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Top 10 qualities of a great nurse educator

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Healthcare is one of the fastest growing professions out there, but every day, prospective students are being turned away because of a lesser-known shortage: there aren’t enough Nurse Educators to teach them all!

As a nurse, you are ahead of the curve if you’re interested in becoming a Nurse Educator. After all, you already know most of the material. Becoming a nursing instructor is also a great way to change careers into something with more flexible hours, less physical strain and better pay. Oh, and by the way, if you’re a Nurse Manager, or aspiring to be one, you’ll find these qualities apply to you, too!

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Read on for the 10 qualities that you’ll need if you want to survive and thrive as a Nurse Educator…and a Nurse Manager.

#10: Patience
Patience is one of those obvious traits that is often surprisingly under-cultivated in teachers. Having patience both with students and yourself will create a more disciplined, more rational you. Patience can overcome anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure, which you can apply both to your own teaching style, but also impart to your students.

How to get this coveted quality? Relax! You immediately can make progress by taking a few deep breaths and an extra 30 seconds to answer a student’s question, make a diagnosis, or reply to an irate patient. Remind yourself that all things take time.

#9: Emotional Intellect
Part of a teacher’s job is to help a student get through the course with success. Sometimes this means recognizing that specific students need extra help, and sometimes it means giving free reign to a student who is doing especially well. Research tracking over 160 high-performing individuals in a variety of industries and job levels revealed that emotional intelligence was two times more important in contributing to excellence than intellect and expertise alone. Emotional intelligence can help you discern what your students need, but it can also be a valuable tool to help you decide how to react in stressful teaching situations and when you navigate academic politics, and help you bond with students to give everyone a richer and more meaningful experience.

#8: Dedication
There is no question: Nursing is a tough job. To be a nurse, a person needs endless dedication and a real belief they are changing the world. To see dedication in a teacher inspires the students and shows them that even through many years of nursing, the instructor has not lost his/her spark. In some ways, teaching a future nurse the art of determination is even more important than teaching those basic nursing skills. By being an example of dedication, the instructor is able to teach a valuable lesson that will help students break into their chosen profession and stay there.

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4 Responses to Top 10 qualities of a great nurse educator

  1. Mary

    Ha- I am so ready -am in my early 50’s and have been am RN since I was 23. I now need to leave a legacy and support those who follow in my steps.

  2. andy

    One reason there isn’t enough educator’s is because the pay is bad. Another is because schools are focusing on putting non-nursing students in the master and doc programs, therefore, the once nursing instructors are now the master and doc instructors, therefore, there are not enough nursing educators for the nursing students.

  3. cole

    hello…may i know who’s the author of this article? :) thank you…

  4. aimeemendel

    the single most crucial quality of a nurse educator is to present new material in a non threatening way. I too am in my 60’s and I can’t tell you how many times I have been put off by educators who made me anxious about learning. I am now working on a master’s degree in nursing education; I learned as much from the awful instructors/preceptors as I did from the excellent ones.