Nursing Academia – We Need New Blood!

by VickyRN Asst. Admin

12,435 Visits | 59 Comments

When our aging nurse faculty workforce soon begins to retire en masse, who will be there to replace them to teach the next generation of nurses? Where are the younger educators who should be waiting in the wings? What ideas do you have to avert a disastrous nurse faculty shortage and to attract younger nurses into the wonderful career of nursing education?

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    Nursing Academia – We Need New Blood!

    The average age of academic nurse educators in the u.s. is 55.5 years. Meanwhile, the average age at which nurse faculty members retire is 62.5 years. it is not surprising, therefore, that at least 40% of currently-practicing nursing instructors are projected to retire within the next 10 years. When these aging faculty soon retire en masse, who will be there to replace them to teach the next generation of nurses? where are the younger educators who should be waiting in the wings and coming up through the ranks of academia?

    It certainly doesn’t help matters that the average annual salary of nurse educators is $65,000, while the academic preparation necessary for this teaching specialty is rigorous, time-consuming, and expensive to obtain. The typical pay of nurse faculty lags significantly behind the pay of clinical, administrative, and advance practice nurses. For example, staff registered nurses within hospital settings average $40,000 to $79,000, clinical nurse educators average $76,000, nurse practitioners average $89,000, certified nurse midwives average $91,000, certified registered nurse anesthetists average $156,000, and nurse executives average $161,000 yearly. It is therefore understandably difficult to recruit promising young nurses into the nursing education field.

    What are some strategies that nurse faculty can use to attract younger nurses into nursing education?
    • Nurse educators should model enthusiasm and excellence in teaching, as well as caring professional involvement with students. In doing so, they present nursing education as an attractive career option to nursing students.
    • Nurse faculty should seek out nursing students who show a propensity for teaching and encourage them to pursue a career in nursing education. They should offer to mentor aspiring young nurse educators as they choose to pursue this career goal.
    • Nursing instructors should ask staff nurses who like to teach students on the clinical unit if they would like to lead a clinical group as an adjunct clinical nursing instructor. Many hospitals have clinical education partnerships with affiliated nursing schools. a noteworthy example of a clinical education partnership is here.

    We are witnessing a perfect storm brewing in nursing academia with impending mass faculty vacancies. This is due to a combination of elements: a rapidly aging nurse educator workforce who will soon be retiring, relatively poor pay, and a dearth of young nursing instructors in the “pipes” to replace them. What ideas do you have to avert a disastrous nurse faculty shortage and to attract younger nurses into the wonderful career of nursing education?

    References

    Last edit by Joe V on Dec 29, '12
    agebre, fiveofpeep, rn/writer, and 11 others like this.
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  4. About VickyRN

    VickyRN is a certified nurse educator (NLN) and certified gerontology nurse (ANCC). Her research interests include: the special health and social needs of the vulnerable older adult population; registered nurse staffing and resident outcomes in intermediate care nursing facilities; and, innovations in avoiding institutionalization of frail elderly clients by providing long-term care services and supports in the community. She is faculty in a large baccalaureate nursing program in North Carolina.

    VickyRN joined Mar '01 - from 'Under the shadow of His wings...'. VickyRN has '16' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds'. Posts: 12,031 Likes: 6,326; Learn more about VickyRN by visiting their allnursesPage


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    59 Comments so far...

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    Any idea why educator salaries remain so dismally low?
    noc4senuf, lindarn, Xsited2baNurse, and 2 others like this.
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    I would love to teach at the college level. I looked into earning a master's for this and was very disappointed to find that the local state college has an "impacted" program. That leaves me with private universities wanting between 40-60 thousand dollars. The people at the state college tell me that it will be impacted indefinitely. So, here are two reasons there will be no re placements...1. Avoidance of loan pay-off and 2. No room at the inn.
    joyouter and lindarn like this.
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    Just because a person's good at something doesn't automatically make them a good teacher -- I've worked with people that were blindingly brilliant, but couldn't "dumb it down" enough to tell you how to make toast. Most of us with some initials after our names remember certain professors with fondness -- because the truly good ones were so rare.

    I personally think that the ability to teach is like the ability to lead -- you're either a leader or a teacher, or you're not. You can learn to be a boss or an instructor, but leaders and teachers are born, not made. And churning out a bunch of instructors who are going for the job because they're looking at summers, weekends and holidays off isn't going to help anybody (the equivalent of the people I went to nursing school with who wanted to be travel nurses and CRNAs, but couldn't pass A&P II).

    I also think we need to seriously look at what the BSN level classwork is. We're putting in a lot of "management" stuff, at least in the programs I've seen. Let people do what they are best at. If you want to be a manager, go get at MBA or a MPH. I think we need more psych, more patho, more "stuff" that will keep the patient alive at 3 am when you can't get a MD on the phone and your patient's crashing. I'd like to see classes that revolved around labs -- seeing what set of labs means what, not just "oh, Mr. J's K is 2.5. he'll be getting some riders," but what to look for in a patient with cancer that could mean it's mets'd to the bone, or that maybe you need to back off the Diprivan a little on a person who's lipid panel looks like A, B, or C. I can't even get someone to give me a straight and consistent answer on when a person needs to be on reverse isolation -- some talk numbers, some talk ratios of numbers.

    Sorry, it's been a rough week.
    dh07RN, SRDAVIS, Purple_Scrubs, and 4 others like this.
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    I'm sorry, but I just don't see the problem. 10 years ago this same piece could have been written, they were saying then that there was going to be a lack of educators as well as a lack of bedside nurses. Remember all the talk about the nursing shortage which should have started 2 years ago. Well, there is no nursing shortage. We have new grads that can't find jobs, we also have experienced nurses that can't find jobs.

