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What Makes a Good Nurse Educator?

What makes a good nurse educator?

It takes a talented person with a specific skill set to fill the role of nurse educator. This position is perfect for people who are passionate about nursing and enjoy sharing what they know. These educators have unique qualities that prepare them to thrive in their positions.

Role of Nurse Educators

Nurse educators play a very important role in the nursing profession. Nurse educators may work in clinical settings as well as in academia. These nurses teach, guide and instruct the next generation of nurses. They spend time in classrooms and clinical settings, instructing nursing students. Thus, the position is a good match for people who like to work in a variety of settings with different types of people. The routine can be hectic, so it is ideal for high-energy people who enjoy a fast pace and some level of spontaneity.

Qualities of Excellent Nurse Educators

Excellent nurse educators typically have a combination of diverse characteristics that make them ideally suited for the position. These qualities include the following:

Work Experience and Clinical Knowledge

To teach others, you need to know your subject inside and out. This enables you to clearly convey information and answer questions. Good nurse educators have extensive experience in the profession.

Education and the Drive for Continuous Learning

Proper education goes hand-in-hand with work experience, and there are varied educational requirements for each educator position. Some educator positions require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), while others require an Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). An online MSN in Nursing Education program can also be a great option for working nurses.

Leadership Skills

Successful nurse educators are successful in large part due to their leadership skills and ability to engage their students. This involves having vision, inspiring others to align with and work toward that vision and providing them with the tools and guidance needed to realize that vision.

A study focused on the nursing student’s perspective on what makes a good nurse educator found that study participants valued these characteristics most:

Ability to Teach

An excellent educator needs to be able to explain subjects effectively to a variety of students with diverse learning styles. This skill set includes assessing students’ written work, lecturing to classrooms full of students and coordinating clinical conferences.

Communication and People Skills

Because educators interact so much with others, great people skills are essential, including communication and collaboration as well as the ability to encourage others.

Internal Motivation and Passion

When you are excited about something, your enthusiasm can be contagious. Educators need to truly love nursing and feel strongly about its value — not just today but into the future. As with demonstrating your own drive to learn and grow, sharing your passion for nursing can inspire engagement and motivation in students.


Nurses who demonstrate professionalism, competence and a commitment to their colleagues garner the respect of others. This includes co-workers, students and even the institutions nurse educators work for. The respect of students can increase the effectiveness of instruction. And the respect of personnel and the institution can increase collaboration and investment in the nursing education program, consequently improving student learning.

There is a shortage of nurse educators, so if you are leaning toward this career path, you can expect many employment opportunities. Completing an online MSN program can give you the information and expertise you need to communicate your experience to the next generation.

Learn more about the UT Arlington online MSN in Nursing Education program.

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