Associate Degree Program Directors and Deans Across the US: A position Spinning Out of Control

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ronda D. Mintz-Binder, DNP, MN, RN1
Mary Lou Bond, PhD, RN1
Carolyn L. Cason, RN, PhD1
Linda Denke, MSN, RN2
1School of Nursing, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX
2Nursing, University of Texas @ Arlington, Arlington, TX

Learning Objective 1: state at least 3 concerns regarding this program related to: a)rising average age; and b)increasing levels of stress and strain

Learning Objective 2: state at least 3 major findings from this national research study related to workplace and position concerns that are making this position undesirable.

 “I have actually resigned my director position this year as the stress level had become excessive and I could no longer balance home and work. I began developing health issues and was directed by my physician to cut back on stress. The student conflicts and threats may have been the tipping point, as I was accustomed to dealing with it but less frequently.”  Anonymous survey respondent
The  international nursing shortage and the growing demand for programs to increase the number of graduates is placing great  pressure on nursing programs at a time that the  national economic crisis has shrunk state budgets for community college nursing programs. This pressure cooker scenario is clearly worsening turnover among Associate Degree Registered Nursing (ADRN) Program directors. Resignation rates are escalating. Yet, without a designated program director, ADRN programs cannot remain accredited. This study, with funding from the NLN, examines the stresses and strains that ADRN programs directors are experiencing so that solutions can begin to be identified. Data collection is almost complete (n=257; 44% response rate) Early demographic results validate the trend of an aging faculty (63% between the ages of 51-60) and anticipation of a growing number of funded, unfilled positions. Position turnover is demonstrated by 17% of respondents who report being in the position under one year. Qualitative data reveal the need for a stronger assistant director position as well as the need for decreasing the current workload of non-nursing programs. Quantitative and qualitative data analyses will be presented as will resolutions that the data suggested.