Universities need more nursing teachers

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — For Josephine Baker, a third-year nursing student, choosing this profession hits close to home.

"I had a family member that was really ill and so I stayed with him during their hospital, and just watching the doctors and watching the nurses really made an impact on me," Baker said. "I want to be able to help somebody's brother one day like they helped and I want to save somebody's life like they helped save his."

Baker is one of several students in Jessica Gay’s class, at KU’s School of Nursing, learning about different case scenarios a nurse may have to deal with.

While the need for professional registered nurses continues to grow, now the need for educators to teach them is also a growing concern.

“We can't educate more nurses without the faculty to do it,” Dean of KU’s School of Nursing Dr. Sally Maliski said.

It’s an issue KU’s School of Nursing is seeing right now.

“Many of our faculty are getting close to retirement age and we don't have enough new faculty coming up behind us to fill the deficit that that's creating,” Maliski said.

KU isn’t the only school with this issue.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing showed in a recent report that nursing schools across the nation turned away 64,067 qualified applicants from their programs because of clinical site, classroom space, clinical preceptors, budget constraints and an insufficient number of faculty.

“Right now, we do have the faculty to educate the maximum number of students that we can have here on campus, but that's not making a dent in the need,” Maliski said.

While the shortage is becoming a trend across nursing schools, Maliski says competing with other good schools can make recruitment difficult.

"Competition is fierce for high-level nursing faculty," she said.

Maliski says the school is developing multiple pathways for its BSN nurses to encourage some students to move onto advanced degrees to become nursing faculty.

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