Nursing News: Nurse Educators Needed

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, November 1st, 2012

Nurses are in high demand, yet nursing schools struggle to find enough nurse educators to teach students so enrollment can increase to meet the demand.

To teach in a nursing school, nurses need a master’s and/or doctorate degree. Unfortunately, those people are offered much higher salaries in clinical/medical settings, often more than public universities and colleges can offer. This turns a lot of potential nurse educators away, resulting in a small pool of talent from which to hire. Nursing faculty must have a blend of nursing and teaching expertise.

Public universities and colleges have a challenge because the states set the ceiling on tuition. Private universities do not have that ceiling, putting public institutions at a disadvantage for increasing salaries.

There are many high school graduates who are interested in going into nursing, which would ease the nursing shortage. But due to lack of educators, colleges are not able to admit all those who meet the criteria.

Another challenge the country will see in 2014 is the need for more nurse practitioners, since there is expected to be a shortage of primary care doctors. There are not enough educators to train the NPs and PAs, so we will be looking at another nation-wide shortage.

Some institutions are addressing the shortage of nursing educators through the use of part-time faculty working in clinical teaching environments. Full-time faculty can then concentrate on curriculum-based and skill-building instruction.

Some higher education boards offer funding to institutions to help extend the available faculty resources through the use of technology and simulation. Recruitment efforts for nurse educators is ongoing, encouraging nurses to move into education with retention programs and programs that promote the importance of educating the next generation of nurses, enriching young minds.

Most colleges agree that if they had double the number of nursing faculty, they could expand the number of nursing students and could teach and graduate more nurses, NPs and PAs.

Nursing educators are crucially important; they change communities, they change lives through those they teach, and without them many challenges may lay ahead.

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