Nurses are heroes, but behind every great nurse is a great educator. 

Nurses and many healthcare professionals have truly stepped up to the plate during the pandemic. However, one of the many unsung heroes has been nurse educators.


Founded in 1965 by Henry and Suzanne Herzing, the family legacy continues with their daughter, Renée Herzing, as Herzing University's president. A private, nonprofit institution, Herzing University is once again recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the “Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs” for the tenth consecutive year.

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Although their role may be less visible than other nursing roles, nurse educators are responsible for the preparation of a diverse, culturally competent nursing workforce.

The National League for Nursing has announced 2022 as the Year of the Nurse Educator in recognition of their essential role and celebration of its historic and continuing inspiration to nurses everywhere. As the nation begins to celebrate all nurses during National Nurses Week from May 6- May 12, a special emphasis is placed on the role of nurse educators.

Although nurse educators have already impacted the current generation of nurses, there is a demand for these professionals to educate future nursing students. 

What do Nurse Educators Do?

Nurse educators are responsible for creating course curricula and teaching nursing students, and their day-to-day responsibilities vary based on their work setting. Nurse educators can work in a variety of academic or professional health-related settings, such as in higher education, community-based healthcare organizations, public health nursing and acute healthcare systems.

At colleges and universities, the nurse educator could be responsible for holding didactic classes, overseeing students in clinical, or doing skills checkoffs in the lab.

When working in a clinical setting, there is an additional focus on supporting the staff. The nurse educator will review staff nurses’ records and plan training activities based on unit and/or need. Nurse educators may also host skills fairs in the hospital a couple of times a year so that nurses can demonstrate competence in required skills, such as BLS, ACLS and CPR classes.

Nurse Educator Demand 

Just like the demand for nurses, there is also an increased demand for nurse educators. There is a projected 22% increase in employment for nurse educators from 2020 to 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Nurse educators directly impact the nursing demand. Despite the importance of this position, there is a shortage of nurse educators that has resulted in thousands of potential students being turned away from nursing schools. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), 80,521 qualified applications were not accepted at schools of nursing due primarily to a shortage of clinical sites, faculty and resource constraints in 2020.

We need passionate nursing educators to carry the torch for the next generation of nurses. At the local level, we need to generate enthusiasm around teaching and encourage practicing nurses to consider what roles they can play. Current nurses could be the answer to this demand.

Making A Difference Close to Home 

At Herzing University Kenosha, the campus and their amazing faculty are training nurses.

“While educating nurses can be hard work, it is definitely satisfying to help students realize their dream of becoming a nurse and also knowing that what we do will impact patient care for years to come,” said Dr. David Zapencki, Nursing Program Chair at Herzing University Kenosha. Dr. Zapencki has an extensive background in Critical Care Nursing and was an expert in Field Medicine while serving as a member of the United States Military.

At Herzing, nurse educators like Dr. Zapencki keep their students busy by teaching didactic classes both in-person and online, oversee clinicals, complete skill checkoffs in the lab, or guide students through high-fidelity simulations.

Dr. Zapencki is constantly inspired by the all the individuals who selflessly dedicate their lives and energies to helping others by practicing the art of nursing.

If you’re interested in becoming a nurse or are ready to continue your nursing education, check out Herzing’s Kenosha campus. Discover a supportive educational environment that’s close to Chicago, Racine, and Milwaukee at Herzing University in Kenosha. Located just off I-94, our state-of-the-industry facility offers the small classes and experienced instructors you need to thrive.

You Could Be the Difference

If you are passionate about nursing and thinking about a new career, you may consider becoming a nurse educator at Herzing University. Herzing offers a variety of degree pathways for individuals who are ready to start a nursing career and for nurses who want to expand their education. 

The Herzing University online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Education offers a pathway for existing registered nurses to continue their education. The nurse educator concentration includes courses on teaching strategies, curriculum development and nursing education roles. Upon the completion of the program, graduates will be prepared to apply for the certified nurse educator examination. The program can be completed in as few as 16 months when attending full-time. 

Herzing works with students every step of their educational journey. We understand securing clinical placement is one of the biggest concerns students faces, so we support students through our step-by-step Clinical Guidance Process to ensure students get the clinical practice experiences they need.

Nursing education is the ideal path for someone who likes variation in their daily work. If you are someone who wants to make a difference in healthcare but are not sure if you want to work directly in patient care, nursing education could be right for you. 
Herzing University is a nonprofit university that provides career-focused, convenient, and caring educational pathways for students across 10 campuses as well as online programs. We have a variety of academic programs to meet your needs wherever you are in life. Herzing is focused on providing you with a caring learning environment that fosters long-term career success.