Each and every day, nurse educators across the country enter their classrooms and apply their knowledge, skills and attributes to directly influence the future of nursing. Our work is to produce competent practitioners who must meet professional standards, understand nursing’s ethical code of conduct and promise to serve society.

Realizing quality

This is an enormous responsibility. We are helping ensure all students receive a quality education that prepares them to serve in diverse settings: hospitals, home care, ambulatory care, nursing homes, long-term care, school-based clinics and other community-based agencies. It’s in our hands to build a highly skilled nursing workforce so patients have access to care and receive safe, quality nursing care.

This is powerful. We’re nurses teaching others to become nurses. And we’re fully aware that the business case for setting the bar high is: better-educated nurses translate to better health outcomes, at lower costs.

There is no direct way nurse educators like me can measure our direct influence or impact. How can any educator track his or her influence and power? How do we count the number of students we touch and transform? Taking that further, we also don’t know how many of our students go on to touch and transform the lives of their patients: individuals, families, communities and populations.

“It’s also important to note that the reach of today’s nurse educators is far beyond the classroom. It’s situated in urban, rural and suburban communities across America.”

Not a numbers game

However, it’s not all about the numbers, but rather the capacity to influence.

The reality is that nurse educators’ reach and touch is deep, wide and personal. There are currently close to 3.2 million registered nurses in the United States. I promise you, each practicing nurse has felt the presence and influence of their nurse educators. Each student has experienced the power of nursing knowledge, theory and practice. Learning to apply that nursing knowledge is powerful. It transforms education, practice and research and advances policy and advocacy to improve the health and well-being of society.

By supporting innovative teaching, using computers and health information technology, integrating scholarship with practice and nurturing partnerships among professionals and communities, nurse educators foster teaching-learning strategies, promote scholarship and prepare nurses to be global citizens who care deeply and compassionately about the communities they serve.

Community impact

It’s also important to note that the reach of today’s nurse educators is far beyond the classroom. It’s situated in urban, rural and suburban communities across America. Inside these communities, nurses are translating evidence-based practice to advance the nation’s health. They are champions of improving the health care experience, of improving the health of populations and of reducing per capita costs of health care.

Nurse educators provide and promote the educational infrastructure, including the foundational knowledge and skills of becoming a professional nurse. We often describe our professional world as exciting and challenging, because it is.

We know what it means to be a nurse, from serving as frontline clinician to boardroom executive. We also know realities of nursing, its joys and sorrows and the many ways nurses touch the lives of others. We know the power of our role and the influence our students will have on the world—and we take that with us, every moment we teach.