How Do I Become A Nursing Professor?

With an increasing demand for qualified nurses needed in the future, the ability of schools to graduate a sufficient number of these trained people becomes more critical. Nurse educators are needed to provide the specific knowledge and skills necessary to prepare students to take on their role in the expanding health services field.

Teaching in the Nursing Field

Nursing is a hands-on career that requires a variety of skills to provide effective care of patients. It is important that those teaching others these skills have the on-the-job experience of working directly with patients, doctors and other health professionals. A nursing professor must have a working knowledge of the working field with at least five years of actual nursing experience under his or her belt. This experience ensures that the nursing professor understands the problems and conditions of actual nursing tasks. The nursing professor will be able to also impart the “tricks of the trade,” as well as the academic knowledge involved in hands-on nursing.

Required Education For Teaching

Nurse educators come from a variety of nursing backgrounds, including LPNs, RNs and BSNs. These nurse educators may teach at a variety of institutions that teach nursing at different levels. However, for university level courses, nursing professors are required to have an MSN or PhD degree. These advanced degrees ensure that the educator has the in-depth knowledge to give to his or her students. In addition, actual clinical experience in the nursing field is required to provide the practical information that student nurses need to be ready to care for patients in a variety of medical settings. This combination of academic data and practical knowledge allows the nursing professor to fully inform students on what they will encounter in their jobs.

Job Outlook for Nursing Professors

The demand for qualified nurse educators is expected to rise over the coming decade. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that one million nurses will be required by the year 2016. With increasing numbers of people entering their senior years and greater numbers coming into the healthcare system due to passage of the Affordable Care Act, the need for more nurses will fuel additional demand for nursing professors.

Preparation for Taking on the Educator’s Role

Nursing professors must design courses, give lectures, administer tests, grade examinations, advise students, handle administrative duties and keep up on the changing field of nursing. One of the advantages of becoming a nursing professor is the regular academic schedule and lighter hours. However, the pay may not be as lucrative as that of the working nurse. If you have a love for the nursing field and wish to share your knowledge and experience with a new generation of nurses, becoming a nursing professor may be right for you.

The nursing field will always have need of well-trained people, but it will also have a critical need for those who have the ability to impart their knowledge and experience to others. If you are interested in becoming a nursing professor, enhance your general knowledge, as well as information in specific fields of nursing, in preparation for taking on the teaching role.

Further Reading: Q & A: Becoming a Nurse Educator