Nursing Instructors


Exploring this Job

While in high school, you can explore your interest in the nursing field in a number of ways. Consult your career services office, school nurse, and local community nurses for information. A visit to a hospital or nursing clinic can give you a chance to observe the roles and duties of nurses in the facility and may give you the opportunity to talk one-on-one with staff members. Check to see if you can volunteer to work in a hospital, nursing home, or clinic after school, on weekends, or during summer vacation to further explore your interest.

To get a better sense of the teaching work involved in being a nursing instructor, explore your interest and talents as a teacher. Spend some time with one of your teachers after school, and ask to look at lecture notes and record-keeping procedures. Ask your teacher about the amount of work that goes into preparing a class or directing an extracurricular activity. To get some firsthand teaching experience, volunteer for a peer-tutoring program.

Visit the Web site of the American Nurses Association ( and other nursing-related Web sites to keep up to date in this field.

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.