The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported a nurse educator vacancy rate of more than 1300 in more than 650 nursing programs nationwide. One of the biggest issues is due to the lack of qualified nursing faculty within the nursing schools. In the past years, there have been over 100,000 qualified nursing students that have had to be turned away from nursing schools due to the major decline in available and qualified faculty within the schools. It has been indicated that there are even more positions vacant than have been documented. These numbers are showing that, due to the low number of professors, the nursing schools are falling short in the education of the nurses needed to meet American healthcare needs.
The obvious question that has been weighing on the minds and committees within the nursing programs is, “What can we do to fill the faculty ranks?”. At the moment, the current idea is to focus on meeting short-term demands while preparing a long-term strategy. These short-term demands would be to reduce the full-time faculty and fill those faculty positions with part-time teachers. Because there are fewer qualified full-time faculty; there is a demand for higher pay which has driven up the cost of the schools. By filling the positions on a short-term basis, this may help to lower the cost of the school tuition. The hope is that if the cost of the school decreases and becomes more affordable we will see an increase in nursing students.
The long-term goal is to see more of the nurses that graduate enter into teaching positions. While it is true that teaching positions may not make as much as a clinical nurse, there are other wonderful benefits that should be pointed out to all graduating nurses in an effort to increase the faculty ranks.