How to Become a Great Nurse Educator

Students can easily identify their “best” and “worst” teachers. They have learned to identify the differences between effective and ineffective teaching. To be effective involves knowledge of educational theory and research, a willingness to learn new roles and teaching methods, and the ability to reflect on one’s own performance.

The teacher who enjoys nursing, shows genuine interest in patients and displays confidence in one’s professional abilities is rated high. Students need to know that they can trust the clinical expertise of the teacher and skills are being demonstrated correctly. A great nurse educator who portrays excellent clinical skills and judgment becomes a positive role model for learners.

Many educators with well-developed interpersonal skills find that good relationships with students evolve almost automatically. The relationship is not unlike the one nurses develop with patients, where professional boundaries must be drawn. With experience, you will learn how to balance the professional role with personal concern for students’ welfare.

Respect, honest communication and openness between a great nurse educator and students create a relaxed atmosphere in which they are able to see you as a role model. Teaching subject matter in a stimulating way and inspiring learner interest hinge on one’s teaching style, personality, personal interest in the subject and use of a variety of teaching strategies.

At the beginning of a teaching/learning relationship, expectations should be clearly expressed. Complaints of unfairness may be minimized if student evaluation is based on known criteria and if those criteria are pertinent to the learning objectives.

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