Turning out expert clinical nurse educators in less than three months???

  1. The catch: It's a Post masters program---drop in the Ocean.

    Emory addressing nursing faculty shortage

    Health Care: Hospitals
    From the April 25, 2003 print edition
    Atlanta Business Chronicle
    Anya Martin Contributing Writer

    Georgia is one of 30 states with too few nurses. The state is one of many with a nursing shortfall, according to a 2002 report by the Health Resources and Services Administration within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    Things may be turning around. After five years of declining enrollment in bachelor's degree nursing programs, there was an 8 percent enrollment increase in the fall of 2002, according to an annual American Association of Colleges of Nursing survey. Southern schools showed slightly lower gains of 6.7 percent.

    But more students create a new problem: not enough nursing faculty. A faculty shortage was a key factor in why many schools turn away students, the survey found.

    Emory University is launching a fast-track program that will train expert clinical nurses in education in less than three months. The 2003 Emory Summer Nursing Teaching Institute, a post-master's certificate program, is being launched this summer.

    "[Emory] saw the opportunity and the need, and we were in a unique position to step up to the plate," said Marla Salmon, dean of Emory University's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.

    Aging out
    During the 2001-2002 academic year, 10 percent of nursing faculty members either retired or resigned, and 8 percent of nearly 4,500 full-time, budgeted positions remained unfilled in the Southeast, according to a survey by the Southern Regional Education Board Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing.

    The main reason for such high losses to academia last year was the same driving factor behind the nursing shortage itself -- the fact that many more nurses are reaching retirement age than entering the field, said Eula Aiken, executive director of the Southern Regional Education Board Council.

    "Certainly, salary also played an important part because [academic salaries] are not compensatory with what one can earn in the [clinical] workplace in some cases," she added.

    Initiatives such as Emory's are key to attracting and retaining top teachers in nursing, Aiken said.

    Emory has the curriculum already in place, as well as instructors on staff who excel both in teaching how to teach and in clinical practice, said Helen S. O'Shea, director of the post-master's program.

    The university offered a nursing teaching major in the 1980s and early 1990s, and since then has continued to maintain a minor in the subspecialty, she added.

    Alternative for veteran nurses
    For the new program, Emory is looking for 25 students who not only hold a master's degree in nursing but also have several years of strong and recent clinical experience under their belts, O'Shea said.

    "It's a practice profession and unless the faculty has experience in doing nursing, it's very difficult to teach someone else how to do that," she added. "We're looking for somebody with a clinical specialty who really loves it enough to help other people enter the profession."

    Emory has asked Georgia nursing schools to recommend top students, but the program also could help keep some nurses in the field who are tiring of the long hours and stress of clinical practice, Salmon said.

    "This way they can continue their love of nursing and create the next generation of nurses," she added.

    Classes will begin in a workshop format from June 9 to 20, followed by online activities and assignments until August 1 and concluding with a four-month fall preceptorship at the student's employing agency or institution in which the student is also paired with a faculty mentor.

    The Southern Regional Education Board Council also is developing a shared online curriculum to complement and encourage graduate teaching programs at other institutions.

    Financial support
    Tuition for Emory's summer program is $12,600. For qualifying participants, up to $5,000 may be covered by the Georgia Nursing Faculty Scholarship Program, O'Shea said.

    The scholarship program is a four-year loan that cancels approximately $2,500 a year if graduates agree to take a teaching position in a private or public Georgia institution, said Valerie Hepburn, director of the Georgia Department of Community Health's Division of Health Planning.

    Students in the Emory program will be the first to receive this new financing, which is scheduled to provide 160 $10,000 grants over four years. Managed by the Georgia Student Finance Authority, the scholarship is funded by a $1.1 million federal work-force grant awarded to the Georgia Department of Labor and a $500,000 matching grant from the nonprofit Robert W. Woodruff Foundation.

    The loans are essential to Georgia's economic development, given that a minimum of 18,000 new nursing positions will need to be filled in the state by 2010, not counting retirees, Hepburn said.

    The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that nationally, more than 1 million new and replacement nurses will be needed over the next decade.

    "If you think about the impact of those individuals upon students over 10 to 30 years of teaching and the ability to expand our nursing programs, it's incredible," Hepburn said.

    The first 10 students to receive loans for the Emory program also will receive $3,000 in support from the university, and Salmon said she hopes that future employers of the brand-new academics may pick up the rest of the tab.

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