There are around 2.7 million registered nurses in the country and nursing students accounting to more than half of all the health profession students. These figures make nursing the largest and fastest growing profession in the United States. Every year, thousands of applicants flock to nursing schools to enrol in their programs. But a large percentage of them are turned down simply because there not enough credentialed instructors to provide them their needed education to get into the health care business.
This predicament, if not stemmed, will cause a crisis in the health care industry. This is why health organizations from all over the country have taken steps to encourage nurses to become educators. If the nurse educators’ shortage is resolved, there will be enough registered nurses to fill the 800,000 vacancies in 2020 expected by the US Bureau of Health Professions.
Registered nurses as teachers educate their patients and their families about their disease or injury and the ways they could deal with it; this may include advice on physical exercises or diet. They also teach newly employed RNs and members of the medical staff of the right procedures and attitude in hospitals or other clinical settings.
There are many factors that contribute to the shortage of nurse educators; one of them is the desire of most RNs to advance in their careers. Most of them believe that this could be achieved by moving into hospital administration and nursing management positions. Coupled with the high pay and benefits of these jobs are stress and big responsibilities. Some nurses, on the other hand, opt for a relatively easier pace than work at clinical settings. Especially those nearing retirement, they choose to go into teaching. Not only do they get to use the knowledge and skills they already have but they also get to educate the nurses that will someday take their place and provide patient care to millions of people around the country.
For registered nurses who would like to work in baccalaureate and associate nursing programs in colleges and universities, they must have a Master’s degree. But for those interested to become clinical instructors, the level of educational attainment must at least be a degree in Bachelor of Science in Nursing. This degree also qualifies RNs to teach licensed practical nursing courses.
Nurse educators have a promising career to look forward to; especially now with the nursing shortage. Nursing schools are on a hunt for more RNs to join their faculty as the number of applicants into their programs increase. The availability of jobs encourages many nurses to turn to education as a viable career path.