Wanted: More nursing school faculty
Marie T. Nolan, dean at the Conway School of Nursing at the Catholic University of America, offers a very strong argument as to why people should consider a career in nursing (“Want to help nurses? Consider becoming one,” March 20).
It has been known for decades that nurses are the glue that holds the health care system together. Reasons for our current nursing shortage include inadequate compensation, heavy workloads, burnout from the pandemic and an aging workforce.
Dean Nolan’s advice to consider becoming a nurse is sound, but the dilemma is that many people who want to become nurses cannot get into nursing school because of a significant shortage of nursing school faculty, an inadequate number of placement slots for clinical training and a shortage of experienced practitioners to provide supervision during clinical training.
The shortage of faculty is a key stumbling block in our ability to train an adequate number of nurses. Nursing schools throughout the country are faced with faculty shortages, causing nursing school programs to turn away thousands of qualified applicants.
In 2020 a survey by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing indicated that 80,000 applications, often from high-performing students, were not accepted at U.S. nursing schools. The faculty shortage probably has many causes, but a key one is a pay discrepancy leading to a situation in which nursing school faculty earn significantly less than bedside nurses, especially those who work in operating rooms and critical care areas.
If we hope to get more nurses into the pipeline, innovative strategies are urgently needed to address the nursing faculty and training slot shortages.