6 Practical Tips for New Nurse Educators


Published: 13 August 2018

The transition from clinical work into a nurse educator role is often accompanied by a number of challenges including: organisational culture, reluctant managers, financial constraints, resistance from staff and a general lack of teaching experience.

However, you can overcome these challenges:

Here are 7 practical tips that new nurse educators can put into action today!


Use All the Resources Available

In today’s day and age, information is all around us. Given this, it is vital that nurse educators make the most of the resources that are available.

New nurse educators should familiarise themselves with, internal, external, online and offline resources. Look for resources in:

  • Textbooks;
  • Journal articles;
  • YouTube;
  • Online forums;
  • Google search and more…

These can be used to both to build personal knowledge and also as an added resource to support teaching sessions and in-service.

More senior colleagues are also an invaluable source of knowledge and advice for novice educators. Seeking out and sharing knowledge amongst the broader education department is an extremely effective professional development tool, as well as an efficient way of getting the most out of available resources.

New Nurse Educators


Build Your Network

Expanding your professional network, not only within your workplace but also externally, can greatly enrich your teaching expertise and experience.

Reaching out to fellow educators through social media and educational websites will expose novice educators to a broader way of thinking about learning.

It’s also a great way to come up with creative teaching ideas that you can experiment with in the classroom.


Set Teaching and Learning Goals

When moving into a new role, developing effective teaching and learning goals is important because:

  • It can provide you with both a long-term and short-term development framework;
  • Assists with organisation and prioritisation of time and resources;
  • You’ll be able to see your progress and growth.

There are a number of goal setting frameworks, the most well-known being the SMART framework. Sitting down with a senior colleague or manager to develop a personal set of teaching and learning goals will ensure the transition to nurse educator is smooth.


Experiment with New Teaching Strategies

In order to maximise learner engagement and enjoyment, educators should try and experiment often with new teaching strategies. This will not only increase the motivation of learners but will also enable you as an educator to become more flexible and dynamic.

A simple way to start doing this, is to think of how lessons can be more interactive. This can be both interaction between teacher and learner, and also between learners themselves. Interactivity, including role play and dynamic questioning, enables learners to better retain information as it requires them to immediately implement theories that they have just learnt.


Understand Your Learners

According to Godshall et al. (2016) versatile education styles are necessary for providing quality education to diverse populations of learners.

It’s important that new nurse educators place emphasis on understanding the needs of each individual learner, including their learning style and what they best respond to in a classroom environment.

While this may seem like a tall order, particularly in a new role, it will pay dividends in the level of engagement of your learners and the overall effectiveness of your education program.


Stay Organised

Being organised will enable new nurse educators to put greater focus on the learners and their understanding of the content.

In preparation for teaching sessions nurse educators must:

  • Develop a clear lesson plan, including learning objectives and outcomes;
  • Source the required educational material in advance;
  • Have a backup plan in case of technological difficulties.


Making the transition from clinical work to the educator space can be difficult. However, the reward – being able to inspire and motivate learners, have a broader impact on care and build a culture of lifelong learning in your organisation – is great.



  • Godshall, M., Wilson, L., CPAN, C., and CHSA, C.A., 2016. Certified nurse educator (CNE) review manual. Springer Publishing Company.


educator profile image
Denise Turner View profile
Denise Turner began her nursing career in South Africa in the year 2000 as a passionate orthopaedic Registered Nurse. In 2002, her qualifications brought her to Perth, Western Australia, where she now resides. Denise developed into a clinical nurse educator, starting from a staff development nurse in the West Australian health sector, clinical nurse facilitator at higher education teaching facilities in WA, as well as the corporate sector. Denise is driven by her passion for expanding her own knowledge whilst contributing to enhancing the knowledge of others. She is always ready for the next challenge her life brings on a personal, as well as a professional, level. She is now pursuing a path of combining her passion for teaching with research studies related to the nurse educator in the hospital, training institution, and the corporate world.