    The economy tanked and nurses that would have retired are no staying on. I'm sure it is the same for educators, maybe before they were retiring at around 62 years old, but how many can afford to do that now. It is at least not back breaking work like working at the bedside can be. Which is where your educators are going to come from. From nurses that just can't physically lift and turn any more pt's but want to stay in nursing.
    mystory, dh07RN, MtBpsy9609, and 8 others like this.
  9. 1
    Quote from meg2465
    Any idea why educator salaries remain so dismally low?
    They're part of a community college or university system, where the overall salaries are already low. And add to this the state budget woes. In North Carolina, our salaries have been frozen for the past 4 years. The colleges or universities feel they can't make an exception and pay nurse faculty more than the business or history teacher who has equal credentials (PhD or Masters), even though the market forces may dictate more pay. Therefore, you end up with a situation in which nurse faculty members can literally make 20 grand or more per year working in the clinical area. Many do leave for that reason.
    lindarn likes this.
  10. 1
    Quote from ukstudent
    I'm sorry, but I just don't see the problem. 10 years ago this same piece could have been written, they were saying then that there was going to be a lack of educators as well as a lack of bedside nurses. Remember all the talk about the nursing shortage which should have started 2 years ago. Well, there is no nursing shortage. We have new grads that can't find jobs, we also have experienced nurses that can't find jobs.

    The economy tanked and nurses that would have retired are no staying on. I'm sure it is the same for educators, maybe before they were retiring at around 62 years old, but how many can afford to do that now. It is at least not back breaking work like working at the bedside can be. Which is where your educators are going to come from. From nurses that just can't physically lift and turn any more pt's but want to stay in nursing.
    Maybe not a problem in the UK (?), but definitely a looming problem here. We see it all the time in my nursing program. We advertise for an open faculty position, but cannot fill it due to lack of applicants, unqualified applicants, or people withdrawing their application once they realize how low the salary for the position actually is. And a HUGE proportion of our faculty are in their 50s and 60s. Some are in their 70s. Most of the ones I know can afford to retire. Several have openly stated they plan to retire within the next few years. Some of these talented, experienced, and knowledgeable faculty who are about to retire are irreplaceable, in my opnion .
    Last edit by VickyRN on Nov 28, '11
    lindarn likes this.
  11. 3
    Quote from nerdtonurse?
    Just because a person's good at something doesn't automatically make them a good teacher -- I've worked with people that were blindingly brilliant, but couldn't "dumb it down" enough to tell you how to make toast. Most of us with some initials after our names remember certain professors with fondness -- because the truly good ones were so rare.

    I personally think that the ability to teach is like the ability to lead -- you're either a leader or a teacher, or you're not. You can learn to be a boss or an instructor, but leaders and teachers are born, not made. And churning out a bunch of instructors who are going for the job because they're looking at summers, weekends and holidays off isn't going to help anybody (the equivalent of the people I went to nursing school with who wanted to be travel nurses and CRNAs, but couldn't pass A&P II).

    Sorry, it's been a rough week.
    Interesting take, but research shows the opposite. Leaders are not born, but leadership is an acquired skill that can be taught and obtained through much practice. The same is true with teaching. I agree that these skills come easier to some than others, often due to personality type. I was amazed how much my teaching practice improved with courses on adult learning and other subjects, such as the large classroom. It helps immensely when faculty get together and share their personal teaching advice ("iron sharpens iron"). I know I have grown as an educator from hearing others' wisdom and expertise. Another important point - personal mentorship is invaluable to the young, inexperienced educator. Many young nursing instructors are simply thrown to the wolves, without adequate orientation, training, encouragement, or personal mentorship. Then both the students and the educator have a less than satisfactory learning experience.

    So sorry you've had a rough week.
    mystory, lindarn, and AJPV like this.
  12. 0
    Quote from 3PRN
    I would love to teach at the college level. I looked into earning a master's for this and was very disappointed to find that the local state college has an "impacted" program. That leaves me with private universities wanting between 40-60 thousand dollars. The people at the state college tell me that it will be impacted indefinitely. So, here are two reasons there will be no re placements...1. Avoidance of loan pay-off and 2. No room at the inn.
    So sorry you are encountering these barriers. We are fortunate in my state (North Carolina) that several of our state universities offer Masters in Nursing Education concentrations at a reasonable price and totally online (except for the practicum). The programs are also relatively easy to get into (not the waiting lists you see with CRNA or NP programs). Have you investigated the University of Phoenix, Walden, or other national online programs that offer accredited degrees in Nursing Education? I know the cost for these programs can be prohibitive, but there are some scholarship or loan-forgiveness programs still available for aspiring nurse educators, especially if you agree to teach nursing in an underserved area. A simple Google search reveals the following (I'm not endorsing these in any way, only meant to be examples): here and here. Have you checked with guidance counselors about any scholarship or loan-forgiveness programs that may be available to you in your state? Best wishes to you.
  13. 2
    Quote from ukstudent
    I'm sorry, but I just don't see the problem. 10 years ago this same piece could have been written, they were saying then that there was going to be a lack of educators as well as a lack of bedside nurses. Remember all the talk about the nursing shortage which should have started 2 years ago. Well, there is no nursing shortage. We have new grads that can't find jobs, we also have experienced nurses that can't find jobs.

    The economy tanked and nurses that would have retired are no staying on. I'm sure it is the same for educators, maybe before they were retiring at around 62 years old, but how many can afford to do that now. It is at least not back breaking work like working at the bedside can be. Which is where your educators are going to come from. From nurses that just can't physically lift and turn any more pt's but want to stay in nursing.
    I absolutely agree with you. Plus I can tell by the information you wrote in the above post that you are in the USA.
    MtBpsy9609 and tyvin like this.


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