effectiveness in enabling person-centric care, independently implementing and following up on nursing interventions, and accurately documenting patient history, actions, diagnosis, and summary of care, etc.  Other than student development, nurse educators also support the professional growth of healthcare teams. This may include team-building exercises and educational seminars for nursing staff and colleagues.  2. Researchers: When it comes to research, nurse educators play the role of advisors, collaborators, and patient advocates.  The researchers are an excellent resource for nurses who are working on clinical research. They answer questions and ensure that patients receive the security that they need.  3. Leaders: Moreover, the nurse educators also lead by example as they guide and support nurses during transitional periods. These nurses serve with ethical conviction and professionalism while encouraging their team to do the same.  With their actions, the nurse educators are responsible for creating a team that communicates regularly and also works well together. This helps in improving patient care considerably. 
Leading the Future of Healthcare: 
Nurse educators are in many ways responsible for advancing the future of healthcare. It is a well-known fact the nursing shortage shows no signs of slowing down in the near future. In addition, as the baby boomer population continues to age and average life expectancy increases, there will be a rising demand for medical care.  Nurse educators ensure that the next generation of nurses is prepared to meet the ever-growing demand for healthcare services. They are instrumental in shaping the future of nursing, encouraging focus on holistic care and illness prevention along with promoting community health by training the students as they complete their practical nursing courses.  With the focus on patient care shifting from acute care to prevention models, the role of a nurse expands to health education and advocacy, agency collaboration, community care, political and social reform. The nurses of today must understand their evolving role in the community and how to provide holistic care to patients.  A nurse educator trains and prepares nurses to understand the principles of work that they do and how they can proactively contribute to the health and well-being of the communities they serve.  Conclusion:  Nurse educators do a remarkable job of shaping the future generation of nurses which is why it is a truly rewarding career. Hence, they are important for ensuring a quality healthcare system. By pursuing a career in nursing education, the nurses of today help immensely in paving the way for a healthier future. 

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