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Shortage of nurse educators

December 1, 2011

BY Victoria Davis

There is a shortage of nursing faculty throughout the country. The nation’s nurse shortage is expected to worsen in future years. The demand for newly educated nurses is increasing ,which will require an expansion of nursing faculty and educational resources.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 27 percent increase in nursing jobs by 2012 from 2002. This is the largest increase for any occupation. In addition, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) projects the demand for nurses will increase from about 2-million  full-time equivalents on 2002 to about 2.8 million in 2020.

CSU has recently started a Ph.D. program in Nursing to address the shortage

Cleveland State’s School of Nursing (SON) in collaboration with the College of Education and Human Services, admitted its first PhD cohort in August 2011 to prepare the next generation of doctorally prepared nurse educators.

“Nursing programs will be supplied with qualified faculty to educate the next generation of nurses who are prepared to meet the healthcare needs of society”, said Dr. Maureen M. Mitchell, graduate program director in the school of nursing,  in a written statement.

CSU nursing students are directly impacted by this issue. Some of which have expressed their thoughts and opinions on this matter.

“As a nursing student at CSU, I have experienced this shortage first hand”, said Anh Le. “There has been numerous times during our program where students are left without instructors for clinical”.

Students give insight to what its like to be affected by this issue.

“The lack of nurse educators puts current professors under immense stress“, said CSU nursing student, Darcy Wachter. “The work load increases with each year and the students tend to suffer when they feel the “one on one” contact is lacking. Not that it is, but, for what we pay, it’s stressful to feel like the resources aren’t there”.

SON has applied for and been granted funds to operate the Nursing Faculty Loan Program which provides funds for graduate students pursuing a career path as a nurse educator. These funds are granted in the form of a forgivable loan if the graduate teaches in a school or college of Nursing after graduation.

“ Although the program is trying to graduate more students, they do not have enough instructors or educators to go around and provide education to the high number of students” said Le. “ I feel that the program needs to find ways to attract instructors. Increasing funds is a great way to start”, she said.

The nursing faculty loan program, is a HRSA grant from the federal government. The nurse faculty loan program fund must provide for loans made to students enrolled (full time and part time ) in an eligible advanced degree program in nursing. (masters or doctoral ) at the school.
Students assess some of the factor in the shortage of nurse educators.

“Some educators drop out due to maternity leave or moving to another state”, said Le.

Does the pay make a difference?

“The lack of nurse educators causes teachers to get recycled. Also, professors make less money, than nurses in hospitals,” said nursing major Amanda Tettelbalch.

One factor in the shortage of nurse educators is the percentage of nurse educators eligible to retire. In a study conducted by the National League for Nursing (NLN) and the Carnegie Foundation Preparation for the Professions program, of the nations estimated 32,000 nurse educators, in the 2005-2006 academic year, researchers sought to identify and investigate factors contributing to the shortage of nurse educators.

Contributing factors include age. According to NLN findings, 48 percent of nurse educators are age 55 and over. Half of the nurse faculty said they expected to retire within the next 10 years.http://www.nln.org/governmentaffairs/pdf/nursefacultyshortage.pdf

Nursingworld .org says, “In a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics http://www.bls.gov/emp/#outlook, more than 2.9 million RN’s will be employed in the year 2012. The total job openings , including job growth and the net replacement of nurses will be 1.1 million. This growth coupled with current trends of nurses retiring or leaving the profession  and fewer new nurses could lead to a nursing shortage of more than one million nurses by the end of this decade.”

The use of distance learning to increase access to nursing education programs , particularly for students pursuing an MSN, is available as well. At CSU, students who complete an MSN in nursing education have completed the educational requirements required to apply for the National League for Nursing Certificate for Nurse Educators. For academic nurse educators, this certificate, establishes nursing education as a specialty area of practice and creates a means for faculty to demonstrate their expertise in this role. http://www.nln.org/facultycertification/index.htm

More information regarding the school of nursing can be found at http://www.csuohio.edu/nursing/index.html