When I walked into the Royal Brisbane Hospital in 1982 to begin my nursing training I didn’t dream I would one day be passing on my nursing knowledge to others. Like most people who sign up to become a nurse, I was focused on helping and healing patients rather than helping other aspiring nurses.
After 28 years working hands-on in a clinical setting, I decided to undertake a new challenge and join the world of education. I had worked in theatres with Cherryl Franzmann, who was the first head of school for the diploma of nursing at Careers Australia. Cherryl rang me one day and asked if I was interested in coming on board as an educator.
I did not accept her offer lightly, remembering how much I had learned from some wonderful educators during my initial training. The lesser known occupation of nurse educator seemed like a natural progression for me; an opportunity to make a change in my career but not feel that my years of experience and knowledge were going to waste.
Sharing my knowledge gives me a wonderful sense of satisfaction. So much so that when I was asked to co-author a nursing textbook I jumped at the opportunity. As the profession is always changing and evolving, Foundations of Nursing is now being updated and we will soon release a second edition.
I believe all nurses should consider a future in education, even if it is not a formal arrangement, all nurses have a responsibility to educate new staff and graduates, and also patients and their families. Younger nurses can be very successful educators because of the recency of their training, whilst the more mature nurse can maintain their recency by joining students on placements or working part-time in a clinical setting.
There is a growing need for knowledgeable educators to pass on their expertise to the next generation of nurses. Australia’s aging population means qualified nurses are in high demand and with that, comes the need for passionate educators.
With as little as five years of clinical experience, a certificate in training and assessment and a bachelor or postgraduate nursing qualification, you can join a team of nurse educators and share your passion, your knowledge and experience with students. You can make a difference to the next generation of nurses.
Susie Gray is national program manager, diploma of nursing, at Careers Australia.Do you have an idea for a story?
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