Updated 09/05/2012 05:44 PM
Nursing professor shortage
As with most health care professions, there's a shortage of nurses across the country. But even more of a concern is the number of people needed to educate them. Experts say it's becoming more and more of a challenge to find qualified people to teach nursing students. Our Katie Gibas spoke with one college about how widespread the problem is and what's being done to address it.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Ann Sedore is the Director of the Crouse Hospital College of Nursing. One of her biggest challenges is finding people qualified to teach nurses-to-be.
"I have two that are retiring at the end of this year. I have two that are retiring at the end of the following year. And so, more and more of our faculty are also aging," said Ann Sedore, the Director of Crouse Hospital College of Nursing.
One challenge to filling these positions is the educational requirements. Crouse graduates nurses with associate degrees, which means they need professors with master’s degrees. But New York and several other states are considering requiring all nurses to obtain bachelor's degrees within ten years of graduating from their associate program, which means professors need to have even higher education.
"For baccalaureate programs and master’s programs, they need doctorally prepared faculty. So the doctorally prepared numbers are relatively small that are graduating annually. And so they are faced with an even bigger problem we are," said Sedore.
But there's an even simpler challenge to hiring nursing professors.
"Across the country, nurses don't want to go into education because they can earn more in a hospital position or in health care as an administrator or something like that. So that will be the next challenge to pay enough to get them to come to this area," said Sedore.
But experts say at this point, the shortage is manageable and there are a number of incentives in place to help nurses get higher education and become professors.
"We hire people who are in master’s programs and they work part time for us and we pay their tuition in their master’s program. And we coach and mentor them for two years while they're getting their master’s degree and teach them all the ins and outs of real teaching. They teach in the classroom. They teach clinical. They have a mentor who works with them all the time and then when they're graduated, we guarantee that they will have full time positions," said Sedore.
Right now, Crouse graduates between 85 and 92 nurses every year. They have at least twice as many applicants. With more professors, they say they could better address both the educator shortage and overall nursing shortage.