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Nursing Instructors

The Job

Nursing instructors teach in colleges and universities or nursing schools. They teach in classrooms and in clinical settings. Their duties depend on the facility, the nursing program, and the instructor's education level. Some nursing instructors specialize in specific subjects such as chemistry or anatomy, or in a type of nursing activity such as pediatric nursing.

Many health care facilities partner with area nursing programs, so the students can actually practice what they are learning under the supervision of nursing staff and instructors. For example, the students may spend time in a hospital environment learning pediatrics and surgical care and additional time in a nursing home setting learning the health care needs of the elderly and handicapped. Classroom instruction and clinical training depend on the nursing program and the degree conferred.

Nursing instructors must spend a lot of preparation time outside the classroom and clinical setting. For example, the instructor must work with head nurses or charge nurses to determine the students' patient assignments. They must review patients' charts and be well informed about their current conditions prior to the student nurses appearing for their clinical instruction. Plus, there are the usual teaching responsibilities such as course planning, paper grading, and test preparation. Involvement often extends beyond the classroom.

Teaching load and research requirements vary by institution and program. Full professors usually spend more of their time conducting research and publishing than assistant professors, instructors, and lecturers. Often, nursing instructors actively work in the nursing field along with teaching, in order to maintain current hands-on experience and to advance their careers.