10 Pros and Cons Of Being A Nurse Educator
Written By: Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN
There are many different types of Advanced Nursing degrees you can choose to pursue. One, in particular, is to take on the role of being a Nurse Educator. I know you are probably saying to yourself, what are the pros and cons of being a nurse educator? So, let’s dive into it. I will let you in on the good, the bad, and the ugly of being a nurse educator. Here are the top 10 pros and cons of being a nurse educator.
TOP CONS OF BEING A NURSE EDUCATOR
(The following are the top 10 cons of being a nurse educator.)
1. Academia does not pay well
Once you become a nurse educator, you may want to pursue a career in academia. That is great! One question, do you know how much you will get paid? A career in academia will give you an earning potential of about $76,736/ year
. I know what you are probably saying to yourself; that does not look too bad. Hold on a second; let me put that in perspective for you. The average yearly salary for a BSN-prepared nurse is around $86,219/year
, and for a nurse practitioner, the average salary per year is anywhere from $103,444 and $121,103
. I’m sure that sheds some new light on the matter.
2. In the hospital, educators could work some crazy hours
Now, if you decide that you want to work in the hospital setting, you could find yourself working some crazy hours as an in-service instructor. You may be working days, nights, or weekends. Remember, as the educator, you need to ensure that all of the staff is educated, which means working the shifts your staff is working.
3. If you want to have tenure one day, you better plan to get your Doctorate
The appointment of tenure
is reserved for those faculty who have a Doctorate degree. Most higher education institutions are looking for Nurse educators with a doctorate degree to fill their positions, making this one of the top cons of being a nurse educator. Although having your Doctorate does not mean that you are a shoo-in for this position, it does mean that you will have job security if you do gain tenure.
4. An MSN degree is not free
In order to become a Nurse Educator, you will need to earn a Master’s degree or higher. This degree can come with a pretty hefty price tag. A Master’s degree in nursing education can cost
anywhere from $25,000 to over $70,000. If you are required to then go on and earn your Ph.D., you will further incur additional costs. The University of Pennsylvania
, for example, will cost $42,652 per year. John Hopkins University
will cost you around $47,538 per year.
5. Admission requirements
To be accepted into an advanced degree program, the minimum GPA
tends to be set at 3.0
. If you do not meet the requirements, all hope is not lost, but you will have to pay the additional cost by beefing up your GPA by taking some prerequisite courses over in the hopes of reaching that 3.0.
6. You will have a lot of prep work
As a nurse educator, you cannot get up there and lecture and just hope to wing it. Your lectures and your exams will require hours of prep work. Some of this work may have to be completed on your own time at home if you do not finish it during your work hours.
7. You may find yourself attached to your email
Another one of the top disadvantages of being a nurse educator is that on top of all the work that you need to complete to prepare your educational materials, you will still be responsible for answering emails that you receive from students and other faculty. So, if you are not a person that can easily shut off, this can be a significant 24/7 con for you.
8. You will have to be tech-savvy
In this day and age, technology is constantly advancing, so if you cannot keep up with the curve, this can really make your job harder. For example, many institutions, whether it be at the academic level or in a hospital, have moved towards the use of high-fidelity simulation
. Yikes, that sounds scary. If you cannot adapt, you will find this as a major downer of the job.
9. You could find yourself working 5 days a week
As a bedside nurse, you find yourself working 3-4, 12-hour shifts a week, or four, 10-hour shifts a week. As a nurse educator, the role typically requires you to work 5 days a week. This may not be appealing to everybody.
10 . You may be taking on more legal responsibility
In your role as a nurse educator, you may find yourself taking on more legal responsibility
for other people. Yes, that is right, for other people. What I mean by this is that if you work in a clinical setting with students, you will be responsible for the supervision of their work and the care they deliver to patients. Wow, that is a bit nerve-wracking.
TOP PROS OF BEING A NURSE EDUCATOR
(The following are the top 10 pros of being a nurse educator.)
1. In the hospital, Nurse Educators make a lot of money
In-service nurse educators or nurse educators who work in the hospital setting tend to make a higher salary than those at the bedside. An increase in your salary from a bedside nurse is one of the top advantages of being a nurse educator. The average salary for an in-service instructor is anywhere from $81,435 and $101,331
. That is a pretty nice figure.
2. In the college setting, you get a good amount of time off
If you decide that academia is the place to be for you, you can end up having a lot of time off. You will not only have weekends and holidays off, but you can also end up having school breaks off and summers.
3. Potential to make extra money in the college setting
Some institutions will offer their instructors the opportunity to teach winter and summer sessions. Teaching these sessions will increase the amount of money you can make. This is great because it is all on your terms if you want to work these sessions.
4. Lower Stress
Yes, you will have deadlines that can cause you stress, but it is a different type of stress than working in a critical care environment and knowing that somebody's life depends on you and your skills. Having less stress and worry in your life is one of the top pros of being a nurse educator. Working as a nurse educator, that gnawing tension will not be present.
5. Less physical
Let’s face it, nursing at the bedside is a very physical job. You are on your feet for long hours. You are moving patients all over, and you have a high potential for a work-related injury. Our bodies will get older, and this work will become increasingly harder. As a nurse educator, you will still have a great job without all these physical demands on your body. This will keep you healthier longer.
6. Be a mentor
As a nurse educator, you will find that you will become a mentor to not only nursing students but also nurses in the workforce. You will become somebody they admire and confide in. You have the ability to nurture them into their role as a nurse. Hey, you may become somebody they strive to be like one day.
7. You could work from home
Another one of the top pros of being a nurse educator is that you could have the ability to work from home. If you work in academia, you could land a job requiring you to teach in an online setting. This could provide you with a whole new work-life balance some people only dream of.
8. Job security
As a nurse educator, you will have job security
. Currently, the workforce that is made up of nurse educators
is becoming older, and you do not have enough qualified people to fill the positions. These reasons among others have left what some people call a huge void in nursing education. On the other hand, I call it an opportunity for those who want to break into the world of nursing education.
9. Normal work schedule
Well, another one of the top advantages of being a nurse educator is that you can finally have a normal work schedule. If you are working nights and not enjoying it or you are somebody who just can no longer do those grueling long shifts, this may be your golden ticket. As a nurse educator, you may be working more days a week, but these days will be shorter. Think about it, if you have a family at home, you could be having dinner with them every night.
10. You can have a pretty wide job market
Many people think that working as a nurse educator means that you can only find jobs in academia or in in-service instruction. Well, that is simply not true. You will actually have a wider job market available to you. Some nurse educators will work with NCLEX test prep companies to design test questions and teach testing strategies to pre-license students. Other types of jobs that may be available to you as a nurse educator is working for companies that want to educate hospital staff on new products.
So, what do you think about the top 10 pros and cons of being a nurse educator? There is a lot to consider when determining if making a career jump is right for you. Asking yourself what are the pros and cons of being a nurse educator is simply an essential step in determining your future. I’m sure that I have given you a ton to consider, but keep in mind that only you will honestly know what the best path is for you. Good Luck!
Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN
Jennifer Schlette is a registered nurse in pediatric critical care in New York City. She is the former Director of Undergraduate Nursing at a college located in New York. After obtaining her BSN from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, she went on to complete her MSN.