America is facing a nursing shortage that is threatening the quality of health care for patients. A major factor in the problem is a nationwide shortage of faculty in nursing school programs.
Although the number of students applying to undergraduate nursing programs is rising, many are being turned away. With insufficient faculty, the rate of these qualified applicants being denied access into nursing programs is nearly twice as high as those being accepted.
The nursing faculty shortage limits student capacity at a time when the health care system demands more. According to a Vanderbilt School of Nursing study, the nursing shortage is expected to approach more than 800,000 positions by 2020.
Recognizing the nursing shortage crisis and the need for more nurse educators, hospitals and universities are relying on help from unconventional sources including corporations like Johnson & Johnson, which launched a campaign to strengthen the nursing work force by enhancing the image of the profession, recruiting new nurses and faculty, and retaining nurses currently in the profession.
“Too many qualified nursing school applicants are being turned away due to lack of faculty,” said Andrea Higham, director of The Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future. “The numbers are staggering. The nursing profession needs assistance in recruiting educators, who will train and prepare new nurses, all in hopes of beginning to address the nursing shortage crisis.”
To help raise funds for nursing school grants, scholarships and faculty fellowships, the campaign sponsors Promise of Nursing galas, which have raised more than $7 million. By supporting graduate nursing programs, the Campaign is helping to supply teachers and mentors to prepare the next generation of nurses.
The health and future well-being of the nation depends on nurses, so the faculty shortage must be a priority for health care officials, state and federal government, and citizens, Higham said. – NU