1. A: The basic educational preparation for a faculty role is an MSN degree. A doctoral degree is required to teach in graduate nursing programs and to obtain tenure. Experience teaching is helpful but not required.
2. C: Being able to make a difference in students’ lives is cited as the most important reward for nurse educators. The need to balance work and personal life is not any different for nursing faculty than for nurses in other roles. Drawbacks to teaching include lower pay than would typically be possible in a clinical setting and the lack of orientation and mentoring.
3. D: Students want faculty members to establish relation- ships of mutual trust and serve as role models. Years of experience, dedication and involvement in research are important, but not as important in the teaching role as the ability to establish trust with students and model excellent nursing practice.
4. B: Although having friends help and participating in fur- ther education can be helpful, NLN and AACN resources are the most relevant for faculty members wishing to learn how to apply technology to education.
Join the ranks Being a nurse educator is unlike any other role. Nursing faculty must prepare students for nursing practice while providing them with knowledge they will need to pass state licensing examinations. Becoming a nursing faculty member requires education, experience and the desire to share knowledge with others. Most nursing programs seek faculty members who are educated at least one level higher than the students they will teach, with most requiring a master’s degree. In a BSN program, both full- and part- time faculty must have at least a master of science degree in nursing; a doctoral degree is generally required for appointment to tenure track at most schools of nursing. Many nurse educators take the certified nurse educator examination to verify their qualifications.
What makes a great teacher? A study that asked students to name the traits of a great nursing educator showed that the ideal instructor is approachable, a good communicator, professional, sup- portive, understanding, motivating, receptive to people and ideas, has a sense of humor, and is dedicated to teaching nursing.9
Overall, students described the best
faculty members as being those who respected them as people and who were professional role models. Effective educators are knowledgeable about genera-
tional and learning style differences and tailor learning activities accordingly. They make links between theory and practice, teach simple concepts before complex ones, give constructive feedback and build trusting relationships with students.10
Challenges and rewards Nursing faculty members experience their own challenges and rewards. Factors that influence faculty to teach in a particular nursing program or to stay in one include the philosophical tenets of the college or university, the organizational culture of the faculty and student diversity. Working in an intellectually stimulating environment, having autonomy, contributing to the profession and having work flexibility are all important benefits for nurse educators.8
To encourage nurses to become nurse edu-
cators, the National League for Nursing has developed a list of the top 10 reasons to become a nurse educator. One researcher found the following important ex-
periential themes among both novice and experienced full-time faculty in a BSN program:11 1. The most rewarding part of the role was the sense among faculty that they were “making a difference in students, the profession and the world.” They described the gratification they felt by being in- strumental in students’ success while also feeling that student accomplishments were their successes.
2. The sense of accountability faculty members have to nursing as “gatekeepers of the profession.” Eval- uating who will be ethical, caring nurses is a critical faculty task.
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Jenny Garcia completed her BSN program four years ago and is considering a career as a nurse educator. She is seeking informa- tion about what the faculty role involves and what resources can help her get started.
1. Which is a basic requirement to teach in an RN program? a. An MSN degree b. A doctoral degree c. A BSN degree d. All of the above
2. In reading about the nursing faculty role, Jenny learns that one of the most important rewards for nurse educators is:
a. The ease of balancing work and personal responsibilities b. The ability to increase their income c. The opportunity to make a difference in students’ lives
d. Having the chance to have a structured orientation and role mentoring
3. Jenny learns that in one study, students said they most value _______ in nursing faculty.
a. Years of experience in nursing b. Dedication to teaching nursing
c. The number of research projects the faculty member has done
d. Being able to establish mutual trust and being a good role model
4. Jenny is aware that being able to use technology to engage students will become increasingly important. Which resourc- es would be most appropriate for Jenny to investigate?
a. Asking her computer-savvy friends to give her some quick lessons
b. Accessing the National League for Nursing and American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s resources designed to support new faculty members
c. Enrolling in university technology media classes d. Enrolling in online media programs
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