The nationwide nursing shortage isn’t slowing down anytime soon, as the baby boomer population continues to age and average life expectancy increases, building demand for medical care. That’s not all—the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts nearly 1.1 million new registered nurses (RNs) will be needed by 2022 in order to replace 500,000 retirees and fill 100,000 new RN positions each year.
This is good news—and an ideal opportunity to advance your nursing career to become a nurse educator. After all, who is going to train all these new nurses?
Nurse educators play a vital role in ensuring that the next generation of nurses is prepared to meet the growing demand for healthcare services. Nurse educators are also instrumental in shaping the future of the nursing profession, encouraging a focus on holistic patient care and illness prevention, as well as promoting community health. Right now there is a strong need for educators — 83 percent of nursing programs sought to hire new faculty in 2015.
Why are nurse educators so important?
Nurse educators serve an important role within the hospital system. Having professional nurses who are trained to deliver information to other nurses, who understand their challenges and how to convey critical and lifesaving knowledge is essential to a hospital’s success. A nurse educator can help mitigate mistakes, streamline processes, shorten new hire ramp time and identify opportunities to improve processes and mitigate risks to the patient, nurse and hospital.
In 2008, the Institute of Medicine released a report recommending that 80 percent of the registered nurse (RN) workforce have a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) by 2020, causing many hospitals to reevaluate their criteria for hiring new nurses. Additionally, hospitals aspiring to Magnet status are likely to hire more BSN-prepared nurses, due to better expected patient outcomes.
That’s why many hospitals are looking to work with educational institutions such as Herzing University to meet the rising demand of BSN degrees, such as through an online RN-BSN program.
As registered nurses return to school and new students seek entry to BSN programs, colleges and universities are under increased pressure to find qualified faculty to educate and train future nurses. Thus, nurse educators’ skills and experience are continually in demand, and essential for expanding the RN workforce to meet the healthcare needs of current and future generations.
How are nurse educators preparing nurses for the future?
Nurse educators are instrumental in shaping the future of healthcare by providing their students not only with the technical skills that they need to be successful in their field, but also the refined skills and depth of knowledge that will help advance quality of patient care.
• The importance of community nursing:
As the focus of patient care shifts from acute care to prevention models, a nurse’s role expands to health education and advocacy, community care, agency collaboration and political and social reform. Today’s nurses need to understand their evolving role in the community and how to provide holistic care for patients. As a nurse educator, you help nurses understand the principles behind the work that they do and how they can proactively contribute to the health and well-being of the communities they serve.
• Essential leadership skills:
Good leaders aren’t born—they’re made! Nurse educators help prepare today’s nurses for future leadership roles by introducing management and organizational theories that will allow nurses to take initiative in a variety of roles. In addition, nurse educators help students learn how to improve patient-care quality, how to make cost-effective decisions and how to evaluate patient outcomes to improve future practice.
• How to implement evidence-based practice:
Nurse educators can also help nurses learn how to critically evaluate new research. This is an important skill that allows nurses to become more effective decision-makers and problem-solvers and help improve patients’ health and well-being.
Becoming a nurse educator:
Becoming a nurse educator doesn’t mean that you have to forgo your clinical work; many nurse educators continue to care for patients in addition to their teaching duties. In order to become a nurse educator, you must obtain your MSN. Educational opportunities such as Herzing’s MSN-Nurse Educator program empower students to fulfill the ongoing and vital need for quality instructors in the field.
Helping to shape the future generation of nurses is a truly rewarding career, and one that is essential to ensuring quality healthcare for our nation. By choosing to pursue a career in nursing education, today’s nurses can help pave the way for a healthier future.
Jackie Davenport, a senior nursing student from the University of Rhode Island (URI), has been awarded a pediatric oncology fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital through The Susan D. Flynn Oncology Nursing Fellowship Program. Davenport was the only student from Rhode Island to be named a Flynn Fellow due to her strong commitment to caring for pediatric oncology patients.
Maureen Hillier, an assistant clinical professor of nursing at URI, tells Today.URI.edu, “It’s an honor for a URI student to be selected. Within the clinical group, Jackie stood out as one of the leaders and has been an exceptional student.”
The Flynn Fellowship is a highly selective 8-week program preceded by two online courses. Davenport was selected for her excellence as a student, strong communication skills, and commitment to pediatric oncology which is rooted in personal experience.
When she was only 11 years old, Davenport’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Remembering accompanying her mom to her radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Davenport says, “[My mother’s] medical team was phenomenal and would explain everything to me.” Davenport’s mother recovered, but she later lost her grandfather and an aunt to cancer which led her to follow her passion for helping people in that situation and to pursue a career in oncology.
In addition to the practical learning experience Flynn Fellows receive, they must also complete an evidence-based research project to present to oncology nurses and leadership at the close of the program. After experiencing how terrifying it is to not know what’s going to happen to your family, Davenport is considering a research project focused on sharing knowledge with siblings, relatives, and young cancer patients.
Following the news of her Flynn Fellowship, Davenport also received the Francine Brem Excellence Award in Pediatric Research and Practice from Sigma Theta Tau International. To learn more about Davenport and her prestigious recognition as a nursing student pursuing pediatric oncology, visit here.
This week’s ‘Nurse of the Week’ is Jane Palermo. After a man on her flight went into cardiac arrest, Nurse Jane, an RN Case Manager at UMass Memorial Medical Center, performed CPR and applied a defibrillator until the man began to breathe on his own. As a Case Manager at her hospital, she helps organize and coordinate resources and services in response to individual health care needs and this situation was no different. We salute this Shrewsbury resident for applying some of the key competencies of her role as a case manager in a very unfamiliar setting.
Learn more about becoming a Nurse Case Manager
“Her actions 30,000 feet above the ground comes as no surprise to the people working with her on a daily basis.”
– Patrick Muldoon, President of UMass Memorial Medical Center
This week’s ‘Nurse of the Week’ is Emi Spivey. After witnessing two motorcycle accidents in Omaha, Emi rose to the occasion to help motorcyclists who were hit by cars in her community. Emi, a nurse practitioner, stopped her vehicle and reassured the fallen bikers that help was on the way. In one case, she made sure that the injured were not moved prior to the ambulance arriving in an effort to protect them from compounding possible spine injuries. We salute Emi for rising to the occasion twice and being the Good Samaritan of Omaha.
Learn more about becoming a Public and Community Health Nurse
‘“I think it comes natural being in the medical field. You see someone’s hurt or needs help and you go to help.”
– Emi Spivey, Family Nurse Practitioner at Catholic Health Initiatives