Conference studies shortage of nursing teachers

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    A predicted national shortage of nurses in the next decade could be made worse by a shortage of the experienced nurses who train them at community colleges and universities around the country.

    In response, nursing education leaders from 11 states are gathering in Portland this week to find ways to boost the number of faculty in nursing programs.

    The Oregon model they'll study blends the curriculum and faculty of community colleges and universities to give nursing students in two-year associate degree programs a chance to earn bachelor's degrees.

    The more nurses with bachelor's, the greater the number expected to go on to advanced degrees and teaching, educators say.

    "We really are one faculty and a common curriculum," said Christine Tanner, a professor at the Oregon Health and Science University School of Nursing.

    Eight community colleges have joined OHSU to create the Oregon Consortium for Nursing Education, allowing students in rural areas of the state to complete their coursework for a bachelor's while remaining in their community.

    The Oregon program is the centerpiece of the two-day conference sponsored by the Center to Champion Nursing in America, created by AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

    The center is working to prepare nurses for the demands of 21st century medicine, which includes a major shift in demographics to an aging population suffering from more chronic illnesses that will boost demand for health care.

    At the same time, a major nursing shortage is expected with federal estimates projecting the nation will have 29 percent fewer nurses than it needs by 2020.

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  3. 20 Comments...

  4. 13
    Not enough nurses with BSN's want to be nursing instructors? Pay for teachers is far less than if they worked clinically? DUUUHHH!! Pay nursing instructors far more than what they are earning, and more nurses will want to be instructors. JMHO and my NY $0.02.

    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Spokane, Washington
    Otessa, Not_A_Hat_Person, tencat, and 10 others like this.
  5. 7
    This should not have been a surprised. Seriously. Pay educators more, or even equal, to what they can earn outside academia and you might retain well-qualified educators.

    There was actually a 2007 study conducted by NLN and the Carnegie Foundation focusing on compensation for nurse educators. It details how much lower nurse educators make and that 53% were planning to leave their academia positions. The main reason for the departure? You got it, low pay.

    Here's the study.
    Otessa, lindarn, AtomicWoman, and 4 others like this.
  6. 1
    I don't get it. I know of many nsg schools that have increased -even DOUBLED- their admit rates in the past 5 yrs or so.

    In many states the markets are saturated with new graduate nurses and it is difficult for them to find jobs. I know the theory is that the nursing shortage has been somewhat alleviated b/c of the economy - many nurses who worked prn are coming back to work fulltime - and the shortage will come back when the economy improves. Although nobody knows when that will be.

    In the meantime, it is more imperitive to get these new grads into jobs so that they can gain experience (to later combat the shortage) rather than graduating more nurses into already saturated markets.
    lindarn likes this.
  7. 2
    The situation is becoming critical in my state, where salaries of nurse educators are now frozen. The workloads are also increasing. Some seasoned educators at my college of nursing are leaving to go work as staff nurses at neighboring hospitals - the pay is much better and less stress.
    Otessa and AtomicWoman like this.
  8. 6
    I'm sorry to keep sounding like a broken record, but, once again, the issue is not just numbers of instructors -- it's also clinical sites. We already have too many schools of nursing "competing" for too few quality clinical sites in many parts of the US. Even if we were able to suddenly dramatically increase the number of nursing faculty in this country, there would be far too few clinical sites available (esp. in the specialty rotations) to accommodate significantly larger numbers of nursing students, and that situation is getting worse over time instead of better, as more and more hospitals merge into "healthcare systems" and close specialty units to consolidate services and save money. Nursing students get, IMHO, too little meaningful, productive clinical experience in school now -- how much worse do we want that to get??

    Also, why the ongoing parade of conferences, symposia, summits, etc., to discuss the shortage of nursing faculty? Is there anyone in nursing who doesn't understand why most nurses don't want teaching jobs and who can't figure out what would improve that situation????
    mystory, Not_A_Hat_Person, lindarn, and 3 others like this.
  9. 5
    I, for one, am not too worried about the number of nursing instructors when there are huge numbers of nurses, both new and experienced, who cannot find employment.
    mystory, Not_A_Hat_Person, hope3456, and 2 others like this.
  10. 5
    Quote from elkpark
    I'm sorry to keep sounding like a broken record, but, once again, the issue is not just numbers of instructors -- it's also clinical sites. We already have too many schools of nursing "competing" for too few quality clinical sites in many parts of the US.
    You are right on the money, elkpark.

    I know that our program really struggled to find enough clinical sites throughout the program and that while most of our clinical rotations were very good, some of them were a complete joke (and waste of time).

    Another obvious question is, "Shortage of nursing teachers for what?" As already stated by others, there is no shortage of graduates coming into the pipeline... there is a bottleneck and shortage of places for them to be trained and mentored into competent, experienced nurses. A NM just told me yesterday that she received over 400 applications (!!!) for the last openings that were posted.

    We don't need to increase the capacity to create newly licensed RNs, we need to increase the capacity to train those RNs up in the real world of acute care.

    The entire system from student recruitment to standard-of-entry and education, to mentoring and integration into the workforce needs to be assessed and considered AS A WHOLE, not as a bunch of independent parts.

    Honestly, this conference just reeks of more opportunities for the ivory-tower folks to coo and cluck and enjoy a nice trip to Portland.
  11. 5
    I'd take a teaching job in a heartbeat, but I am not about to pay for even more education/classes/certificates/etc.... to become qualified for it. It took me forever to pay off my student loan and I am never going through that nightmare again...especially for less pay.
  12. 3
    I learned that most of my instructors at the ADN school I attended, also worked part time in hospitals/clinics/etc....

    I thought it was to bring 'the real world of nursing' experience to the classroom

    I later learned it was because the pay and benefits for instructors was so low.

    Sad that those in the position to have the greatest influence/impact on others are compensated so poorly.

    I would know, as I am the daughter of a teacher.
    Not_A_Hat_Person, lindarn, and VickyRN like this.

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