Nurses play various roles in the healthcare sector. While these professionals are commonly associated with doctors and are generally found in clinical settings, this is not all they do. Besides providing patient care and ensuring a hospital runs smoothly, nurses are also responsible for teaching the next generation of nursing students entering the healthcare industry. They do this by becoming nurse educators.
As a nurse educator, you will be responsible for inspiring, teaching, mentoring, and educating prospective nurses about the responsibilities they’ll shoulder in their careers ahead. But how do you prepare these aspirant nurses? Read below to find out:
Inform nurses about the various specializations
Nurses new to the sector may want to know what advanced degrees they can pursue. Specialization has many benefits. It opens the doors to better working opportunities, guarantees a higher income, and allows nurses to make an illustrious career for themselves. But since there are numerous specializations within the nursing sector, novice nurses require the assistance of nurse educators in choosing the right one.
For instance, one of the most popular paths nurses choose is becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). But before referring them to this field, provide ample information – starting with FNP nurse meaning, their expected duties, and where these professionals work within the healthcare sector. Likewise, if nurses are interested in pursuing research, tell them about research-intensive specializations.
Develop curriculums and learning material
The healthcare sector is constantly shifting; new concepts, innovations, and technological devices are entering the industry. As a nurse educator, you must ensure that the curriculum you’re teaching is updated, fresh, and follows the state requirements for nursing students so that they’re eligible to appear for their licensing exams.
At the same time, you’re also responsible for developing programs within the curriculum that will allow nurses to gain hands-on experience and add to their understanding by introducing workshops, seminars, and presentations that supplement their learning. Being a nurse educator, you’re also at liberty to guide staff members on optimal teaching methods, share resources on becoming a better nurse and create unbiased and comprehensive study guides that will support prospective nurses in their careers.
Role models for students
It’s natural for nursing students to look up to their educators. So, you shouldn’t be surprised if your students hold you to the same standards. For nursing students, their educators are their mentors, teachers, and guides in this highly competitive field. It means you must practice what you preach and demonstrate the professionalism you expect nursing students to hone. There are many ways you can prove yourself as a role model; start by showing up to classes on time, never turning away a nursing student if they need extra help, and, during clinical work, practically showing nurses what you expect them to do.
Don’t limit your interactions to the classroom alone; monitor how nursing students perform, watch how they tackle complex cases, examine their decision-making skills, and provide constant feedback on areas they did well and where they need improvement.
Most importantly, nursing students may need your compassion and empathy, especially when they feel overwhelmed and stressed by the workload ahead of them. During such days, extend your sympathy and understanding, be a source of motivation for them, and never belittle nursing students for having a moment of vulnerability.
Guide students in hospitals
As nursing students steadily start working in hospitals or clinics under your supervision, make sure you guide and assist them every step of the way. Working in a hospital is a multifaceted job. At one time, a nurse is expected to balance numerous roles, which include tending to the patient while simultaneously filling out their health chart. It can be stressful for nurses new to the job, and there’s a high chance they may make a mistake, so if you notice your student faltering, don’t hesitate to step in and direct them. Start by showing them what to do, teach them tricks to compose themselves, and walk them through the most effective way to make notes.
After every instruction, you must observe how your pupils perform, give them the space to enhance their skills, and, as long as they’re not making severe medical mistakes that can harm the patient, allow them room to learn. Following every experiential learning session, provide your pupils feedback on how they did. Constant feedback is instrumental in helping nurses improve at their job. When evaluating your student, review how effective they were while providing patient-centered care, if they could intervene and administer medication to the patient timely, and how accurately they documented the patient’s history, diagnosis, and summary of care.
You should divide your nurses into teams, so they can experience what it is like working with other healthcare professionals and become fluent in maintaining cordial bonds with their colleagues.
Act as a leader for the faculty
Educating nurses requires a team effort. You alone cannot teach nurses everything they need to know about their job. That’s why the faculty you are working with must be on the same page as you and share the same ambition to teach and foster growth. As a nurse educator, you must be a beacon of inspiration for other faculty members. Therefore, lend your expertise to them and provide your help when needed. Your job is not restricted to teaching alone, but there may be circumstances where a nursing administrator faculty member may need your help designing and dispatching schedules. If new nursing educators are on board, support them in adjusting to their profession.
You can also help carry out research proposals, compile information, discuss key findings, and co-author publications. Working with your colleagues and becoming a solid unit is the only way to connect with your pupils. The healthcare sector constantly expands and needs you to stay on your toes if you teach and educate future nurses. Through teamwork, you can address areas of nursing education that need improvement and highlight aspects that the faculty across the board found successful.
Nurses, as health educators, are an integral component of the healthcare sector. No nurse is born with the skills and knowledge required to do their job, and their coursework alone cannot prepare them for the challenges ahead. As a nurse educator, this is why you are vital to the growing nursing force. While your job is multidimensional, it is centered around vetting nurses for their careers. You can do this by informing them on what specializations they can pursue, inspiring them to better themselves, being a mentor, and above all, a friend.
A great teacher always wants the students to surpass them, so they’re not afraid to collaborate with other faculty members to create curriculums that further polish nursing students.