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October 2005 Issue

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Nursing to Ease Faculty Shortage

Published October 2005

The College of Nursing has received a $775,000 federal grant to help ease the national shortage of nursing educators, and ultimately increase the number of applicants admitted to nursing school.

The grant, from the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will be used to recruit faculty members, provide additional courses to faculty and increase the number of courses offered to students both on campus and online.

While the national need for nurses continues to grow, says Amy Pettigrew, DNS, associate professor of nursing, U.S. nursing schools have to limit the number of qualified students they accept, largely because they lack staff to teach them.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), 32,797 qualified applicants were turned away in 2004.

"Looking around UC College of Nursing," says Dr. Pettigrew, "we're realizing many of us are over 45 and we're concerned about being able to replace ourselves."

The AACN reports that 200 to 300 doctorate-level faculty will be eligible for retirement each year from 2003 through 2012 and 220 to 280 faculty holding master's degrees, from 2012 through 2018.

"Because of our increasing enrollment, we're scrambling for faculty," says Dr. Pettigrew. "Everyone is. UC still needs five or six faculty members for this quarter, which is comparable to shortages faced by other nursing schools."

Some colleges are hiring nurse practitioner graduates as teachers, says Dr. Pettigrew, "but it's not uncommon for them not to have taken any teaching courses.

"This grant will help us increase the number of qualified nursing educators through classes specifically geared toward teaching," she says.

According to Andrea Lindell, DNSc, dean of the College of Nursing, "The outcome of this innovative grant project will contribute to increasing the number of much-needed faculty for nursing programs. We're working to do our part as a college of nursing to help alleviate the present and looming national shortage of faculty to teach in nursing programs."

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