Lack of Nurse Faculty Creates a “Double Whammy,” NBC Reports

Sep 3, 2013, 4:53 PM

In the latest installment in its “Quest for Care” series that looks at the country’s shortage of health care providers, NBC News reported over the weekend on the nursing workforce.  As the nation struggles to train enough nurses to care for an aging population and the influx of patients who will be newly insured because of health care reform, one thing is holding them back: a shortage of nurse faculty.

“Just as the country needs nurses the most, a shortage of professors is curbing the capacity of nursing schools to crank out graduates with advanced degrees,” the story says, citing data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing that nursing schools are turning away tens of thousands of qualified applicants because they lack the faculty to teach them.

The College of Nursing at the University of South Carolina is turning away a few hundred students each year for that very reason, its dean, Jeanette Andrews, told NBC. Andrews, PhD, RN, is an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Executive Nurse Fellows program.

But nurse faculty are hard to find: they need advanced degrees, and leaving the field for the classroom often requires nurses to take a pay cut. Hospitals and other care settings are competing for the same skilled nurses that colleges need, experts say.

“I have five faculty positions open right now,” Andrews added. “It is really hard to find qualified, doctorally prepared faculty who are willing to relocate or to move out of a higher-paying salary in the field.”

See the story from NBC News.
Learn more about the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.