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Nurse as Educator During a Public Health Crisis

Nursing educators train others to meet the urgent needs of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even before crises emerge, nurse educators are teaching nurses how to address the public health challenges they may encounter in their careers. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted nurse educators’ importance, as the healthcare industry searches for nursing professionals to meet the demand the crisis has created.

“In this time of uncertainty, one thing for certain is the dedication by nurse educators to advancing nursing education and helping shape the success of future nurses in the workforce,” the National League for Nursing (NLN) said in a salute to nurses as part of its Year of the Nurse observance.1


The Role of a Nurse Educator

Nurse educators are RNs with Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees. Some have earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Through their work in both nursing schools and teaching hospitals, nurse educators teach and train across the spectrum of nursing specialties.

The NLN says there are eight core competencies for nurse educators. They are to:2

  1. Facilitate learning
  2. Facilitate learner development and socialization
  3. Use assessment and evaluation strategies
  4. Participate in curriculum design and evaluation of program outcomes
  5. Function as a change agent and nurse leader
  6. Pursue continuous quality improvements in the nurse educator role
  7. Engage in scholarship
  8. Function within the educational environment

Nurse Educators During COVID-19

The global spread of the coronavirus disease has brought change to most nursing careers. All nurses must know how to work in the midst of this global pandemic, and nurse educators can play a key role in conferring knowledge and developing procedures to safeguard the health of staff and patients.

Nurse educators must stay current with the latest COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) calls “our gold standard for evidence-based information in the U.S.”3

“The nursing education community is committed to ensuring the safety of faculty, students, staff, patients, families, and communities,” the AACN says. “Nursing is public health, and we play a leading role in reducing confusion and correcting the epidemic of misinformation that is circulating regarding COVID-19.”3

So that nurse educators can continue their work through the pandemic, many nursing schools are using online simulations and virtual reality when clinical placements aren’t feasible due to the COVID-19 risk.3

Earning your nursing degree online can help increase your competency in teaching others in an online environment.

“Today, more than ever, nurse educators’ commitment to their students and nursing education is evident in their relentless effort to helping students transition from the classroom into online settings in response to COVID-19,” the NLN says.1

Becoming a Nurse Educator

Walden University offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program online with a Nursing Education specialization that can help you become an instructor, leader, and mentor to future healthcare heroes.

With Walden’s online master’s program, you may have the option to earn your degree in a course-based or Tempo Learning® format. With Tempo Learning®, you can enjoy the flexibility of progressing at your own pace, on your schedule. Walden’s online master’s in nursing program offers three learning pathways based on where you are in your career: BSN to MSN, RN to MSN, and RN to BSN Accelerate Into Master’s (AIM).

In the Nursing Education specialization, teaching faculty—all of whom hold doctoral degrees—will help you translate knowledge into hands-on practice. You’ll design, develop, and implement a project in a real healthcare setting. You’ll collaborate with nurses from across the United States in an interactive, online environment. And you’ll become a healthcare change agent in the process, using your newly learned skills and knowledge to enhance your current nursing position.

There are many benefits to a nurse educator career. Here are some highlights, according to the NLN:4

  • Fulfillment: Taking pride in encouraging students in their accomplishments
  • Intellectual stimulation: Keeping up with the latest strategies and methodologies in curricula, teaching, learning, and assessment
  • Research: Investigation and publication of scholarship to advance the science of nursing education 
  • Flexibility: In work schedules and teaching environments, including online instruction made possible through new technologies
  • Impact: Inspiring the next generation of nurses and shaping educational and healthcare policies
  • Competitive pay: A median annual wage of $83,160, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics5 

But the main reason to become a nurse educator, according to the NLN? “Teaching what you love.”4 Combine your passions for nursing and teaching to help build an educated, informed nursing corps that’s ready to meet any challenge.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program with a Nursing Education specialization. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,