What does a nurse educator do?

Having been in nursing education since 1997, I find that many folks do not understand what it is a nurse educator does. For instance, it is not unusual for a student or lay-person to make ask me about “when you used to be a nurse”, as if I am no longer a nurse if I am not at the bedside. I did leave the bedside about 6 years ago when I gave birth to my first daughter, but I dream of returning to the hospice bedside and providing reiki or yoga instruction for the terminally ill and their families.

For now I am very busy being an educator and creating a holistic-caring curriculum for RN- BSN students.

Here is what my next week looks like schedule-wise, to let people begin to have an idea of the duties of a tenure track faculty member. I teach in the hybrid format, so some of my class content is online and some is face-face.

Sunday: answering emails, responding to online discussions, begin paper and discussion grading and feedback for assignments due on Sunday.

Monday: email, respond to discussions and grade discussions; continue to grade papers, providing formative and summative feedback, critiquing both content and structure of papers. Telephone office hours for students, providing advising about spring classes and current class progress. Work on creating spring syllabi and developing online classrooms for spring.

Tuesday: meeting day. Meet with university marketing to discuss plans for marketing and promoting the BSN program. Another meeting with admissions to discuss admissions process and brain storm how to close the gap between application into the program and enrollment in courses. Meeting with simulation lab coordinator to review and practice Wed. sim lab for health assessment skills check off. Continue with paper grading, stimulating online discussion and guiding students’ critical thinking, most likely in the early morning or evening.

Wednesday: Health assessment 6 hour lab. Arrive early to prepare for lab and greet early students. Stay late to clean up. Office hours. In the evening, continue with guiding online discussions, paper grading, and prep for spring semester.

Thursday: Another meeting day. Mentor meeting new BSN faculty, office hours, nursing program meeting. In the evening, continue with guiding online discussions, paper grading, and prep for spring semester.

Friday: Academic Policy Committee Meeting (university service). Mentor meeting with new BSN faculty. In the evening, continue with guiding online discussions, paper grading, and prep for spring semester.

Saturday: this particular up coming Saturday, I have a yoga teacher training session all day. Usually, I try to take one day off/ week, and this likely will be the day to step away from academia and breathe.

In addition to all of the busy-ness and doing of being a nurse educator, I care for my 3 and 6 year old daughters. We have a birthday party today. I focus on my own self-care, which includes regular yoga classes 2-3 times/ week, yoga before bed, aerobic exercise 5-6 times/ week (jogging, biking, walking), and meditation. We have a dog that we are fostering as well, and she requires a bit of attention, as does my husband at times. I have a journal article due by the first of the year, and that needs to be started sooner then later.

Fortunately, I love what I do and ultimately, this work impacts the future of nursing and the students’ ability to create a caring-healing sustainable practice.

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