9 SMART Goals for Nurse Educators


Smart goals for nurse educators

Teaching is a challenging endeavor and yet so rewarding. Using SMART goals is an ideal way to develop your goals as a nurse educator, whether you are an instructor teaching in a nursing program or a nurse educator at a hospital helping nurses improve their skills and knowledge base. 

This article covers goals for nurse educators using the SMART system. 

Before we get into the examples, here is a quick look at what the acronym stands for. 

SMART GOALS in Nursing Education 

  • Specific: Formulate your goal as precisely as possible. What are your expectations? 
  • Measurable: Add a component that tells you when you achieved your goal. Think about how you measure a successful teaching session. And how do you know if a student or nurse understands the material? 
  • Attainable: Is this goal within your reach? Are your expectations appropriate? 
  • Realistic: What do you have to change or adjust to achieve your goal? What changes do you have to make for your students to improve?  
  • Timely: When do you want this goal achieved? What are manageable deadlines that you and your students can agree upon? 

Examples of Professional Goals for Nurse Educators (SMART Format)

Simple Goal: I want to collaborate with other nurse educators. 

SMART Goal: I will accomplish this goal by joining in person and online nursing educator groups. I will visit the groups at least once a week and collaborate with peers about teaching methods and discuss and share new ways to engage students in learning.


Simple Goal: I want to connect with my students from the first day of class.

SMART Goal: On the first day of class, I will allow each student to introduce themselves and say a few interesting facts about them. 

I will know every student’s name by the end of the first month. 


Simple Goal: I want my students to come to me with questions.

SMART Goal: I will make myself available before and after class to see students and answer their questions. I will see at least two students per day to answer their individual questions.

Related Reading:

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Simple Goal: I want all my students to pass the class. 

SMART Goal: I will review each student’s grades after the second test. I will set up a meeting with every student with an average C. By the time the next test is due. I will have each of those students with a set up with a tutor. 


Simple Goal: I want to introduce different teaching methods. 

SMART Goal: Each month, I will introduce a different form of teaching. I will alternate between regular lecture sessions, the teaching class model, and other models, such as online-based learning. By the first week, I will seek feedback from students and make adjustments. 


Simple Goal:  I will teach or help strengthen my student’s critical thinking skills.

SMART Goal: As a nurse, critical thinking skills are imperative. I will end each lecture with a case study about the taught material. I will keep track of the students participating and have a small quiz each week to measure their critical thinking progress. 


Simple Goal: I want to have current knowledge about the nursing field. 

SMART Goal: I will attend one conference per month to learn about keeping up to date on best practices and care standards. I will integrate at least one newly discovered piece of information into each lecture.

Related Reading: 10 Achievable Examples of Nursing Career Goals

Simple Goal: I want to improve my communication skills. 

SMART Goal: Once per year, I will attend a class about communication skills. I will use at least one skill, such as active listening, each day on my students. 


Simple Goal: I want nursing students to get the most out of clinicals. 

SMART Goal:  I will have a question and answer session at the end of each clinical day. There I will answer any questions that were not answered or clarified. 

Image: Sergii Gnatiuk/123RF

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