Nurse lecturers work in academic settings to educate students on a variety of health-related topics and medical issues. They typically help plan and develop curriculum and may tutor students individually. Varied pathways exist to a career as a nurse lecturer. Demand for nurse lecturers remains strong as the demand for qualified nurses continues, equating to an equally high need for faculty members to train new nursing students. A career as a nurse lecturer requires careful planning to ensure the educational and work-related qualifications desired by employers.
- Skill level:
Get your bachelor's degree in nursing. Take the licensing examination as required by law to practice as a registered nurse. This requirement represents the bare minimum educational status expected by institutions hiring for the position of nurse lecturer.
Continue your education beyond a bachelor's degree. While some institutions hire RNs with only a bachelor's degree, most prefer those who have attained higher education. Job offers generally go to those applicants who possess the highest educational qualifications for the job. Some institutions allow this work to be completed after hiring, but many more prefer you to complete such education beforehand.
Consider obtaining a teaching certificate. Not all institutions consider this mandatory for nurse lecturers, but half of them do consider it at least desirable, according to a study published in 2002 involving 25 universities throughout the U.K. It is reasonable to assume that, all other things being equal, such institutions would choose a job applicant with this certification over one without it.
Gain firsthand knowledge through clinical experience. Hands-on experience is a must for the nurse lecturer, demonstrating an understanding of current medical practice in the field. Realistically, clinical experience through a job should be obtained while continuing to complete higher education goals. Several years of clinical practice combined with the proper education allows nurses to specialise in a particular area, increasing their desirability in regard to faculty positions.
Perform research and get published in relevant professional journals. This proves your credibility and ability to perform such work, which is often required by nurse lecturers employed at universities. Clinical experience plays a role in research and publication because knowledge of current clinical practice naturally affects research. Those pursuing a master's or Ph.D. generally gain experience in this area, which is another reason for the importance of continuing your education beyond a bachelor's degree.
Tips and warnings
- Choose to complete a master's degree or teaching certificate rather than attempting to do both. Neither is absolutely required from a nurse lecturer, but both appeal to potential employers.
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