Nursing News: Hiring Faculty Can Alleviate the Nursing Shortage

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, October 16th, 2012

Our country must address the nursing shortage before it becomes even more expensive and serious, as the healthcare of our nation is at stake.

Recruitment of nursing faculty needs to begin in undergraduate nursing programs, and even in high school and junior high school. Federal and state government programs should provide more scholarships for graduate level students. Student loans could be reimbursed in exchange for post-graduate teaching for specified periods of time. Colleges and universities with nursing programs could reimburse school loans of junior faculty who have completed or are completing doctoral programs.

Other solutions include the integration of technology to allow schools to educate more students with fewer faculty. Simulation labs allow students to practice taking vital signs and life-saving measures on computerized mannequins before they practice on patients. State nursing regulations could be changed to allow graduate students to intern as teachers of undergraduate students, with careful oversight by experienced nursing faculty.

Researchers have surveyed nursing professors at hundreds of schools and issued recommendations. Once new faculty is recruited, it is important not to overload them with classes, so they are able to develop as effective teachers and role models. It is equally important to lower the workload of senior faculty who serve as mentors to junior faculty.

The health of the nation depends on professional nurses. To solve the nursing shortage we must solve the nursing faculty shortage first. This will assure that future nurses are taught to practice evidence-based nursing care professionally and safely.

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