Blurred motion of doctor and nurse pulling stretcher in hospital hallway.

The overhead page calls out "Code Blue 3-3-4-7" three consecutive times. The CODE team drops everything and rushes to the bedside of the arresting patient. Using their skills and knowledge, the group focuses on resuscitation efforts in hopes of preventing death.

Pause for a moment and contemplate: What if nobody responded?

The Vital Signs of Nursing

According to fact sheets provided by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), "US nursing schools turned away 75,029 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2018 due to an insufficient number of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, clinical preceptors, and budget constraints."

The future indicates a need for "professional resuscitation" with these speculations:

  • An increased number of elderly people will need care as "baby boomers" age
  • One-third of older nurses and current nurse educators are estimated to retire by 2025
  • 35%-54% of nurses experience burn-out with many leaving the bedside
  • A reduced amount of nursing school acceptances, due to a lack of educators for training

For additional information, refer to the Supply and Demand Projections for the Nursing Workforce: 2014-2030.

Are We Losing Sustaining Efforts?

It's an awful feeling to lose a patient. Even if the team does everything they can, certain factors are simply not within their control. The team works tirelessly to save a life.

Just as trained teams leverage their skills to revive coding patients, the nursing profession must ensure it provides dedicated, qualified individuals to rescue itself from an upcoming catastrophe. Will many respond to the need?

RNs are needed to fill critical advanced degree roles in education. Nurse leaders in the industry recognize this need for action.

RELATED: The States with the Largest Nursing Shortages

The Solution to the Crisis

Many BSNs are looking to advance their degrees, as nurses at the bedside are:

Becoming a nurse educator is one exciting opportunity at the MSN level, and with nurse educators in high demand at the faculty level, an RN pursuing an MSN in education provides the necessary "resuscitative" measures needed to soften the predicted blow to our healthcare system.

It's In Our DNA

One of the most satisfying parts of becoming a nurse is the ability to share specialized knowledge that enhances a patient's health. RNs spend significant time clarifying measures for their patients, and understand how valuable this is for the patient's overall well-being.

Educating a classroom of eager nursing students ultimately leads to long-term impacts as those students graduate and progress in their careers. The multiplicity effect is great, and nurse educators play significant roles in the process.

RELATED: Is Nursing Education Contributing to the Nursing Shortage?

Pathways To Becoming a Nurse Educator

When an RN decides to pursue the path to becoming a nurse educator, there are various MSN programs to consider.

With technology being what it is today, many of the MSN programs are held online. Online classes give nurses the convenience of completing their studies in a timeframe that fits their work and family schedules.

Life as a Nurse Educator at a Faculty Level

There are many benefits to obtaining an MSN in education. In addition to being personally gratifying, this role is also rewarding in more profound ways.

The core competency provided for the RN wanting an advanced degree as an MSN educator, allows that professional opportunity to work in several different faculty level environments including:

  • Community Colleges
  • Universities
  • Hospitals
  • Online platforms

Measurable benefits of becoming a nurse educator include:

  • Shorter workdays
  • Weekends and holidays off
  • No night shifts
  • Longer vacations
  • Flexibility in scheduling, with both part-time and full-time choices
  • Options of online or classroom teaching
  • Less stress, with the absence of life or death decisions

Some of the less measurable yet enriching aspects of being a nurse educator include:

  • The gratification that comes knowing you are a part of the solution
  • Being with students who are eager to learn your art
  • Inspiring others to reach excellence; watching their confidence grow
  • Increased autonomy
  • Greater leadership opportunities
  • Staying "in the know" on the latest innovations across the profession
  • Contributing to research
  • Monitoring quality within the field
  • Understanding the ripple effect and the lives you are impacting down the line

Additionally, this role doesn't require leaving the clinical setting. Many nurse educators maintain a hospital position to keep up with their skills while educating at the faculty level.

Enthusiastic individuals who desire to become RNs are "knocking at the door" of our educational institutions to narrow the supply and demand gap. Due to the shortage of nurse educators at the faculty level, there is a virtual roadblock to their entrance.

Susan Donckels, RN, BSN
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