Becoming a clinical education nurse requires a significant educational background. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing is mandatory and, following that, aspiring education nurses must also earn a post-baccalaureate degree in clinical educator training. A registered state nursing license is also needed.
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Clinical nurse educators help both patients and co-workers. In a healthcare setting, these educators serve as role models and provide education to fellow staff. They strive to improve patient care and may be expected to make administrative decisions. Due to the increased responsibilities that this job demands, these nurses must complete clinical educator training that may be part of a graduate level nursing degree program.
|Required Education||Master's degree in nursing|
|Other Requirements||Nursing license; post-baccalaureate clinical educator training; Certified Nurse Educator certification may be required by some employers|
|Projected Job Growth* (2014-2024)||16% for all registered nurses|
|Median Salary* (2015)||$67,490 annually for all registered nurses|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Clinical nurse educators serve a variety of functions in a hospital setting. They evaluate, suggest, create and incorporate both non-clinical and clinical programs that improve medical practices for patients' safety and well-being. Nursing educators are also responsible for drafting a curriculum to satisfy education requirements for other medical personnel. Because of their education and expertise, clinical nursing educators function as sources of information for those around them and assess and set goals for educational programs, updating them when called for. They are also highly knowledgeable in diagnosis and treatment.
The duties of a clinical nurse educator vary from job to job. However, certain common duties involved with direct clinical practice include executing nursing care and assessing results, teaching nurses, performing advanced evaluations and providing guidance for testing new procedures. Clinical nurse educators also manage and coordinate staff members and continually investigate methods for improving patient care. Serving as role models, these professionals provide clinical and professional leadership, make ethical decisions in practice and can be responsible for allocating resources.
Generally, in order to become a clinical nursing educator, the individual must have a registered nursing license in the state in which he or she plans to work. The National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN, is the licensing exam. Eligibility requirements vary from state to state. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing is also mandatory. Once aspiring clinical nurse educators have achieved these goals to become an RN, they can go into a post-baccalaureate clinical educator program.
A master's degree in nursing with a concentration in nursing education is offered. This typically provides the nursing student with the research tools and theory necessary to teach. Coursework generally highlights the role of the nurse as educator. The Master of Science in Nursing is also available online.
Voluntary certification for nurse educators is also available, establishing professionalism and expertise in their field. Passing the exam to become a Certified Nurse Educator through the National League for Nursing shows students and other professionals that the individual has achieved a certain standard for excellence.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted a 16% job growth for all registered nurses over the 2014-2024 decade. The BLS also reported that the median annual salary for registered nurses was $67,490 in 2015. The majority of registered nurses earned between $46,360 and $101,630 in the same year, per the BLS.
Performing a variety of functions in a hospital setting, a clinical nursing educator must have a well-rounded set of professional skills, including teaching, management, staff coordination, and program development. Resource allocation and providing leadership are also important responsibilities of a clinical nursing educator.