Education is an integral part of nursing. We educate clients, families, the public, our friends and each other on a daily basis. Interested in becoming a professional nurse educator? Use these steps to point you in the right direction.
5 steps you need to take to get your nurse educator degree
1. Find a mentor.
Have you had an instructor or professor who knew just what to say to help students understand concepts? Do you admire a blogger who communicates ideas with clarity and humor? Find one or more of these people, and watch how they communicate and figure out why people like to listen to them or read their articles. Imitation is the best form of flattery.
2. Become a mentor.
If you have a passion for teaching nurses, get started right away! Even if you only have one year of experience, you know more than the new grads, so start sharing your wealth of knowledge. The great thing about educating someone else is that you usually learn things, too.
3. Practice effective communication.
Education is all about communicating ideas, concepts and information to someone through speaking, writing or demonstrating. Grab opportunities to do oral presentations for staff or write orientation worksheets for new hires. Improve spelling and grammar in your daily writing. (Yep, that includes those Facebook posts!) You can be an excellent, knowledgeable nurse, but your reliability may be questioned if standard grammar and spelling rules are overlooked.
4. Plan on specializing in an area of expertise, not the theory of education.
Theory is great…unless the person employing the “theory” knows little about the subject at hand. If you study cardiology or pediatrics (or any other specialty), you then can use basic theories of education to tailor your expertise to your audience. Look for degree programs that offer specialty options alongside theory classes, especially if you plan to continue your career in an active clinical practice setting.
5. Increase cultural competence.
In our lovely USA melting pot, we encounter clients and coworkers from extremely diverse ethnic and moral backgrounds. Cultural competence paves the way, so to speak, for learning. A nurse educator must have an innate diplomacy and sensitivity to a wide range of cultures in order for learning to occur. One of the best ways to increase cultural competence is to travel to various countries and spend time with local people. If travel is not in your budget, consider making friends with someone from another culture who seems willing to discuss medical care and learning needs.
Are you enrolled in a nurse educator program? Share your tips with us in the comments!