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What would be the best way for a bedside RN, with 20 years of experience and a new MSN, to transition to an education position?

Monday February 10, 2014
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Dear Donna,

What would be the best way for a bedside RN, with 20 years of experience and a new MSN, to transition to an education position?

Wants To Be an Educator

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Wants To Be an Educator,

Congratulations on your MSN. You don't mention what type of educator you'd like to be: college, staff development, community or other so I'll provide tips for several.

If you want to teach in a college, start making phone calls to the dean or assistant dean in colleges of nursing in your area, both AND and BSN programs. Also do some informational interviewing with nurses teaching in a college setting.

Read the article “The scoop on informational interviewing” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing) to get the most from your endeavors. You can find these nurse educators on college web sites, through mutual connections and on social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. If you are interested in doing staff development in a healthcare facility, do the same with the facilities where you want
to work.

If you work in a healthcare facility, talk to the educators there and express your interest but also ask to work on special projects even on a volunteer basis. Volunteering is a great way to gain relevant experience and get a foot in the door of the department.

Also attend local chapter meetings of the American Nurses Association (www.nursingworld.org) and/or Association for Nursing Professional Development (www.anpd.org). Go as a guest for now. Make business cards to share professional contact information. Shake hands, exchange cards and let people know what type of position you want. Networking is well known to be the most effective way to find a job. You will find nurse educators from various settings at these meetings. This provides an opportunity for you to rub elbows with others successfully working as educators.

Doing some volunteer work outside of your present place of employment also is a good way to gain some teaching experience. For example, most local branches of social service agencies, such as the American Heart Association, American Lung Association and American Red Cross, have paid and volunteer positions for nurses to do education delivery, preparation and coordination.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www. Nurse.com/Events.