September 24, 2012
Scarce Resources: The Nursing Shortage
It is a widely known fact that the United States is facing a critical shortage of Registered Nurses (RN’s), and that over the next several years the need for nurses is going to increase significantly due to the ageing baby boomer generation. It is expected that by 2020 the United States will face a shortage of over one million nurses (Buerhaus, Auerback, & Staiger, 2009) and this fact has drawn a great deal of public attention; however, there is also a growing shortage of nurse educators which must be addressed. This paper will discuss the article “The Nursing Shortage Continues as Faculty Shortage Grows,” how the faculty shortage will effect patient care, and propose possible solutions to the shortage.
Over the last several years the nursing shortage has become common knowledge and as a result a great deal of effort has been put into recruiting new student nurses. While the recruiting efforts have increased the enrollment of student nurses by over 53% between the years between 2000 and 2005 (Fang, Wilsey-Wisniewski, & Bednash, 2006), the enrollment numbers must increase dramatically more if the nursing shortage is going to be eliminated. The problem is not a result of too few qualified nursing school applicants, nursing schools simply are not equipped to meet the increased demand. According to Fang et al. (2006), 74% of nursing schools denied students for enrollment because they did not have an adequate number of faculty members.
There are many reasons why there is a lack of nursing educators. The first is the average age of nurse educators, which is 51, and the fact that they are expected to retire more rapidly than they will be able to be replaced (Tanner, 2006). To some nurses the largest factor for not pursuing a career as a nurse educator is the extreme disparity in salary compared to other areas of nursing. Factorig the cost of...