In a time
when more nurses are desperately needed, it's disheartening
that many qualified nursing school applicants are being turned
away. Much of this is attributed to the nursing faculty shortage.
Here's some background information about the nurse educator
Many factors are contributing to the faculty shortage: faculty
age, inadequate compensation and lack of master's and doctoral
programs in nursing.
schools turned away more than 11,000 qualified applicants
across the United States in 2003 due to insufficient number
of faculty, clinical sites and classroom space, according
to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's (AACN)
report on 2003-2004 Enrollment and Graduations in Baccalaureate
and Graduate Programs in Nursing. Almost two-thirds (64.8
percent) of the nursing schools responding to the 2003 survey
pointed to faculty shortages as a reason for not accepting
all qualified applicants into entry-level baccalaureate
to a study released by the Southern Regional Board of Education
(SREB) in February 2002, a serious shortage of nurse faculty
was documented in all 16 SREB states and the District of
Columbia. Survey findings show that the combination of faculty
vacancies (432) and newly budgeted positions (350) points
to a 12-percent shortfall in the number of nurse educators
needed. Unfilled faculty positions, resignations, projected
retirements and the shortage of students being prepared
for the faculty role pose a threat to the nursing education
workforce over the next five years.
to a Special Survey on Vacant Faculty Positions released
by AACN in June 2003, 614 faculty vacancies were identified
at 300 nursing schools across the country. The data show
a nurse faculty vacancy rate of 8.6 percent, which is an
increase from the 7.4 percent vacancy rate reported in 2000.
Most of the vacancies (59.8 percent) were faculty positions
requiring a doctoral degree.
age continues to climb, narrowing the number of productive
years nurse educators can teach. According to AACN's report
on 2002-2003 Salaries of Instructional and Administrative
Nursing Faculty in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs in
Nursing, the median age of nurse faculty is 51.2 years.
The average ages of doctorally prepared nurse faculty holding
the ranks of professor, associate professor and assistant
professor were 56.6, 54.2, and 50.5 years, respectively.
The average age for all faculty ranks prepared at the master's
degree level is 48.8 years.
a wave of faculty retirements is expected across the United
States over the next decade. According to a March/April
2002 Nursing Outlook article, "The Shortage
of Doctorally Prepared Nursing Faculty: A Dire Situation,"
the average retirement age for nurse faculty is 62.5. The
authors project that between 200 and 300 doctorally prepared
faculty will be eligible for retirement each year from 2003
through 2012, and between 220-280 master's-prepared nurse
faculty will be eligible for retirement between 2012 and
compensation in clinical and private-sector settings is
luring current and potential nurse educators away from teaching.
The average salary of a master's-prepared nurse practitioner
working in her/his own private practice was $94,313, according
to the 2003 National Salary Survey of Nurse Practitioners
completed by ADVANCE for Nurse Practitioners magazine.
In contrast, AACN reports that master's-prepared nurse faculty
across all ranks earned an annual average salary of $60,831.
and doctoral programs in nursing are not producing a large
enough pool of potential nurse educators to meet the demand.
According to AACN's 2003-2004 Enrollment and Graduations
in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs in Nursing, graduations
from master's programs were down 2.5 percent or 251 graduates;
graduations from doctoral programs decreased by 9.9 percent
or 44 graduates.