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Why Nurses Should Advance Their Education Beyond the Baccalaureate Level

Nurses will be in high demand for the foreseeable future, with many opportunities for them beyond the bedside, including as both educators and administrators. There are many benefits for those who complete an RN to MSN online program and wish to become nurse educators or administrators. Beyond enjoying the pay and plentiful job opportunities, nurses in both specializations claim that job satisfaction ranks highly among the reasons why they enjoy their careers.

When a report from the Institute of Medicine (now known as the National Academy of Medicine or NAM) came out 10 years ago, it changed the course of nursing education. Called “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” the report called for 80 percent of the nurse workforce to have at least a bachelor’s degree by 2020, and to double the number of nurses with doctorates by the same year. The authors of the report concluded that a better-educated nurse workforce benefits not only nurses but also their employers, medical institutions and, most importantly, patients, citing statistics on better patient outcomes.

Nurses responded to the report, and thousands have enrolled in BSN, MSN and DNP programs, including online options such as RN to MSN programs. These enrollments resulted in an increased need for nurse educators. Being a nurse educator requires an MSN; enrolling in an RN to MSN program is the first step in acquiring the necessary education to become a nurse educator or nurse administrator.

The Roles of Nurse Educators

Nurses who complete an RN to MSN program and take jobs as educators work with different levels of student nurses in various academic settings. They may teach at technical schools that offer nursing assistant or LPN/LVN certification; three-year, hospital-based schools with RN programs; community colleges where students are pursuing LPN/LVN or Associate Degree RN programs; universities where students are seeking BSN or advanced degrees; and in employee education and health departments within corporations.

The Roles of Nurse Administrators

Nurses who complete an RN to MSN program and take jobs as administrators have a variety of duties and responsibilities, according to the clinical areas in which they work. In general, they must provide leadership and employ both their scientific and business skills to assure their teams are providing the best possible patient care.

Tasks of nurse administrators can include:

  • Providing leadership
  • Overseeing and motivating nursing staff and assistant administrators
  • Reviewing staff performance
  • Maintaining records of resource usage and facility regulations and services
  • Creating and managing budgets and ensuring efficiency and cost-savings

Why Become a Nurse Educator or Administrator?

Nurse educators assert that they find it rewarding to help shape the nurses of the future. Nurse educators commonly enjoy working in a stimulating environment with other academics as well as being close to the primary sources of the latest research.

Nurse administrators also are qualified to consult, and as the health care management field grows, nurse administrators are enjoying increasing career options. The median salary for nurse administrators is $72,867, but can be well over $100,000 a year and nurse educators earn a median of $75,223, with top earners at $95,000.

Nurse educators and administrators play important roles in both the nursing and patient communities. These nurses provide necessary leadership within both settings, serving as role models to other nurses. They assure that nursing practices are evidence-based, and they work to keep nursing standards high. Enrolling in an online RN to MSN program is the first step in such a career.

Learn more about the UT Arlington Online RN to MSN program.

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