At this writing, there is a real shortage of qualified candidates to fill the many clinical nurse educator jobs currently available around the country. According to a recent survey, this remains one of the most under-filled nursing positions, with only 1% as clinical nurse specialists and 8% as educators, including faculty and staffing development. For a nurse who may be considering moving up the career ladder to becoming a clinical nurse educator, this is indeed good news. Here are some points to keep in mind that can help make the job search faster, easier and less stressful.
Plan ahead early in your nursing career by planning a career path
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recommends that nurses become focused on their future career goal as early in their nursing careers as possible. Over time, as you gain practical floor and hands-on nursing experience, take advantage of any additional training offered in your specialty.
Nurses interested in moving up to clinical nurse educator jobs should let their supervisors or floor managers know about their professional goals and find a mentor or counselor in their field, if possible. A mentor may be able to help guide the nurse through the variety of master’s degree programs available and advise them in selecting the programs most relevant to the field of clinical nurse educator.
The Nurse Reinvestment Act can help you with student repayment programs if you agree to teach in a nursing school after you graduate. Your admissions counselor can give you more information applicable to your educational institution.
Enroll in courses either in person or online at an approved college or university that offers your specialty
Once you have decided where you want to enroll, take the required courses that will enable you to become a qualified teacher. There are at present over 168 programs nationwide which help RNs transition from a BSN to an MSN to help you qualify for clinical nurse educator jobs. While programs and course requirements may vary from one school to another, your course load will probably include topics such as:
•Measuring student assessment,
•Utilizing technologies for learning
Many schools offer online or distance courses which may include:
•Student learning assessment,
•Teaching methods for laboratory skills,
•Leadership training, and management
•Mentoring and guidance
You will also need to complete a practicum in both your professional and academic environments. These should include:
•Using instructional design to develop teaching modules,
•Developing content modules using instructional technologies
•Creating experiences that simulate real-world nursing situations
•Creating and using distance learning modules
•Enhancing professional development through organizations, coursework and seminars
Increase your chances of employment for clinical nurse educator jobs by becoming certified
Take the Certified Nurse Educator credential examination offered by the National League for Nursing (NLN) and the Nursing Professional Development Board Certification obtained through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
If you haven’t already done so, learn to write an effective resume which reflects your achievements and outlines your career goals. It may be helpful to post your resume on one of the job boards of sites such as the career center pages for the websites of American Nursing Association or National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS), but do check for confidentiality first, as you will probably not want to tip off your current manager (unless she already knows) that you’re looking for greener employment pastures!
Once you have completed the work for the educational and certification requirements and landed that long-awaited interview, you’re on your way – congratulations on your new employment as a clinical nurse educator!