National Nursing Instructor Shortage

By: Stephanie Morrissey Email
By: Stephanie Morrissey Email

Nursing. It's the nation's largest health care profession but it's facing shortages. And it's not shortages in students.

"We are very concerned about the shortage. We need qualified faculty to teach students. With increased need for nursing, we do have to increase faculty as well," said Christie Campbell-Grossman, UNMC College of Nursing, Lincoln Division.

Nursing instructors have to have an advanced degree in order to teach courses but that's not the only obstacle.

"Faculty tend to be older. The average age is 53. At UNMC, around 25% are 60 years or older. So they're going to be retiring soon. The younger faculty to replace them is in lesser numbers," Campbell-Grossman said.

With demand exceeding supply, the shortage is affecting the ability of schools to educate future nurses.

This semester, UNMC had four PH.D. graduates. That's double what it normally has. All four of them went on to be teachers or researchers.

"They're going to be a nurse a long time. Throughout their careers it would be best to get an advanced degree when they're free and mobile to do so because they'll have more opportunities," Campbell-Grossman said.

UNMC hopes their new facilities will boost the number of nurses pursuing a higher degree. They'll have nine PH.D. students enrolling in 2013.

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