Going to Graduate School Part 3: What Does it Take to be a Nurse Educator?

This article continues the exploration of thinking ahead in your upcoming career – whether you aspire to become an educator, administrator or clinical nurse practitioner, now is a good time to gather information.

Jill Kilanowski, PhD, RN, APRN, CPNP, FAAN, associate dean for Graduate Nursing Programs at MCCN, shared with us in the October and November issues of Carmel Rapper about the importance of students understanding their passion in nursing to discern which track of a master’s degree is the best fit.

This month, Dr. Kilanowski asks students to think about a career as a nurse educator.

“For me, one of the most rewarding aspects of being a nurse educator is – as one might expect – being able to share with students about my favorite topics…pediatric nursing, research, the health status of vulnerable populations,” she says. “Also, as an educator, it’s a pleasure to promote nursing as a profession and a discipline,” she says.

MCCN’s Master of Science in Nursing Education – which is completely online – prepares professional registered nurses to teach and develop curricula that are evidence-based for delivery to students in a college setting. In addition, graduates will be prepared to develop appropriate programs for institutional (e.g. hospital or other) settings to respond to the educational and healthcare needs of diverse populations.

Dr. Kilanowski explained that someone who follows this track will have an interest in working in a college setting to ensure that the next generation of professional nurses are prepared for an ever-changing healthcare environment. “For those who prefer the institutional staff development role over that of the academic classroom, they will make sure that nursing – and other – associates have access to quality continuing education to remain current in their respective fields,” she adds.

“I think the National League for Nursing’s Top 10 Reasons to Become a Nurse Educator, are not only fun, but accurate,” she adds. They are:

10. You work in an intellectually stimulating environment.

9. You have autonomy and flexibility.

8. Your research creates knowledge and advances the field; your publications bring you prestige.

7. Your work has value to society.

6. You can teach anywhere in the world.

5. You can teach from the beach or the slopes, using technology.

4. You encourage and educate eager minds, and rejoice when your students surpass you.

3. You shape the future of healthcare.

2. You change lives.

And the No. 1 reason to become a nurse educator…

1. You teach what you love!

Source: Career as a Nurse Educator, National League of Nursing www.nln.org

“The Nursing Education program is for professional nurses who have at least two years’ experience in a clinical setting and are ready to take their career to a higher level by collaborating with other disciplines to achieve quality outcomes in nursing education, in both institutions of higher learning and healthcare institutions, but bring the skill sets of instructional techniques, curriculum development and learning evaluation to future or current nurses,” she says.

February issue: What does a Doctor of Nursing Practice do?

Graduate Program at MCCN:

Master of Science: MCCN’s fully accredited master’s degree program offers core classes online, with clinical classes taught face-to-face. The Master of Science (MS) degree is available in four tracks:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nursing Education - all online

Post-Master’s Certificate: In addition, professionals who already hold a master’s degree in Nursing may wish to take their careers to a higher level with a post-master’s graduate certificate in a focused field of study. MCCN offers certification through the same four track options.

Doctor of Nursing Practice: For those professionals who want to advance as innovative leaders in implementing evidence-based, cost-effective and collaborative healthcare solutions, while positively impacting outcomes for patient populations at the complex systems level, MCCN’s doctorate program is for them.

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