Joining the ranks of Oregon's nurse educators is a great way to enjoy a satisfying career while filling a void in the state's health care workforce. A shortage of teachers is keeping the doors of nursing schools closed to thousands of the state's qualified applicants. About 2600 Oregon students were in the state's baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2013. Almost as many – about 2000 students – were turned away from those programs, in part because of faculty shortages.
When you choose a career as a nurse educator, you play an important role in improving those statistics by helping to make a nursing education available to more students. At the same time, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are guiding a new generation of health care workers. As a nurse educator, you may be asked to teach in classrooms, laboratories, research facilities, or hospital and clinical settings. Your job could give you an opportunity to mentor students by developing lesson plans, lecturing on academic topics, grading coursework, and giving career advice. Take some time to request information from the Oregon nursing schools that offer MSN Education programs below to get started.
Oregon's nurse educators are paid an annual average salary of about $70,710 – slightly higher than the national average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the average age of the state's nursing faculty in 2013 was 54, so many current educators will likely be leaving the workforce in the next several decades, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. This means that new nursing education graduates in Oregon should find competitive salaries and ample job openings in coming years as nursing advocates work toward addressing the faculty shortfall.
Nearly 90 percent of America's nursing educators have a master's or doctorate degree, so an advanced education can help building a good resume for your teaching career. Oregon universities offer graduate-level programs to train nurse educators, preparing you for a career in this vital field of nursing.
The Master of Nursing degree in nursing education often allows you to specialize in different areas including adult-gerontological nursing, community health nursing, and community health nursing. Whether you choose one of the campus based or online MSN programs in Oregon, you can expect the program to incorporate a variety of delivery systems, including online classes, video discussions, in-person meetings, and a teaching practicum. The practicum typically can be scheduled in your hometown.
You can choose either a full-time or part-time schedule in an MSN in Education program, which usually requires about 50 credit hours of coursework. In addition to core classes, you will take courses in your specialty area. The adult nursing specialization focuses on the physical diagnosis and symptom management of diseases in older adult patients. The community health option covers topics in public health, ethics, and professionalism. If your specialty is mental health, you will take classes in the diagnosis of psychiatric illness, therapeutic mental health approaches, and the psycho-pharmacologic treatment of illnesses.
A typical master's in nursing education program in OR emphasizes curriculum design, teaching methods, program evaluation, and student-centered learning. As a nursing education student, you may choose from one of three practicum courses: nursing education in the clinical setting, nursing education in the non-clinical setting, and chronic illness care management.
Most Oregon MSN programs take about two years to complete, depending upon your enrollment status. After completing the program, you should be prepared to take the Nurse Educator Certification Exam.
Paying for your MSN Degree in Oregon
Several government agencies, nursing organizations, and public and private institutions have resources available to nursing graduate students in Oregon. These include:
- The Oregon Nurses Foundation awards annual scholarships to both undergraduate and graduate students.
- The Oregon Office of Student Access and Completion is a state agency that serves as a clearinghouse for more than 400 private grants and scholarships.
- OSHU offers several institutional nursing scholarships. The university also participates in the federal Nurse Faculty Loan Program, which allows students to cancel some of their debt by working as qualified nursing faculty after graduation.
- The University of Portland provides links to available nursing scholarships for its students.
Take some time to review your options for becoming a nursing instructor in Oregon and request information from the schools that interest you.