I've always wanted to teach. Transitioning from a clinical role to a teaching role was a wonderful experience. In doing so, I found it required a strong sense of responsibility to ensure that students are well equipped for present-day clinical practice. Teaching nurses is rewarding, as I am able to share my clinical expertise. Without furthering my education, I would not be able to achieve my desire to educate nurses.
-Patricia Kleba, DNP, MSN, RN
Nurse educators have the ability to touch the lives of patients through future nurses they educate as those nurses develop their own knowledge, skills, and identity.
-Nicole Denil, RN
My first introduction to a nursing educator role was the opportunity to work with nursing students that would come to our floor. I have had all levels of students from different nursing schools and I found that I enjoyed sharing my knowledge and teaching them skills. Later, I became a frequent preceptor to newly hired nurses. I am paired with nurses who range from new graduates to those with experience. I chose nursing education so that I could acquire the skills and knowledge that are needed to be a more effective preceptor and teacher. What inspires me is seeing the nurses I have worked with grow and develop into strong, confident nurses!
-Michelle Scheri, RN, BSN
Nurse educators teach at many different levels. Some nurse educators specialize in educating patients with particular health issues, or they may provide educational opportunities to other licensed nurses and hospital and clinical staff members. Many nurse educators are faculty members at technical colleges, 4-year colleges and universities. They work to prepare students to become licensed practical nurses (LPN) and registered nurses (RN). Nurse educators with advanced degrees also teach in graduate programs that confer master’s and doctoral degrees to advanced practice nurses, nurse researchers, nurse administrators, and the next generation of nurse educators.
Many nurse educators work as a nurse prior to dedicating their careers to educating future nurses. Nurse educators are in high demand as there are too few nurses seeking the educational credentials (Master’s and Doctoral degrees) necessary to teach in professional nursing programs.
There is a critical need for nurse educators. The Wisconsin Nursing Workforce Report: Status and Recommendations noted a shortage of qualified nursing faculty and concern about anticipated faculty retirements. The mean age of nursing faculty in Wisconsin is 58 years (WCN, 2013).
This section focuses on nurse educators in Preparation for the role as a nurse educator varies depending on the type of nursing program one wishes to teach in, associate degree, baccalaureate and/or graduate programs.
The Wisconsin Administrative Code has regulations on the minimal educational requirements of nurse faculty:
• A nurse faculty member who teaches nursing courses in a professional nursing program shall hold a current license to practice as a registered nurse in Wisconsin, have at least 2 years of full-time or equivalent direct care experience as a practicing nurse, be employed in nursing within the last 5 years and hold a master’s degree with a major in nursing.
• A nurse faculty member who teaches nursing courses in a practical nursing program shall hold a current license to practice as a registered nurse in Wisconsin, have at least 2 years of full-time or equivalent direct care experience as a practicing nurse, be employed in nursing within the last five years and hold a baccalaureate degree with a major in nursing.
Nursing faculty teaching in graduate nursing programs typically have doctoral degrees (i.e., DNP, PhD) in nursing or a related field.
Nurses interested in teaching in nursing seek preparation through courses, certificate programs, and graduate programs. Graduate programs may have required or elective courses in education.
Learn more about the nurse educator shortage.
© 2020 Nurses for Wisconsin - University of Wisconsin System.
Site author: Jan Adams, Learning Resource Coordinator, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, UW-Eau Claire
Nurses for Wisconsin
Public Policy Forum Research Brief: July 2014
Wisconsin Education Surveys (2010 - current)
Wisconsin Center for Nursing
Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health
Institute of Medicine: 2011