There’s not a nursing crisis: There’s a nursing faculty crisis

THERE’S NOT JUST A NURSING CRISIS: THERE’S A NURSING FACULTY CRISIS.

The nursing crisis has been part of the healthcare employment environment for decades and, if recent statistics are any indication, it is getting worse. As we age, the need for nurses at all levels – LVNs, RNs, ADNs, BSN’s and specialty nurses – will continue to grow and the crisis will worsen. The challenges are clear; what is less clear are the solutions.

And one reason for this is; assuming there is a nursing crisis when, in fact, it is a nursing faculty crisis at the root of this critical dilema.

The demand for nurses has increased yet the supply of nurses has remained stagnant or even declined. There are many reasons for this: nursing programs at colleges and universities are impacted, often with long waiting lists; the number of units (and time) needed to complete degrees have increased; colleges and universities are reluctant to invest in nursing programs which are high cost; clinical placements are harder and harder to secure.

Yet, beneath these is one wicked challenge: how to recruit and prepare experienced nurses to become faculty. The clearest available stats support this:

  • According to AACN’s report on 2016-2017 Enrollment U.S. nursing schools turned away 64,067 qualified applicants from nursing programs in 2016 because of an insufficient number of faculty. Most nursing schools responding to the survey pointed to faculty shortages as a reason for not accepting all qualified applicants.
  • 1,567 faculty vacancies were identified in a survey of 821 nursing schools with baccalaureate and/or graduate programs across the country.
  • Efforts to expand the nurse educator population are frustrated by the fact that thousands of qualified applicants to graduate nursing programs are turned away each year. In 2016, AACN found that 11,859 qualified applicants were turned away [from various programs]. The primary reasons for not accepting all qualified students were a shortage of faculty and clinical education sites.

Why is it so difficult to solve the nursing faculty shortage? The salary of an active nurse exceeds that of a typical faculty member. There are no clear entry points for a nurse to become faculty, or processes for onboarding them if they decide to make the switch. There needs to be additional data and information to help both individuals and organizations – such as healthcare partners – deciding that the transfer from care provider to teacher is both possible and positive.

Powerminds Inc. is working to bridge educators to employers to fill the Capacity Gap behind the Nursing Faculty Crisis.

By building intentional coalitions and collaboratives for innovative programs across multiple higher education agencies and multiple healthcare organizations, we are part of the solution to the nursing faculty shortage. Our proprietary ProSearch (™) predictive research modeling uses untapped data to inform future decisions implementable today.

The Powerminds equation — Convening + Predicting = Solving Wicked Challenges — is now addressing the Nursing Faculty Crisis headon.

1. www.aacnnursing.org/news-information/research-data ; Special Survey on Vacant Faculty Positions released by AACN in October 2016 2. 2016-17 BRN Annual School Report